Having a mentor or role model can help you succeed in your current role and prepare for your next. Once thought of as a development tool used exclusively by senior manager and company directors, mentoring is now widely used by individuals at all career stages.
What is mentoring?
The Coaching and Mentoring Network defines mentoring as:
‘The process by which you follow in the path of an older and wiser colleague who can pass on knowledge, experience and open doors to otherwise out-of-reach opportunities.’
Mentors provide a friendly experienced ear, an unbiased perspective and a wealth of experience you can tap into. Having a mentor can help you:
- Grow your knowledge and learn from their experiences
- Find solutions to problems or work issues
- Maximise your potential – identify your strengths and weaknesses
- Identify development needs and how to meet them
- Plan a career path
How to find a mentor or role model
ICAEW Mentoring is a free programme we’re piloting for members who have recently moved into an SME business finance role, having previously worked in practice, the third sector or the public sector.
ICAEW Mentoring and Executive Coaching specialises in developing finance professionals and uses expert coaches and mentors with FTSE experience.
- Ask your HR department whether your company offers a mentoring scheme. Senior managers often volunteer to be mentors.
- Approach a role model in your circle of family, friends or colleagues. Mentoring doesn’t have to be a formal process, but remember it’s difficult to mentor someone who is very close to you.
- Networks outside your close contacts can be a good source too. See who you are connected to on LinkedIn or the ICAEW community. Don’t be afraid to approach people. Most will be flattered, but remember the skills required are quite specialised and not everyone will want, or be able to be a mentor.
Professional mentoring services charge a fee, but you may be able to find a mentor through your work or other volunteer schemes.
Professional mentoring services
Choosing the right a mentor is like appointing any professional service. Make sure you:
- Seek references and testimonials
- Ask the mentor for details of their own professional development and credentials related to coaching someone like you
- Agree how the mentoring will be delivered – face-to-face, by email, telephone or a mixture of these
- Agree fees and the frequency of meetings
- Get a written agreement which details the outcomes and deliverables you expect