Mentoring can pay off big, for both you and your firm. Whether you choose an informal or formal mentoring arrangement, remember that the best mentoring relationships require trust and a good quality match between mentor and the mentee. That does not mean that your mentor has to have the same personality that you have or a position that you would like to pursue.
Sometimes a mentor with an outgoing personality can show a timid staffer how to expand his/her leadership skills. A mentor that has followed a different path than you are pursuing can impart knowledge that you will otherwise be unable to obtain. A good mentor can guide you through decision-making, help you develop leadership skills and take your career to new levels.
Do You Need a Mentor?
The following questions will help you to determine if you will benefit from a mentoring program.
- Are you limited in your ability to advance to a new level or take on new projects?
- Do you wish to sharpen your technical or interpersonal skills?
- Do you need to acquire “soft skills,” such as managing people, handling negotiations, resolving personnel conflicts or interacting with clients?
- Are you being considered for a promotion?
- Do you seek professional development or career counseling?
- Are you looking to shift your career focus, perhaps to a new specialty area?
- If you are new to an organization, do you have a clear understanding of the firm’s corporate culture, policies and procedures?
(Reference: "Someone to Look Up to" by Cecil Gregg, Journal of Accountancy, Nov. 1999)