Mentor of the Month - Mark Pryce
Mark Pryce is a Senior Tax Manager with the Weir Group. He talks to Stef Scott about his reasons for becoming a mentor, and offers advice to prospective new mentors.
What inspired you to become an ICAS career mentor?
ICAS Career Mentoring really appealed to me. It was a fresh idea and something I thought I could readily contribute to. In the past I had worked with some great people, both at EY, and also outside the business as well. I had also been fortunate in working with some great clients and had experienced quite a lot throughout my career.
Being a mentor is a highly interesting and rewarding experience. Most importantly, it’s a chance to listen to other people and challenge them to grow their own careers and make the best of themselves.
All these different people had helped me to develop, to grow and to learn lots of new skills. I felt that I had built up quite a lot of different experience and would be able to pass some of what I’d learnt on to other CAs by becoming a mentor.
How would you describe the experience of being a mentor?
Being a mentor is a highly interesting and rewarding experience. Most importantly, it’s a chance to listen to other people and challenge them to grow their own careers and make the best of themselves. It’s about providing support and reassurance and building your mentees’ confidence.
My mentees share a lot of things with me that give me an insight into what they’re doing, and also to what’s happening in the market generally, what’s happening outside of my own world. As a mentor, not only are you sharing your experience, but you are also prompted to reflect on what you are doing, and where your own career is going. That’s something I’ve found invaluable.
Can you describe some of the issues and challenges your mentees talk to you about?
To give you an example, someone that’s currently working in public practice might have an ambition to go into more of an industry role. That’s quite a change of direction and career, but from a mentor’s point of view I’ve seen both sides.
I’ve been part of a big firm, I’ve been part of a smaller firm of CAs, and in my current role at the Weir Group I’m on the industry side. So having seen different sides, I can paint a picture for my mentees of what it’s really like. I can talk them through the challenges that they might face if they are thinking about moving from practice into industry.
Being a mentor doesn’t take as much time as you would think. Your role is to use your experience, to listen, and to act as a sounding board.
I try to explain the advantages and disadvantages that my mentees might not have necessarily thought about or will be aware of. So, explaining that moving from a big four accountancy firm into a small department, you no longer have that network so readily available to you - so you have to be of ready for that.
I see my role as a mentor as trying to give mentees a balanced picture, based on my own experience, so that they can then make their own minds up about what direction they want to go in.
What would you say to people who might like to be a mentor, but who might be worried they don’t have enough time to do it?
Being a mentor doesn’t take as much time as you would think. Your role is to use your experience, to listen, and to act as a sounding board. There isn’t a lot of preparation needed. You just need to be able to commit that hour when the mentee wants to speak to you and be there for them.
If you could give three tips to new mentors, what would they be?
Firstly, have a structure for your meetings. At the beginning of the partnership it’s important to set goals with your mentee about every aspect of the relationship. Each of you should think about what you want to get out of the meetings and what you want long term. So agreement around the structure and the goals is probably one of the most important things to do.
Secondly, resist the urge to do most of the talking! The best mentoring meetings are the ones when you only chip in now and again and the mentee does the bulk of the talking, because it’s quite easy to get carried away.
Thirdly, remember that it’s not your job as the mentor to provide the answers. Your role is to guide the mentee towards reaching their own decisions. You should try to make them aware of the things that are going on around about them, improve their self-awareness, improve their knowledge of industry, the markets, the external environment, those types of things.
You can offer alternatives and share some of your own experience, but ultimately you’ve got to be absolutely sure that it’s not you who is making the decision. You have to be very clear about that.
Remember that it’s not your job as the mentor to provide the answers. Your role is to guide the mentee towards reaching their own decisions.
About Mark Pryce
- Mark Pryce is a Senior Tax Manager with the Weir Group PLC, a FTSE listed company based in Glasgow.
- Previously he worked at EY for 16 years in both audit and tax.
- Mark joined the ICAS global virtual career mentoring programme in 2014 and works regularly with three mentees.
- Mark will join Campbell Dallas CA LLP in January 2016.
ICAS career mentoring through CA Connect
The ICAS career-mentoring process is entirely member-initiated, with interested CAs required to proactively reach out to potential mentors or mentees through CA Connect, our member-exclusive online community platform.
Other mentoring opportunities from ICAS