7 tips to become the best mentor you can be

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Heather Townsend
The Excedia Group
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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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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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