The mark of a great mentor is that it’s not “all about you,” a Robert Half Management Resources survey suggests. More than half (54 per cent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) interviewed who have served as mentors said the key benefit is the satisfaction that comes from helping someone else.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Management Resources, the world’s premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 270 CFOs from a stratified random sample of Canadian companies with 20 or more employees.

CFOs were asked, “Have you, at any point in your career, served as a mentor, either formally or informally?” Their responses:

Yes 54%
No 46%
  100%

Those who responded “yes” to the question above were asked, “Which one of the following do you think is the greatest benefit of being a mentor?” Their responses:

Provides the internal satisfaction of helping someone else 54%
Offers you the opportunity to improve your leadership skills 22%
Allows you to stay current on industry trends 18%
Helps you build your professional network 3%
Something else/No benefit/Don’t know 3%
  100%

“Mentoring can help anyone at any career stage; its benefits are not restricted to those just starting their careers,” said David King, Canadian district president of Robert Half Management Resources. “The challenging business environment over the past few years has heightened the importance of having a mentor who can provide valuable guidance on a variety of professional questions and dilemmas.”

Below are four tips to get the most out of your mentoring experience:

–   Consider your strengths. What are the most valuable things you’ve learned over the course of your career? Think about what you have to offer someone just starting out. 

–   Don’t rely on a formal program. Many companies don’t have established mentoring programs, and those that do may still be ramping up after scaling back during the downturn. If you identify someone you think you can help, extend the offer. 

–   Look beyond new grads. Professionals at all levels can benefit from having a mentor. Those trying to advance to the next level or looking to make a change might particularly welcome your advice. 

–   Listen. The best mentors are often the best listeners. Understand your mentee’s situation and his or her greatest needs before you offer guidance. Sometimes the most valuable role you can play is that of sounding board.

About Robert Half Management Resources

Robert Half Management Resources is the premier provider of senior-level accounting and finance professionals on a project and interim basis. The company has more than 150 locations worldwide and offers online job search services at http://www.roberthalfmr.com/. Follow Robert Half Management Resources at twitter.com/roberthalfmr for workplace news.

For further information: Contact: Nadia Santoli, (416) 350-2330, [email protected]