7 Reasons you should NOT engage me to mentor you

Mar 8, 2024

I could go the all too common route of focusing on what makes me special and why you SHOULD engage me. But frankly, that’s boring. And I’ve tried to do that in many different ways at different times over the years.
What you really want to know is whether we will be a good fit and whether you would really benefit from working with me?

I thought it would be helpful to address this from the opposite perspective. So in this blog post, I’m going to go through the reasons why you should NOT engage me to mentor you!

1. You already have someone to support, guide and encourage you
The clients who seem to most value my input and NED-style support tend NOT to have anyone else to support, guide and challenge them.

You won’t want to engage me if you have a partner (business or social) with whom you can be honest when things are not working well. My clients tell me how liberating they find it to be able to share their issues, problems and challenges as well as their aspirations, hopes and dreams.

Life invariably involves a roller-coaster of successes and disappointments. My clients appreciate being able to talk candidly about the latter and get a boost from my supportive and constructive advice to move onwards and upwards. If you already have someone who does this for you, you don’t need me to do it as well.

My clients come to me for guidance and also for second opinions. If you already have someone who listens to you and offers credible second opinions you won’t want to engage me too. Whilst I often support my clients’ choices and decisions, sometimes I offer an alternative perspective. This can be inspiring but it would be confusing if my input becomes a third or fourth opinion!

2. You are driven by targets and need to be held accountable for your promises
There are plenty of other coaches and mentors for accountants who run target-driven programmes and who promise to hold you accountable for doing as you promise each month.

Whilst I know how effective such programmes can be, they are not for everyone. And the accountants who choose to work with me tend to be those who don’t want the pressure of that kind of ‘support’ week in, week out. Some do ask me to keep up the pressure and remind them of their commitments, but this tends to be the exception rather than the rule.

Equally, some of the accountants whom I mentor have previously been part of such formal programmes but left as they felt that they wanted more flexibility to run their practice their way.

3. You don’t intend to be honest
Everyone who knows me and who has worked with me will confirm I am open and honest. Some even consider me to be too honest as I don’t encourage everyone to choose my highest priced mentoring packages. I prefer you to choose what you feel is right for you.

I expect a similar degree of honesty from my clients. Indeed it can be quite frustrating trying to work with clients who are not being honest with me or even themselves. If you don’t intend to be open and honest with me, please don’t think about engaging me as your mentor.

4. You have unrealistic expectations
Occasionally I have an initial conversation with an accountant and I realise things aren’t going to work. Most often this is because they want things to be different NOW. This impatience is unrealistic. It’s almost as if they expect me to be able to wave a magic wand and conjure up more fees, clients, time or whatever.

I am always happy to share ideas, insights and advice. And can even help review changes you make to your profiles, website etc BUT, away from The Magic Circle stage, I cannot wave a magic wand and make anything happen by myself.

So do not engage me if you expect things to change immediately and without YOU doing the work to make things happen. That’s wholly unrealistic.

5. You are not ready to be mentored
Perhaps you only started your practice recently. Or maybe you have yet to start one of your own. Either way I’m not the right person for you. If you are a new start-up you will get far more help and advice from the books, websites and other coaches who are focused on working with start-ups.

My clients tend to have been in practice for a while. Some hadn’t worked in practice before starting their own and have reached a stage where they need someone with more experience to help ensure they make the right decisions going forwards.

Others have been around the block a few times. Often they have invested in expensive marketing and coaching programmes to little benefit.

6. You need a business coach rather than a mentor
If you want someone to ask you challenging questions and to encourage you to find the answers from within yourself, you want a coach. They rarely give direct advice. My approach is quite different. yes I will ask you questions but my clients expect to also be able to ask me questions and get the benefit of my experience and advice. This means they can benefit from my extensive contacts, knowledge and experience across most aspects of running an accountancy practice.

A second type of business coach would be one who has had training and experience in a specific area of business and aims to share this to help you close gaps in your skill set. If, for example, you want someone to help you exclusively with your pricing issues, marketing issues or any other discrete skill, then you will probably want to engage a pricing, marketing or other skill focused business coach. If this appeals PLEASE ensure you check out their credibility as some coaches are little more than wannabe therapists or they share out of date theoretical solutions that won’t help you achieve your goals.

You should only engage me if you want to benefit from my more wide-ranging, up to date, commercial and pragmatic advice.

The other common type of business coach is one who has bought into a franchise and shares with you the systems and models they have been taught – often for a very significant fee! I find it hard to imagine many accountants choosing to engage such a coach but if you feel that you will only make progress if you invest many thousands of pounds in such a business coach, be my guest. Again, that’s not how I operate.

Some clients think of me as a confidant and almost as a Non-Exec Director (NED) they need to help give them more confidence in running their firm. Others consider me to be akin to the dispassionate Senior Partner who no longer has any day to day operational or managerial responsibilities for the practice.

I understand their business and take a keen interest in helping them to be more successful – on their terms. I am told this is very different to the style and approach of most business coaches.

7. You feel my mentoring fees are too high
I have no intention of justifying my fees to anyone. They are what they are. I ignore those people, from within and outside the accountancy profession,who tell me I could at least double my fees and still offer excellent value for money.

Some of my competitors, whose fees are typically even higher than mine, might try to persuade you that it is precisely because you feel unable to afford their fees that you should engage them. The argument being that by working with them you will increase your confidence, increase your fees and make more profits that exceed the fees you have paid them. I tend to think the same is true for those accountants who engage me to mentor them.

But I don’t want to work with accountants who are unable to recognise the inherent value in my service offering. So if you feel my mentoring fees are too high let’s not even have conversation about it.


An alternative option

Perhaps you might prefer to join my Sole Practice Club. Full details here >>>> You would be very welcome even if you don’t want 1-2-1 mentoring.

Think we’re a match made in heaven?

Despite the title of this piece perhaps you’ve read through the seven reasons and concluded that you DO want to at least have a discussion about 1-2-1 mentoring.

If so, I’m delighted. I may be a bit fussy about who I work with, but that’s because I love the relationships I build with my clients. It’s better for everyone if we’re the right fit.

You’ll find my mentoring service options here >

Please take a look and then get in touch. My contact details are on that page too.

Discuss this post?

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything in this blog post. I’m always happy to do that without any charge or obligation. Book a good time here now

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