The Finance Leader Podcast

Bonus Episode 24: Finding a Mentor

September 07, 2021 Stephen McLain
The Finance Leader Podcast
Bonus Episode 24: Finding a Mentor
Show Notes Transcript

I believe in having the right mentor, and that is someone outside your current work situation who can really help you fine tune your career strategy and even help you make some key connections for your future.  The best mentor is someone you were worked with in the past, but are not working with now. They know you, they know your abilities, at least in the past, and they know your goals.

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Stephen McLain:

Hi, this is Stephen McLain of the finance leader podcast. This is bonus episode number 24. Last week I wrapped up season seven, which is all about your career and developing special skills. This week, I wanted to briefly talk about finding a mentor. I believe in having the right mentor. And that is someone outside your current work situation, who can really help you fine tune your career strategy, and even help you make some key connections for your future. But ensure you're giving as much as you are receiving from your mentor. I covered finding a mentor in Episode 44. The best mentor is someone you worked with in the past, but are not working with right now. They know you they know your abilities, at least in the past, and they know your goals. The best mentor relationship is one way you can let your guard down a little and talk without worrying about judgment. Like you probably often do with your current supervisor when talking about your future, because you never know how your supervisor will react. Unfortunately, if they know what you are planning, because your supervisor may not always be your best advisor, especially when it means moving on from your current role. I'm working on preparing season eight, which will be all about the position of Chief Financial Officer and I can't wait to share. season eight will debut on October 12. This week, I wanted to share an encore episode with you. Episode 44. Find a mentor to help you navigate your career. Please enjoy this encore episode. This week I am talking about mentorship. We all need a mentor if we can also become a great mentor to someone else. When looking for a mentor, I'd prefer someone who I had previously worked for with a history of a great working relationship. mentor relationship is unique and differs from that of a coach and a teacher. A brilliant mentor who knows the current challenges and market can help guide you as you navigate your career. Please enjoy the episode. Welcome to the finance leader podcast where leadership is bigger than the numbers. I am your host Stephen McLain. This is the podcast for developing leaders in finance and accounting. This is episode number 44. And now we'll be talking about how a mentor can help you. And we'll highlight the following topics. Number one why we need a mentor. Number two traits of a great mentor. Three, the mentor relationship. And for you can become a great mentor to Oprah Winfrey said and mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself. This is the last episode of season five, we've had a great run of topics. This season. The focus of this season was about you and your development, what you need to do for career advancement. It was a fun range of topics that also helped me all of these topics deal with our mindset, which is the most important of all, if we change our mindset, we change our outcome. Episode 36 began the season. This episode kicked off the new year. And it was about goal setting. I love goal setting and we'll continue to address goals all year long. We need to be hyper focused on our goals and our progress plus a dress what is trying to stop us. Episode 37 was about becoming coachable. In order to improve our performance. We need to be open minded about critical feedback Episode 38 was on overcoming limiting beliefs. These are beliefs that you have that are holding you back. It's a mindset issue. Episode 39. Going along with the previous episode was about defeating perfectionism, which is another popular limiting belief. Trying to be perfect has a high opportunity cost. This holds us back and it holds back many people. I'll keep addressing it. It's a critical issue. Episode 40 this was about stop playing it safe in your career. You need to take some risk to advance yourself. Playing safe robs you of opportunity. Episode 41 was about preparing now. For your future senior leader role. You need to be thinking about and planning for the senior leader role you desire in the future. You need to develop the key soft skills and also your executive presence. Episode 42 was about wellness. We should not be just surviving in our lives, but also thriving in them. It's not just your physical health, but eight key health dimensions. The next episode was a bonus episode. This was about Our morning routine, and also a replay of Episode 23. About our daily habits. habits are key to our daily success. Episode 43 was about dealing with conflict. And I talked about healthy and unhealthy conflict. I believe all these topics and season five has really helped you. And that is why I produce this podcast every week, I publish this podcast to focus on developing your leadership ability. Because I believe that leadership will set you apart from your peers, you are already expected to have strong technical skills in finance and accounting. My vision for you as a finance and accounting professional is to become a leader in your organization, who can use your influence to shape and execute the organization's vision and strategy. I don't want you to just be reporting the numbers, but to partner with senior leaders and executives, to share critical insights and trends. Additionally, I see you developing and empowering your team to do the same, which is our greatest calling. Leaders develop other leaders, we often promote and hire the wrong people, we usually hire and promote the person who has absolutely super awesome Excel skills. But the same person cannot speak with people and also cannot influence incredible outcomes. Give me an person with average Excel skills, I can teach them Excel, but also who have incredible soft skills, like communication, time management, and then I can turn them into someone who can partner with leaders around the company, just give me that give me those incredible soft skills. And we can teach up the other skills. But it's usually this Excel expert who gets brought on the team, but who doesn't want to talk with anybody else who just wants to work the prettiest spreadsheet, and this person wants to impress others, but they don't get out of their cubicle, they don't get out of their desk and go talk with others and go partner and figure out what's wrong. So that's why I'm trying to have a different approach to how we hire, how we promote, and how we grow people. And our focus should be on leadership, development and developing of other people. Today we are talking about mentorship. The mentor relationship is different from that of a coach and a teacher. To be effective. The mentor relationship needs to be open to normally very close hold information, deep thoughts about what you want in your career and your life. So your mentor can really understand what you're aiming for. These are ideas that you may not be comfortable sharing with just anyone. And that's why it's important that your mentor is not your supervisor. Even though I do encourage you to share goals. So your leadership chain, because I believe that most people will try to help you. The mentor relationship should be more open and truly honest, to get the most value. It's designed to be a non threatening professional relationship. Exactly. For that purpose. You look to a mentor because this person has lived a career that you can model. They know the industry and they know the challenges, and they have overcome adversity along their own career path. The mentor relationship is more personal than that of a coach and a teacher. The mentor can also learn from the mentee, like new and emerging trends, and new best practices and other things that they see as changing from their perspective. A great mentor relationship means that the mentor is also learning and can grow and the relationship to get a strong mentor. You need to be a strong performer and mentor will be investing in you investing your time. You have to approach the mentor relationship as you would your job. Be on time. Be ready. Respect boundaries. Be a top performer for anything you're asked to do. The more you invest and respect your mentor, the more you will receive in return. Now let's talk more about mentorship. Number one, why we need a mentor. A mentor relationship is special and unique and differs from a coach and a teacher. A coach is trying to focus you on a specific area, like improving your performance. It's very one way often one of you is growing. A teacher is trying to show you or help you grow a skill or help you learn a process. It's another one way relationship. The mentor relationship is two way you both grow and learn together. You both can help each other. The mentor relationship is key to your long term career and life strategy. We need a mentor to help us see things differently, different from a coach. The coach is going to help you find the answer inside. So deep self exploration. The mentor is a strategic guide for your career. Number two traits of a great mentor, you need to know where to find a mentor. First, my opinion is that a mentor who knows you and maybe someone you worked with in the past, is a great choice of the mentor. And maybe you don't have someone in your past that you would really want to go to, but hopefully you do. That's what I prefer. And that's what I recommend the most. Now, your company may also have a mentor program that can match you with senior leaders who want to be mentors, and then they can match you to what your goals are and your needs are. And also, you can go find a third party organization who may want to match up mentors with mentees, a mentor is open minded and ready to talk about possibilities. They care about guiding you while you shape your thoughts. They are also very honest with you about expectations, they can provide you some emotional support during a tough decision. And also during adversity. This is supposed to be a safe relationship, where you can actually share some interesting thoughts and some things you are dealing with especially adversity and mentor is knowledgeable about the industry and is also connected and mentor can help guide you with your goals, including roles and companies to consider and what education opportunities to tackle and other professional development prospects, you need to consider. Number three, the mentor relationship. The great aspect of the mentoring relationship is that is non threatening, you can talk about a wide range of topics that you may not be fully comfortable with your supervisor, or someone else at your workplace, you can talk about tough topics, you have to understand that the mentor is sacrificing time to help you. So be respectful of that cost. Be prepared for every meeting and every event that you both have planned. It's a two way street. So make sure you give as much as you get and more expectations must also be set how much time how the agenda is set, who is responsible for setting the details of the meeting, how often you meet in when communication is okay. Like updates you may have, can you email, can you text can you call, but understand the expectation and also the boundaries. So don't overdo the communication. That is what the meeting is for. I'm sure you can update your mentor. But don't send excessive communication, when that's not what the expectation is. And also, if there's a boundary that has been set, maybe you can send one email a week or one email every other week, especially if you're meeting probably once a month, but I would not send excessive text or call out of the blue. Make sure it's something that is well within the expectation. And don't ever exceed the boundaries that you've been given. No matter what happens. treat this relationship with the highest career priority that you give to other things in your career. Ensure you are on time and ready for the topic. And the discussion. always respect boundaries and the expectations. Number four, you can become a great mentor to you need to be thinking about this. If you are in a leadership role. You can become a great mentor to someone on another team in the company, or to someone you have worked with in the past. I would also caution you to not use that mentor relationship with someone who's currently on your team. You are their coach and their teacher and you are developing them. It is key for them to go find a mentor outside of your team I want so I want you to focus on someone outside of your team. If that opportunity comes up. Mentoring is very rewarding. Becoming a mentor is a great way to give back. So don't minimize the impact you can have with someone who's also trying to advance their career, you can make a huge difference to a person trying to become a manager and trying to advance their career. I have served as a mentor to others many times I found it to be very rewarding. It's an incredible experience. You get to listen to dreams and talk capabilities and possibilities. The great aspect of mentoring is that you get to help others. Try not to make the same mistakes that you did in your career. And also to try to bring some clarity to what they can do to advance and what to focus on now. And what not to waste time on take the opportunity to become a mentor when you can make the proper investment. So don't overlook it credible opportunity and incredible responsibility to help shape others especially those who aren't in your team. Because it's a very special unique professional relationship for easy win today. If you don't have a mentor already, I recommend you begin to search for one, you can check to see if your company has a mentor program, who can then match you to one based on your needs and your goals. Or you can seek out someone you know, like a former supervisor, or another senior leader you may have worked with in the past, embrace the benefits of mentorship because it's another growth tool for you, and may also help you find opportunities for your career. I wish you the best with this critical step in your career. Don't let this opportunity slip away. It can add incredible results to your career. Some people like to go it alone, and some people believe that they don't need a mentor. But I would disagree with that assessment. Find a mentor, because it's really non threatening opportunity to talk about your career and talk about some things that can help you advance so don't overlook it. Go research this and then go plan it out and find a good mentor that matches you really well. I have a free guide for you. It's called the leadership growth blueprint for finance and accounting managers. In the guide I talked about three leadership areas communication, team growth, and empowerment. Plus a few recommendations around challenges with the systems you are probably using to complete your work. The link to the guide is in the episode description. Or you can go to Stephen McLain calm. Please use it to help you with a few leadership wins today. Thank you. This episode is sponsored by my new online course offering through finance leader Academy is called Advanced your finance and accounting career. Developing a promotion strategy that will set you apart Are you having difficulty getting recognition from your leadership despite all the hard work you pour into your job and your organization. To advance your career you must set yourself apart from your peers, and you must be marketing yourself constantly. Showing up every day and completing your daily tasks even to a high degree of excellence will not guarantee a promotion. This course helps you establish your professional Foundation, and how you can set yourself apart from your peers by growing your leadership skills and developing your executive presence. You can go to Stephen McLain calm for more details. Today I talked about mentorship and highlighted the following points number one why we need a mentor. Number two traits of a great mentor. Number three, the mentor relationship. And four you can become a great mentor too. We all need a mentor to help us see things we don't to help us plan and develop a strategy and to see if our goals are on track and to help us get introductions to opportunities that might be possible. Again, embrace the need for a mentor in your career. today and season five the next few weeks, I'll be sharing some bonus topics while I prepare season six next week is back to talking about goals and goal setting, which I absolutely love talking about. I hope you enjoyed the finance leader podcast dedicated to helping you grow your leadership. I hope you enjoyed the show. You can get this episode wherever you find podcasts. Until next time, you can check out more resources at Stephen McLain calm and sign up for my updates so you don't miss an episode of the show. And now go lead your team and I'll see you next time. Thank you