Mentoring Myths That Are Hurting Your Finance Team

There are 6 mentoring myths that could be hurting your finance team’s development.

Mentoring has evolved, and the role that it fills in any organization today is critical to attracting, developing and retaining staff. There are, however, mentoring misconceptions that can hurt the success of any mentoring program or relationship. Here are 6 common mentoring myths debunked.

Myth 1: Millennials Don’t Like Feedback
One mentoring myth is that millennials don’t like feedback. On the contrary, 75% of millennials deem mentoring critical to their success. This makes mentoring fundamental to retaining your millennial workforce. Remember, millennials are typically loyal to an individual, rather than a company. So if you want to hold on to your future finance leaders, it’s imperative to give them ongoing feedback in the form of supportive mentoring.

Myth 2: Only Junior Staff Need Mentoring
Everybody can benefit from a mentor. Managers, for example, can become more effective leaders and communicators. CFOs, as well, can have a mentor who serves as a check and balance to their thought processes. 

And in a truly successful mentoring relationship, mentors can grow as well, testing their long-held assumptions and learning from their mentees.

ReadFrom Junior Accountant to CFO – Why Everyone Needs a Mentor” to learn why a mentor can be critical to career advancement at all levels.

Myth 3: Mentors Do the Choosing and Set the Agenda
Mentoring used to be a way to develop high potential accounting talent. Making the selection process a one-way street, however, can mean that companies miss out on developing other talent who could be difference makers for their organization. More importantly, mentees are as critical as the mentors themselves in driving the relationship forward. This means that a healthy mentor/mentee relationship is founded on honesty, where the mentor asks if his or her feedback is helpful and the mentee is clear about what they hope to learn (or are learning).

Myth 4: Mentoring Is About End Goals
Mentoring isn’t simply about checking off things on a performance list. It’s more development driven than that. Focusing only on an end goal, can mean that both the mentor and mentee lose sight of the key soft skills that the mentee may need to progress in their career. 

Myth 5: Mentoring and Coaching Are the Same Thing
Many firms use the terms coaching and mentoring interchangeably, but there is an important mindset difference that can determine the success of the mentoring relationship. According to the article “The Differences Between Coaching and Mentoring” coaching typically is:

  • More task-oriented, while mentoring is more relationship-oriented
  • Short-term focused, while mentoring needs a more long-term approach to be successful. This allows the mentor and mentee to “build a climate of trust that creates an environment in which the mentee can feel secure in sharing the real issues that impact his or her success.”
  • More performance driven in a given moment, while mentoring develops the individual not only for his or her current role, but also for the future

Resource: One way to improve organizational performance is to create a learning culture. Click here to get tips on creating a learning culture and read about why it’s important to building your organization’s future leaders.

Myth 6: One Mentor Is Sufficient
While one mentor is good, why not leverage a mix of expertise and skills to best develop your talent? A network of mentors offers the mentee an opportunity to learn from different people at varying stages of their career. 

Key Takeaways
There are a number of myths about mentoring that can be hurting your finance team’s development. Mentoring is a two-way street, where both participants can learn and grow from each other. There needs to be open communication and a willingness to be development focused, not simply performance focused. Mentoring is also a key part of any organization’s retention strategy. Millennials, in particular, expect to be mentored and are typically more loyal to an individual than a company. And while one mentor is good, an opportunity for mentees to connect with a variety of individuals can allow them to learn from different levels of knowledge and experience.

Your Next Step
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