As you navigate your way along your career path, it can be very helpful to have a trusted adviser or ‘mentor’ by you side, keeping you on the right track with your career goals.  So, what makes a good mentor?

Typically, a mentor will have industry-specific knowledge and will be able to pass on the benefits of their experience to guide you at various stages on your career journey, helping you to maximise your potential.  Unlike coaching, mentoring is usually a less formal and longer-term relationship and support is often provided for free.

A good mentor needs to be able to listen and empathise, inviting a two-way exchange of information and feedback.  While a mentor will help to guide you, they are not there to solve all your problems and tell you what to do.  The best mentors take on the role of ‘critical friend’.  In return, mentees need to be completely honest and open.  You need to be willing to learn, open to taking advice and to new ideas, and accepting of feedback.

How do you find a mentor?  Many accountancy practices offer in-house mentoring schemes, often matching junior accountants with those who are further down the career path and who can share the knowledge they have gained along the way.  Others find their mentors by tapping into their personal and professional networks.

Whatever route you take to identify the right mentor for you, it is important to be clear about what you want to get out of the relationship.  Like any good relationship, it needs to be based on mutual respect and trust and takes time to develop with commitment from both sides.

There is no doubt that, with the right mentor, being mentored is a valuable and effective development opportunity bringing personal and professional benefits.  In return, the benefits for mentors are also valuable and include the personal satisfaction of sharing their skills and experience, exposure to new ideas and approaches, and a chance to reflect on their own personal goals.

Lisa Wintrip

Director, Fletcher George Financial Recruitment

Fletcher George is an independent finance and accountancy recruiter working, primarily with finance and accounting professionals in South West London and Surrey including the Hampshire and Sussex borders.  We recruit for both Public Practice and also for commercial businesses in the local area.

For more information, please contact Lisa on: 01372 364 160 or by email: