Are you thinking about enlisting the help of a mentor? From tapping into expert advice and support and discovering your strengths and areas for development, to obtaining an objective viewpoint, mentoring has a lot to offer. We reveal all in this article.
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More-and-more accountants are choosing to support their careers by receiving help and guidance from a professional mentor.
Here, we speak to learning and development professional, qualified MBTI practitioner and executive coach, Meg Burton, about the benefits of mentoring.
Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship between you and someone with extensive knowledge and experience within your professional field. Their aims is to help guide, advise and support you as you work towards achieving your career goals.
These relationships can be formal arrangements that have been organised via your employer. Mentorships can also be set up through dedicated mentoring organisations or professional institutes. Alternatively, they can also be more of an informal relationship that you’ve arranged yourself through your own network.
Part of the success to mentoring is having the right person to mentor you. It’s important you spend time finding the right mentor (be it internal or external) and that they have the time to commit to helping you. Sometimes, workplace mentors only provide help within specific parameters, e.g. helping you stay focused on your studies. While general mentoring is focused on helping you with your long-term career.
Mentoring can be a short-term relationship in which you take part in regular meetings that support you through a particular challenge or career transition. It can also be a long-term arrangement that takes place throughout your entire career, with fewer meetings spread out over a longer period of time. In both circumstances, it’s essential both parties are happy with the arrangements and there are plenty of opportunities to regularly review progress.
Mentoring relationships typically involve mentors playing different roles that all support you by providing guidance, advice and suggestions from their own knowledge and experience.
They could support you with advice around technical skills development in your early career, or leadership or business skills as you progress further.
Mentors can also act as a sounding board, helping you think through problems and issues, as well as challenging and pushing your thinking, motivating you and holding you accountable for your actions.
Mentoring sessions can be held in many different ways, with virtual sessions becoming increasingly the norm due to the pandemic. Generally speaking, mentoring can take place in person, remotely via virtual meetings or social media platforms.
There are lots of benefits to having a mentor. Working with the right mentor enables you to:
It is important you have a say over who your mentor is. Ideally, you want them to be someone you can be open with and trust with your personal objectives and thoughts and feelings about your career. It’s also important they inspire you too.
When choosing a mentor, think about whether:
Make sure you ask yourself these questions and give yourself plenty of time to answer them fully and honestly. They will help make sure you make the right choice before entering into any form of mentoring arrangement.
The most successful mentoring relationships are based on clear objectives that both parties agree to and are committed and motivated towards making happen.
Everybody’s career path is different, and not everybody feels they need a mentor. You may naturally reach a point where you feel ready to reach out for mentoring support or may recognise you need it from the outset. There are no right or wrong rules, the important thing is that it works for both you and your mentor.
For more information about mentoring, visit the ICAEW’s website.
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