Today I will be in meetings all morning as part of our annual performance evaluations in Tax. Even though the meetings will only last a few hours, a lot of work has gone into putting together all of the information to be discussed. We all get feedback from the people we work with on our jobs throughout the year, and discuss the feedback with our “coach”, who in turn presents the information in the performance evaluation meetings.
The role of the coach is a pretty important one. Your coach acts as a mentor – they help you to establish, pursue, and achieve your professional goals, while helping you to navigate any issues you may encounter along the way.
Mentorship is an integral element of the PwC corporate culture, and incredibly important to the development of our people. A couple of articles that I have read lately on the topic note that, generally, staff are feeling less engaged at work than ever, and many top executives are feeling out of touch with their staff. Mentoring is a great way for more senior employees to identify and relate to issues that their junior staff are facing, while helping those junior staff members create strategies to overcome those issues successfully.
At PwC, my coach, as I have mentioned in a prior post, is wonderful. In the last year and a half, she has helped me to determine what area of tax I would like to specialize in, identified some great strategies to help me get take advantage of valuable professional opportunities, and generally just helped me to navigate the issues that I have encountered as I have taken on a more senior role in my projects. (She also inspired me to become a coach myself, and given me some great tips on how to conduct effective coaching conversations).
One example of this is in helping me to pursue my interest in getting involved in Learning and Development (“L&D”). Last year, I found out about a 6 month secondment opportunity to work with our national L&D group, assisting in the development of technical training for our tax group nationally. They were looking for someone more senior than me, but I applied anyway (and didn’t get it).
I talked to my coach, who suggested that I get involved with the L&D committee locally to get a better idea of what was involved in L&D, meet some of the people on the national L&D team, and get some experience thinking about how L&D functions in the tax group.
She contacted the partner who leads our local L&D committee, who in turn found me a spot on our local L&D committee. After a year with the L&D committee locally, I realized that it’s definitely an area of the practice that I’m interested in, so when the job posting came around again this year, I applied again. They were still looking for someone a bit more senior than me, but because of my experience with other L&D initiatives, I actually got the job! I start my 8 month contract in Tax L&D in November of this year, and I’m very excited to help develop training for the Tax CA program nationally.