Mentoring for dynamic business growth

Jan Bowen Neilsen By Jan Bowen-Nielsen, Founder and Director of Quiver Management

23 September 2016

Mentoring offers CAs great opportunities to improve their business performance. Here are top tips from Quiver Management on using mentoring to grow your business, build stronger client relationships, and gain personal satisfaction.

I have trained a large number of accountants and professionals in mentoring and coaching and seen first-hand the difference these skill-sets make.

Firstly, successful mentoring is not about giving advice or telling people what to do. The benefits below only come about if your mentoring is highly emphatic, non-judgmental and focused on helping the other person learn and find their own answers.

There are two specific angles where good mentoring can improve your business performance. One is internal, related to productivity of your staff and you, the other is external, related to client relationships and opportunities.

Lots of good experience in itself does not make you a good mentor. Beware of telling your team or clients what to do and in the process making them feel less competent, less confident and less empowered.

Good quality, effective mentoring demands strong skill-sets including understanding how adults learn, emphatic listening, effective questions, good conversation structure and building a high level of trust.

These skills give you great opportunities to grow your team’s performance and spend more of your time developing new business.

1. Increase your team’s performance - release your own time

I often hear partners being frustrated with the performance and self-motivation of their team members, particularly around behaviours, mindsets and interpersonal skills. Despite training courses and repeated feedback, improvements remain scarce.

Good quality mentoring makes a profound difference here, to the learning curve, motivation, confidence, productivity and performance of your team. This in turn releases time for you, so you can focus on business development and income generating activities.

Remember too: when you mentor and coach your team, they’ll feel valued and experience more personal development and satisfaction: a key factor for retaining good staff.

2. Build stronger client relationships - create more opportunities

It can be frustrating when clients don’t involve you in more strategic and planning discussions, or they don’t heed your good advice. This is likely to be due to the nature of your client relationship and whether they feel you understand their deeper goals and motivations.

People like to be listened to. As a good listener, sounding board and confidant a mentoring accountant can build a strong rapport, make the client feel understood and help unravel complex issues, particularly where the client is part of the problem (or opportunity).

A mentoring accountant adds value not only from the analysis and presentation of financial data, but through helping clients arrive at their own well-informed decisions – which they are then also more likely to implement.

This builds trust, enables you to provide a tailored service and will give you more opportunities to help.

As a trained mentor or coach, you can also add business mentoring and coaching as a chargeable service, helping business owners with strategy development, business planning, exit planning, succession etc.

3. Personal satisfaction

Helping others develop, experience ‘light-bulb’ moments and transform their performance and impact is immensely satisfying. These can be life-changing mentoring conversations that will positively affect the individuals and enhance their experience of you as a trusted adviser and inspirational leader.

Quiver Management have developed a Client Interpersonal Skills for Accountants workshop. This intensive one-day workshop will show how to use interpersonal skills to improve your clients understanding of their personal and business goals and motivation. For more information on the course or executive and business coaching talk to Quiver Management.

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About the author

Jan Bowen-Nielsen is founder and director of Quiver Management, a team of 19 qualified and highly experienced coaches and leadership development specialists. He has 15 years senior management experience from blue-chip corporations in the UK, Denmark and USA and 14 years as an executive coach, leadership trainer and change consultant. Jan has coached a large number of senior executives in FTSE 100 companies as well as numerous business owners and entrepreneurs. He is a Fellow of ILM, has been on the Advisory Board of EMCC UK for a number of years and regularly speaks at conferences and business events.

This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.


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