The 3 Reasons to Be a Mentor

Sep 8th 2014
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There was a manager I worked for when I was a temp one summer during college. He showed me how to keep a clean desk (not sure I actually practice this, but it was great to see it in action) and how to have patience with a wide variety of talent levels on your team. He didn't know it, but he was a mentor of mine and the skills he passed on have stayed with me for a number of years that will remain undisclosed.

Here are a few more reasons why you might want to consider or continue guiding others to new professional heights.

Because it's good for the profession

On-the-job learning, guided by a knowledgeable supervisor, is the most effective way to progress. There's nothing like real life examples worked through together or shared as stories passed down from the dark ages of 13-column ledgers, hard-copy work papers, and Windows XP.

But more than just on-the-job training, mentoring is developing a relationship with individuals and sharing in the ownership of their development. And without people like you showing the next generation of professionals the ropes, in a way that's sincere and meaningful, the profession stands to weaken. Keep our standards high, and pass down your knowledge of what it takes to be successful.

Because someone mentored you, even if they didn't do it perfectly

Perhaps you were paired with Sarah the Scary Manager or Walter the Weirdo as your mentor, coach, or counselor when you were new to practice (or maybe you're paired with them now!). You may have learned some tidbits from them, possibly even a lot once you figured out how to work with their unique personality. Or you found others at your organization that were able to help you in a more meaningful way.

If you're on the luckier side, you found someone who fit well with your personality and style and were able to swing an early promotion with your fast-tracked knowledge.

Whatever your scenario, it's likely a good portion of your ability to get the job done was affected by the mentorship of others. It's time now for you to pay it forward and mentor the next generation.

Because it's a gift that keeps on giving

The other day an associate whom I mentored for five long years (OK, they weren't that long) was promoted to a manager position at SalesForce. I know this was a hard-earned promotion and not one granted simply based on years of service or because someone died or quit. I was so proud of my mentee and all of the work she had put into making this happen that on her mom's Facebook post about the promotion with a long string of compliments I added "Nice job, that's my girl!"

My mentee's reply? "Kristen, I am forever indebted to you!"

Now, if at that moment, there had been any doubt about the impact I had as a mentor, it all vanished. It was "Facebook Official" that at least some of the insistence on high standards, conversations on which reasons it was OK to quit for and which it wasn't, and other hard lessons we worked through together were all worth it.

Are You Convinced?

Make sure mentoring a few people becomes or retains some priority on your to-do list. Spend some time occasionally thinking about how you could be an even better mentor to aid in their development and the success of the profession.

For some easy help with that, stay tuned for my next article on how to be a great mentor, or better yet hear it live during my upcoming webinar on Developing Successful Associates and Managers on Wednesday, September 10th.

About the author:

Kristen Rampe is a CPA who loves helping other CPAs develop great teams and great customers. She provides consulting and customized, in-house CPE to professional service firms in the areas of client service, communication and team building. Check out her blog for great ideas on how to improve your practice! kristenrampe.com/blog.


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