Career advice articles from every angle describe how important it is to cultivate a relationship with a mentor. But, studies are showing that very few professionals are making use of this kind of relationship. In fact, according to a recent survey, only 26 percent of professionals claim to have a mentor. Why is this the case when it seems so obvious how mentors can help individuals succeed in business? While it is difficult to determine why this happens, it might come down to poor networking skills or a desire to go it alone. Consider working with an accounting mentor to help you develop your skills and learn valuable skills and lessons from their experience. Here are three ways you can work better with a mentor.
The first step to establishing a positive relationship with someone as a mentor is to respect their position. They may not be available to sit down with you every time you make a request, so it is important that you value their time. You can disagree with them but respect the fact that they have the experience you do not bring to the table. While they are there to help you, they don’t have to, so be sure to value their time and knowledge. Setting up meetings in advance or scheduling routine meetings (the first Wednesday of the month) will work really well for mentors in management or executive positions.
While there may be things they suggest that don’t apply or aren’t useful to you, recognize that your primary reasons for developing this relationship are to learn from them. If you’re not willing to hear what they have to say and take action on your own behalf, the relationship won’t be worth either of your time. It is also okay for you to reciprocate to them. Introduce them to others in your network you think they would benefit from knowing. This is a great way to make this mentorship worth it for everyone. Lessons learned from years of experience are invaluable and maybe if you come across a situation they talked about, then you’ll be able to avoid the same mistake.
Lastly, along with respect, it is essential to show your gratitude. Not only will this send the right message to your mentor, but it will help you as well. People who practice gratitude regularly are happier and more satisfied with their situations. Thank them for their time. Send them an appreciation gift for the help they’ve provided. Pass their information on to others to generate more interest in their business. Never take for granted their time. The mentors may be volunteering but they are still giving up some of their day to help you in your career.