Good news folks! Before starting this post, I emailed my mentor. Hopefully this will get me back on track with Chartership. And with that weight off my back, I feel a little more able to voice my thoughts about mentoring more generally.
Mentoring is, I reckon, a Good Thing. But the practicalities can be difficult. Take Chartership, for example. There's a big list of mentors, arranged by region, and with a few details of where they work or what they're interested in. When you start Chartership you pick one of these, meet up with them, and you both decide if you want to keep each other. Sounds OK in principle, but in practice, I think there's a lot of picking at random(ish) (you might decide for a different sector, or an interesting workplace, but you very little about the person really), and when you meet someone for the first time it's rare to take such a dislike to them straight away that you'd do the socially awkward thing of telling them you don't think it'll work.
The crux of mentoring issue for me is probably that the informal mentoring that develops all of its own accord when you're not looking is certainly easier to maintain, and possibly more useful. I suppose that formal mentoring is handy when there's a specific need or goal to address. And Chartership, for me, feels so damn nebulous that the formal mentoring can feel a bit directionless: is it aimed at career progression/training and development, or is the mentor there to help you through the writing up, or what?
So all in all, I'm a bit confused. But I've always been a difficult person to please in the realm of teacher-pupil/mentor-mentee relationships (just speak to some of my previous cello teachers!). When it works, it *really* works, but much of the time it leaves me flat. I should work out how to work on that...