The importance of career mentoring for all

Silhouette of mentors and mentees
By Ellen Arnison, Student Blog

3 November 2016

American author and businessman Zig Ziglar said: “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could, because someone else thought they could.”

You will have already put a huge effort and commitment into your time as a CA Student Member. Passing your exams and becoming an ICAS member will give your career the best start. However, you can give yourself a further hand up the ladder by finding a good mentor.

Andy Murray, a tennis star at the top of his game, turned to past champion Ivan Lendl for ways to improve; Lendl’s coaching is credited with helping him to his second Wimbledon victory this summer.

His mother Judy explained: “Andy didn't need somebody to teach him how to play the game. He needed someone who could help him prepare better for bigger occasions and those tough situations at the back end of majors.”

Newly qualified CAs and current students could benefit from gaining a new perspective on their rising career from more experienced colleagues, who may offer a new perspective on your career.

There may be in-house mentoring opportunities within your training firm that you can utilise, and once you have graduated as a CA, all our former students have the chance to join the ICAS career mentoring service.

Would I need a mentor?

Always be open to the possibility that someone is trying to tell you something you need to hear. Ken Henry

According to the undeniably successful Richard Branson, he along with Larry Page and Steve Jobs have all received guidance from mentors. Branson said: “No matter whom you are, where you’ve come from, or what you have achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset in business.”

To make the best of mentoring opportunities, it’s important for CAs to understand what they are hoping to achieve from the relationship.

There could be a specific challenge to overcome, or you want to understand the extent of possibilities that are open to you.

Ken Weldin CA partner at PFK, said: “Getting the right balance here is needed in order to know when to stop relaying your life history and knowing when to stop talking and listen. In the relationships I have been fortunate enough to be asked to mentor in, I work very hard on this and it is not always easy.

“At the same, the mentee needs to approach the exercise in an open-minded way as sometimes the messages or mentoring outcomes may be things that you are blind to or don't want to hear - the inconvenient truths.

“On that point, I shall paraphrase Ken Henry, the Chairman of NAB: ‘Always be open to the possibility that someone is trying to tell you something you need to hear.’

When you become an ICAS member, career and business mentoring is available to you at every stage. Find out more about how the right advice and contacts can keep your career on track, and how you can give back to the ICAS Foundation.

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  • CA Student blog

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