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She said/she said

How mentoring looks at Deloitte LLP

| December 2019/January 2020 Footnote

Editor's note: Updated November 30, 2019

Mentoring is often looked at as a short, one-way street. The mentor bestows their vast knowledge on the mentee, gives the lay of the land for what to expect in their career and then sends the mentee on their merry way, right? Well, perhaps in some places, but not at Deloitte. We sat down to chat with a mentor and mentee from Deloitte about how both people can benefit from the relationship and experience of mentoring.

The mentor: Lindsay Witt, CPA, senior manager, Deloitte Tax LLP

Tell us about mentoring at Deloitte.

Career coaching at Deloitte is focused on providing mentorship and helping people discover their strengths. At Deloitte, we think about strengths in terms of what gives you energy, not necessarily just what you are good at. It’s all about finding the kind of work that energizes you and then finding opportunities to develop those skills.

How long have you been involved with mentoring?

I have been a coach since becoming a manager. I am Morgan’s coach, and I also have four other coachees who are all at different places in their career. It’s extremely rewarding to help them navigate whatever career challenge they are facing — whether it’s helping them find time to study for the CPA exam or helping them work toward their next promotion.

How long does the mentorship last?

Mentoring can take place throughout your entire career. The type of guidance and mentorship a new colleague may need from their coach may be very different from the needs of someone who has been with Deloitte for many years. The role of a coach is to advise individuals on professional development over the course of their career and help make connections.

What are the goals of mentoring?

The goal of the coach relationship is to provide our people with an outlet to view their performance and careers holistically, discover their individual strengths and develop themselves accordingly. Morgan and I check in frequently throughout the year, so I have a good understanding of what she is working on and how she views her strengths on those engagements. We also talk about things like goal-setting and how she is prioritizing her well-being.

Tell me about your early interaction with mentoring. Were there any surprises or revelations?

When I started at Deloitte 10 years ago, the level of importance given to mentoring our people was one of the things that made me realize this was absolutely the right organization for me. Deloitte cares about the well-being of its people, and the coach relationship is just one of the many ways it supports individuals throughout the course of their career.

Is there a specific example of how mentorship has been beneficial to you early in your career?

My first coach at Deloitte was great about encouraging me to take on new opportunities and to find my confidence. He was the perfect coach for my early years here. When I had my first child, the challenges I faced were very different.

I was navigating a reduced schedule and learning how to balance my career with being a new mom. What I needed most from my coach at that time was someone who understood and had navigated a similar path. One of the ways we encourage people at Deloitte to own their career is by empowering individuals to choose their coach, so I found someone who had a unique perspective on the challenges I was facing. I will always be grateful for the wisdom and mentorship she provided, and I now find myself passing on a lot of the guidance that I received from her to my coachees.

What has your experience been like now that you’re the coach?

Being a coach is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had at Deloitte. I have celebrated with my coachees as they reached professional milestones like passing the CPA exam and being promoted to manager. Morgan is in the process of taking her CPA exam and we are absolutely going to celebrate when she passes! I have also helped coachees navigate personal milestones, like preparing for paternity leave for their first child. I have benefited immensely from the mentorship I received from my coaches, and I hope I can provide others with the same level of support and guidance.

Would you recommend other firms consider mentorship opportunities?

I would absolutely recommend it. From my perspective, providing individuals with the mentorship of a coach can have a significant impact on retention, employee well-being and helping them feel like they truly own their career.

The mentee: Morgan Fehrs, consultant, Deloitte Tax LLP

Tell us about your experience with the program at Deloitte.

Mentoring at Deloitte is a relationship established at the beginning of an individual’s career. A new-hire coachee is paired with a manager or senior manager-level coach who helps with navigating all the career opportunities at Deloitte. Typically, we meet once a month for check-ins to discuss progress on goals, performance and feedback. This year, a “road map” was added that allows each individual to customize tax education courses. This covers education, experience and exposure. My coach suggests the right exposures, experience and education to help me develop and grow.

When did your mentorship start?

I’ve been involved with mentoring since the beginning of my summer 2018 internship. Lindsay was my mentor during my internship and then we were able to continue the mentorship into my full-time career.

What are the goals of your mentorship with Lindsay? What’s the structure?

The goal of mentoring is career development and personal guidance, and the structure of the individual mentorship is decided by the coach and coachee. There is flexibility with the frequency of meetings and where they are held. Typically, Lindsay and I will have a 30-minute meeting over coffee. At our last meeting, we discussed feedback I received from senior team members after completing a project.

What were your initial thoughts when you heard Deloitte had a mentorship opportunity?

To me, Deloitte’s focus on mentoring is a clear commitment to develop its people. This is something I found very attractive when deciding to work at Deloitte.

What has your experience been like?

Mentoring has been one of my favorite experiences thus far. I have really enjoyed being able to discuss my role at Deloitte and what I want to get out of my career here with guidance from Lindsay.

How has mentorship been beneficial to you?

One thing that I’ve found very beneficial is discussing with Lindsay what type of work I have a natural tendency to enjoy and succeed at, and then how to find ways to incorporate certain types of tasks into my role. This has helped shape my view on the ownership I can take in my career.

Would you recommend other firms consider mentorship?

Yes, I would recommend mentorship opportunities to other organizations. Mentorship shows dedication to developing and retaining people.