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.

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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 a brand ambassador for the Practice Excellence Programme, and the Founder 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 4 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. 

In 2016 her and her team of coaches have coached:

1) 7 people successfully to partner

2) Professionals from all of the Big 4, from every major continent in the world

 

As well as helping accountants make partner, she still spends 40% of her time helping small firms, typically under £1m GRF:

1) Create profitable revenue streams from advisory services and reduce their reliance on revenue from compliance services

2) Radically increase their profitability, even if they are a cloud based practice, often helping them achieve a net profit margin of 40%+

3) Double or even triple the size of their practice within 3 years

4) Win bigger and better clients

5) Grow the right team around them so they stop working stupidly high hours and spend quality time with the people they care about

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Her articles appear regularly in the UK national and trade press, including The Financial Times, Accountancy Age, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Heather is also in-demand for her speaking and has recently returned from the South African Accountancy Academy conference.

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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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