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5 Ways to Make the Most of Mentoring

Shutterstock_341095673A successful mentoring relationship, like all relationships in life, is about give and take. But in order to be successful, both mentor and mentee need to give genuine input. It isn’t as simple as the mentor giving and the mentee taking. Considering the value of mentoring, what can mentees do to guarantee they’re getting the greatest advantage from the relationship?

Be sure to opt in. Everyone’s schedule is busy, and mentoring may seem like something that’s easy to delete from a crowded calendar. It’s a mistake to underestimate the importance of support, however. Among other things, a mentor can help you assess your priorities, which can ensure your time is spent wisely and more productively.

Your mentor should not be your direct boss. Your supervisor may be a source of great advice, but it’s best to find a more objective mentor. Your supervisor has his or her own interests in mind in addition to yours, yet they may be too close to recognize every growth opportunity for you.

Find a mentor at each stage of your career. Your goals and needs change as you move up the ladder and expand your experience and professional horizons. Locate a mentor who will provide feedback that meets your changing circumstances at each stage of your career and in each new organization.

Learn to listen, listen to learn. Your mentor will want to hear about your situation, but be sure to hone your listening skills so that you can recognize and use all the insights and ideas he or she has to share.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. People face uncertainties about their professional lives at every stage of their career, so take advantage of your mentor’s interest in your questions. You won’t gain as much if you don’t speak up and find the answers and solutions you need. Being inquisitive also shows you are interested and eager to learn more.

How do you find a mentor? The answer to that question got a lot simpler with the recent introduction of the AICPA Online Mentoring Program. This pilot program, which is free to AICPA members, is a simple-to-use tool that makes it easier for mentors and mentees to find each other and build relationships.  The initial questionnaire to match mentees and mentors takes less than five minutes to complete.  The ultimate goal is to develop well-connected and highly-functioning professionals to advance our profession. Find out what mentoring, and this valuable new resource, can do for you. First time users should use passcode aicpa2016 when signing up.

Yasmine ElRamly, Senior Technical Manager- Firm Services & Global Alliances, American Institute of CPAs.

Mentor and mentee image courtesy of Shutterstock

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