Mentoring is Amazing

Here’s My Mentoring Journey! By Helen Pretty

Firstly, thank you for clicking on my guest blog, you’re in for a treat today because you seem to me like the Finance lead that wants to learn, grow and bring amazing insights to your team! Today mentoring is my hot topic and in a few minutes, you are going to be rushing to chat to your team with exciting mentoring opportunities which they are going to love you for!

I’d like to share my mentoring journey with you, so you can see how easy it is to bring confidence, passion and skills to your finance team through mentoring.

What does mentoring mean to me?

‘Mentoring’ to me is a relationship where an individual is supported by an ‘expert’ in their field.

I believe anyone can be a mentor, but there needs to be an area of similarity. When I say ‘expert’ this isn’t an arrogant approach that you must have loads of qualifications or experience, but you do need to be ‘one step’ ahead with your know-how in that area.

No judging, teaching or telling off your mentee!

The key benefit of being a mentor is to support and develop your mentee.

I have had the pleasure of mentoring for nearly 7 years now. Since I qualified with my CIMA I was given the opportunity to firstly become a mentor on the official CIMA program, and that was the start of my amazing mentoring journey!

👉 Can you imagine helping a qualifying accountant deliver her 1st public presentation to 120 people?

👉 Or supporting a young adult through her GCSE’s to boost her confidence and make a new group of best friends?

👉 Or providing expert advice to someone who has failed their exam twice but passed it on his 3rd attempt?

Being a mentor is amazing because you make a POSITIVE DIFFERENCE to others!

I would love to start – but where?

I know some senior finance leads haven’t had mentoring or coaching experience or training, and honestly, the first step is to try. Please don’t be that person who thinks they know exactly what people need.

If I have learnt anything from my mentoring journey it will be to not force mentoring on people (even if you think they need it!)

How I got my training and the massive influence it had on me.

I was fortunate to have some excellent coaching as well as the much-needed personality trait of wanting to make a positive difference to others.

No, of course, you don’t need training or any fancy qualifications.

The strongest mentoring training I have had is to believe in myself and that I can {and do} support, relate, boost and develop other people. I specifically mentor qualifying accountants because I really want to help get more accountants their qualified letters.

No stats, but I think most people start CIMA or ACCA than finish them! What do you think?!

Oh, and I really want to get more females in senior finance positions {And we always need support to climb this tough ladder!}

We really appreciate you reading this blog, and if you’re interested in mentoring then my advice would be to reach out to your accounting body to join their mentoring scheme {that’s how I started}. And you are an expert in this field, so don’t be worried that you don’t know how or what to say, just be yourself and let the mentee be themselves. Oh and remember it’s not a work task – have fun and enjoy mentoring!

These are some fun stories from my mentoring… and how I’ve helped them! 🤓

I’ve written this blog for you to introduce you to mentoring and encourage you to give it a go – it really is easy and the people you can support will remember your help and appreciate your words of wisdom.

I love that my mentoring journey will be different to yours, here are a few of my most memorable mentees stories.

Siri is my newest mentee and, as an assistant accountant, she is in full-on qualifying mode and such a keen enthusiastic lady. English is not her first language so she was looking for some support on writing valuable emails, improving her confidence and becoming a great accountant.

I believe one of my mentoring strengths is giving a mentee focused time and support, to build up a trusting relationship. I mentor Siri once a month to give her the life support and encouragement to be herself and become a great accountant in the way she wants to be.

Sadie has been a breath of fresh air for my mentoring (and to be honest, someone who has challenged my mentoring approach).

As a young adult going through her GCSE’s I could see what I ‘wanted’ to support her with, but I’m glad that I learnt to listen to what Sadie really wanted to really give her the mentoring she wanted and that worked for her.

Confidence was a massive part of Sadie's journey, working with The Girls Network Charity I mentored once a month for an academic year. During this time Sadie worked so hard on improving her confidence, interacting with her parents and making a new group of ‘real’ friends (not those people who used to bully her).

My approach was to give her techniques and exercises to do to encourage and support her so that she could see how amazing she was. Have you heard of the dream jar? – we set one of those up and it was such a great exercise!

Ellie is a qualifying accountant, who was an AAT prize winner and first-time passer with her CIMA exams. So you’re probably thinking – what did Ellie need mentoring with?!

I loved supporting her through her public speaking presentation. We worked on her confidence and the story she wanted to share with her audience and how she could talk without being nervous or bring a rabbit in headlights. Obviously she loved the presentation and I know she is making a positive difference to her peers, so it was great to mentor Ellie.

Here are my top 3 tips on how you can mentor your qualifying accountant team.

👉 Focus on the one thing they need support with {not what you want to help them with}

👉 Encourage mentoring around a life skill {not a work task}

👉 Take your time & don’t rush and overwhelm them

How to have a happier more productive team – using mentoring techniques.

Here are a few final words of mentoring advice, because I know you’re reading this far now so you can grab the opportunity and start making a real difference to others.

😄 Work together with what your teams really need to improve their personal development

😄 Have regular catchups, really be that constant support for them

😄 Encourage an open, collaborative approach {with no judging!}

Have a read of my last guest blog, which is here –

I’d welcome your views and questions on my blog, so feel free to get in touch –

Thanks for reading the blog, catch me again soon where I will be discussing goal setting strategies {my favourite topic!}.