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April 2017 25
Why do we need a mentor?
People often ask, what is
mentorship? Why do we need a
mentor? How is a mentor different
from all the other people, such as
parents or relatives in the family,
teachers or professors at school,
friends in our social life, supervisors
or colleagues at work, and
pastors at church, etc. around us?
These people – “advisors” – at one
point or the other, will always be
around us, shedding light on us as
we grow up, teaching and helping us
to gather knowledge and skill sets
that enable us to find a decent job,
developing an ethical value of life
for us to contribute to making the
world better, and strengthening our
ability to live harmoniously with our
However, nowadays the world
is changing fast, and getting
more and more complicated and
technologically driven. Very often,
we will come to a crossroads in
our career that we need to make a
choice that will have a significant
impact on our future. Unfortunately,
when we come to this situation, we
may not always be able or want to
seek advice from the “advisors”
mentioned above, for the following
The advisors may not have the
knowledge or experience to
understand our situation and to
offer advice on the available
We may not want them to know.
For example, we may not want
to worry our parents with our
Some of these advisors may be
in a conflict of interest with you.
These may be the case with our
supervisors, colleagues and even
friends working in the same field.
The role of a mentor
Under the previously mentioned
situations, a mentor fills in the gap.
A mentor offers guidance, advice
and support to a mentee to facilitate
his or her learning and development.
The Institute’s Mentorship
Programme’s objective is “to offer
aspiring CPAs the opportunity to
learn from experienced members
for the purpose of their career
development through consultation
and experience sharing.”
How to be a good mentor
Based on the above mentioned
objective of mentorship, a good
mentor must be able to help the
mentees to identify options that are
available to them when they are at
their crossroads and help them make
the “best” choice based on as much
relevant information and experience
as you can provide or help them
to find. I believe the following are
the key success factors to become a
Be empathetic and supportive to
the mentee’s concerns.
Be committed and provide
sufficient time and energy, and
be readily approachable and
Have a strong desire to help
younger professionals to advance
in their career.
Demonstrate yourself as a
professional role model and stress
the importance of respect from
each other and keeping matters
Be an active listener and don’t
interrupt when mentees are
talking about their problems.
Appreciate the mentee’s point
of view and ask thoughtful
Provide constructive feedback,
supported by real examples and
Help mentees recognize the
likely outcome of their plans,
actions and behaviour, and
remind them that they should
be responsible for the decisions
Be prepared to share personal
experience and stories of
mistakes and failures.
Don’t act as a sponsor.
Don’t try to find jobs or carry out
work for mentees.
Don’t try to be an expert in all
areas, but instead offer to share
contacts who can help.
Don’t create an unhealthy
dependency on the mentor from
...be a good mentor
The Partner at RSM Hong Kong, and
a mentor in the Institute’s Mentorship
Programme, shares factors contributing
to mentoring success
“A good mentor must be able to help
the mentees to identify options that
are available to them when they are
at their crossroads and help them
make the ‘best’ choice.”
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