7 tips to become the best mentor you can be

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Many firms routinely expect their senior professionals to mentor the more junior members of the firm, explains Heather Townsend.

Whether or not this is an optional role for you, it can impose considerable time demands on you, the mentor, for example one to two hours per month. This is non-chargeable time, for which you may not always receive credit. Before you say yes to the request to be a mentor, read our tips for mentors to make sure that both you and the mentee benefit from your relationship.

AccountingWEB-BTC mentoring project
Find out how real accountants are getting hands-on help from more experienced practitioners on our mentoring project blog page.

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About Heather Townsend

Heather Townsend is Founder and Author of ‘The Accountants Millionaires’ Club’. In 2015 the ICAEW decided she was the number one online influencer for the accountancy profession. She is the author of 5 books, including The Go-To Expert, and ‘How to make partner and still have a life’ (co-authored with Jo Larbie).

Heather is always up for a challenge. Perhaps that is why she has built a track record of helping accountants grow the size of their practice by 50-200%, often in under two years. Often helping them make partner or equity partner in the process.

Heather is a high profile member of the accountancy profession in the UK. She has worked with over 300 partners, coached, trained and mentored over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. Heather's clients have included: 7 out of the Top 10 UK practices, including all the Big 4 firms. 

This is what members say about the Accountants Millionaires' club.

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03rd Sep 2012 16:37

mentor or coach?

whats the distinction?

managers can be coached?

juniors can be mentored?

 

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04th Sep 2012 11:10

the distinction between a mentor and a coach

Thanks for your comment David.

As you rightly point out, coaches can act as mentors (and in my capacity as a business coach for many of my accountancy clients, they want me to be a mentor more than a coach), and mentors can act as coaches. 

There is a subtle difference between the two:

When someone is coaching they are typically non-directive and work with their client's agenda. (now, we could get into a debate about whether a coach, typically a manager acting as a coach to a direct report, can truly be non-directive). 

A mentor is someone who has been asked to work with their mentee based on the benefit of their prior experience. 

Which means that in the pure sense of coaching, you don't need to know anything about your coachee's subject to be able to coach them. However, as a mentor you can play different roles, e.g. expert, critical friend, coach etc, but the deciding factor is you are being hired or chosen based on your prior experience. 

Here is the more formal stuff I wrote on the difference between a coach and a mentor - http://howtomakepartner.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-coach-and-a-m...

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