Sooner or later nearly all tax or accounting professionals reach a point in their careers where they decide if they will make a move to ownership or partnership of a firm. Sometimes it is an easy transition. They pick up the skills essential to generate business and service clients, while developing the leadership abilities necessary to run a firm. Usually it is a challenge to master the skills while juggling the delivery of services.
The typical path has been Darwinian in nature; where the strongest survive. Not much effort has gone to developing capable talent. Instead there was an expectation from those who made it that others should do as they had. Consequently, some great potential is not realized. This may be in a multiple partner firm, where a young CPA is beginning a career, or it could be an owner of a solo practice. One is competing inside a firm while the other is fighting competition in the marketplace. Either way, some do not make it and remain on the delivery end.
One solution to this challenge is mentoring. In a larger firm, it may be a partner or someone in management grooming a junior. For an entrepreneur it may be someone in their network, mastermind group or perhaps a professional coach. It should always be someone who can play a role in overcoming obstacles and challenges.
Here are 3 roles a mentor may undertake:
- Role Model: This person sets an example for the mentee to follow. The role model may establish trust, listen to challenges, counsel and provide guidance as necessary.
- Guide: This person helps navigate and understand organizations and situations. They often refer and make introductions to persons or opportunities that will enhance the mentee’s career. They may open doors, help the mentee network and stay in touch for professional purposes. They can also sponsor, creating challenging and instructive opportunities that may not be available.
- Coach: This person takes an active role in observation, assessing capabilities and providing feedback and instruction. They teach, advise and motivate. They help cultivate professional interests and set career goals. They often help to keep focused on the performance and pushing through tough times, while developing, self respect and a sense of self-worth. Mentoring is an intentional process, with both parties sharing responsibility.
Along the way, the person being mentored can slide into one of the roles and begin mentoring others. For the mentee the benefits are obvious. There are benefits to the mentor as well that we’ll address later.
Where in your business can you use help? Where can you give help? What value would you find with a mentor? Being a mentor?
Take a few minutes and respond below.