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to think if you are an advisor, you should realise that the person you are advising probably isn't completely stupid and might know something

(25 Posts)
itshardthinkingofanickname Wed 26-Feb-14 10:53:43

Was working through a cashflow forecast with a business mentor.
I was talking about VAT and he went on to take my figures and then explained to me how to take out the VAT element of my figures to give the net rate. He then did the calculation in front of me - telling me how he'd done it.

Meanwhile - I was trying to tell him that the figures were net and I just needed to add the VAT on in the right column. I'm also capable of working out the VAT element easily.

I mentioned about company cars. I politely listened as he explained what HMRC had done, explained about benefit in kind etc - I knew all that already but he never bothered to find out what I knew.

It's quite frustrating when someone doesn't listen to you and then explains something for 5 minutes that you already know.

monkeysox Wed 26-Feb-14 11:18:22

Sounds like health visitors, they assume everyone is a dumb dumb

MaidOfStars Wed 26-Feb-14 11:23:45

I think you're being unreasonable. If I am asked to mentor/teach/advise in a professional capacity, my motto tends to be 'Assume no knowledge (even if they claim it). He's being thorough, and it can't hurt to revise these things.

Crinkle77 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:31:52

Do you think he would have treated you like this if you were a man? I suspect not.

GrandadGrumps Wed 26-Feb-14 11:37:11

Oh I wouldn't bet on it Crinkle. I'm frequently talked down to and have things 'explained' to me by people who have about a 10th of a grasp of the subject as I do.

It's part of the training I think, they have to go through it all and explain every point, just so they can say they've provided proper advice.

itshardthinkingofanickname Wed 26-Feb-14 11:37:19

He just sat there explaining how to work out the VAT element of a price.

There's a difference between "assume no knowledge" and patronise.

daisychain01 Wed 26-Feb-14 11:43:53

In these situations, I'd tend to 'leave your ego at the door', don't close down the learning, it doesn't matter if he is telling you something you know - let them walk through everything you need to cover. Once they've gone, you are on your own - anything you don't pick up from them during those advisory sessions, the opportunity is lost.

You will find there are bound to be over-laps in your knowledge and you may just pick up a nugget of information that you didn't know, so by keeping an open mind you aren't closing down the conversation.

An alternative approach could be to go along to the session with a very targetted "to-do" list of your "must-know" items, so you leave feeling you have benefitted from the meeting.

AWUGAAWUGAlookoutitsaMAN Wed 26-Feb-14 12:00:22

I have done a fair bit of consultancy work and it can be hard after you've spoken to 99 newbies, to not patronize number 100 who happens to have a clue what the hell you're on about. You feel guilty when you realize but that can take minutes if you're trying to get a quick primer in.

FryOneFatManic Wed 26-Feb-14 13:03:31

The best mentors I have come across (and this is something I do myself), are those who begin a subject with something along the lines of "what do you already know?"

The "mentee" can tell you what they know and you get to see the gaps, if any, in their knowledge of that particular subject.

Far less patronising, and more efficient because you are not wasting time explaining something they do actually know about.

AchyFox Wed 26-Feb-14 14:38:39

How much are you paying the mentor ?

Seems he doesn't want to be exposed as having less knowledge than you.
Happens quite a lot.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Feb-14 14:50:15

YANBU. Last time I had a meeting with the 'advisor' at my bank the snotty nosed twenty-something lad in a shiny suit I was landed with was so patronising and used the expression 'innit' so liberally that I didn't invest so much as a penny in anything in he recommended. And took great pleasure in telling him why.

Pendeen Wed 26-Feb-14 15:58:54

What is a "business mentor"?

itshardthinkingofanickname Wed 26-Feb-14 16:00:41

It's part of a Government scheme. You get access to cheap loans and advice from a business partnership.

Quite useful and makes you think - especially about the plan and the cashflow.

Pendeen Thu 27-Feb-14 09:30:44

Oh, OK.

I am thinking of expanding so I might just have a look at this.


ArsePaste Thu 27-Feb-14 09:36:49

How is the mentor supposed to know what you don't know?

FrysChocolateCream Thu 27-Feb-14 09:39:56

Surely it wouldn't hurt to ask you first eg "Do you know how to take off the VAT element?" I think teaching is a real skill which people just assume they have and many don't.

itshardthinkingofanickname Thu 27-Feb-14 09:45:02

What really annoyed me was that he did not listen when I was trying to tell him the number was ex-VAT and I was not sure where to add the VAT element.

Instead, he proceeded to show me how to take off the VAT element (which I know anyway) - his face was quite funny when he stopped talking and I told him again that the price was ex-VAT.

It's not hard to ask if you know / have heard about something before you explain all about it to someone.

senua Thu 27-Feb-14 09:50:47

How is the mentor supposed to know what you don't know?

It's called a conversation. As opposed to a lecture.hmm

senua Thu 27-Feb-14 09:53:28

A mentor is supposed to be there to facilitate, not to do things for you. They are a hand-holding exercise. They are supposed to make you question yourself so that you find your own answers. They are not a tutorial service.

tomverlaine Thu 27-Feb-14 09:54:38

Why did you sit there politely and not say anything?
Would you have done this if he had assumed you knew something which you didn't?
Sounds like poor communication on both sides

itshardthinkingofanickname Thu 27-Feb-14 10:00:30

Do you ever interrupt someone when they are telling you things you already know?

That's not a skill I've learnt - I'm too polite for that.

FryOneFatManic Thu 27-Feb-14 18:46:03

How is the mentor supposed to know what you don't know?

I refer you to my previous post:

The best mentors I have come across (and this is something I do myself), are those who begin a subject with something along the lines of "what do you already know?"

I begin a conversation and take notes of what people can do so I can then steer the conversation along the lines of the stuff they can't do.

I want people to feel they've achieved something, which they won't do if the "mentor" just talks at them.

SouthernComforts Thu 27-Feb-14 18:55:12

Slightly different but I had to leave my job after dd warn prematurely, I couldn't work whilst she was in hospital so ended up on income support.

At the first back to work interview I was spoken to like a supremely stupid 7 year old. The woman asked me if I finished school. I said yes. Then she asked how many GCSE's I had. I said 10. Her reply "sorry darling, I meant A-C's".

I reeled off my 10 A-C's, 4 A levels and my NVQ and she sort of wrote them down skeptically.

Then asked me if I'd ever had a job. I said yes, until 3 months ago I worked closely with the Job Centre matching adult learners to apprenticeships, I've probably spoken to you in a work capacity. grin

Her face was a picture.

SouthernComforts Thu 27-Feb-14 18:56:49

First sentence should say dd was born*


JohnnyUtah Thu 27-Feb-14 18:57:03

Oh god, I must be really impolite. I'd have no trouble at all saying "yes, I know that".

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