Mentors help the hero when the Path of Trials seems hopeless or confusing. Mentors are often on their own journey and only appear in the hero’s journey infrequently, offering a piece of advice or helping overcome an obstacle, then disappearing just as quickly.
Mentors for the heroes we know are almost a word-association. Frodo/Gandalf, Harry Potter/Dumbledore, Luke Skywalker/Yoda. It is such an important relationship.
Our middle school student has an older brother who (contrary to stereotype) offers her advice when she’s having trouble and her parents can’t help. The college student talks to the woman at the bookshop when he can’t decide what he should do with his girlfriend. The teacher’s friend from college who is now a principal offers objective advice when needed. The entrepreneur found a mentor who has been in the same field for twenty years and enjoys sharing stories.