In addition to being personally beneficial, mentoring is a way to help cultivate and improve a profession that you are passionate about. It is a means for transferring technical knowledge as well as an opportunity to model and promote your educational, ethical, and professional values to others in the field.That’s why it is great news that, in round numbers, 65% of respondents to a recent CFA Institute Financial NewsBrief poll reported that they have mentored fellow finance professionals. It’s also good news because there is never a shortage of interest from early- to mid-career investment professionals for such career support.Have you voluntarily and proactively mentored fellow finance professionals?Of those who reported mentoring experience, 15% did so as part of formal programs. Certainly formal processes abound. At times in the past, these programs were primarily designed to help the development of high-potential employees for succession-planning purposes. But companies have found that mentoring is a good recruitment and engagement tool for all levels and types of employees and have grown or launched internal programs accordingly. Moreover, many firm alumni and professional associations — including several CFA Institute member societies — run mentoring programs. There are opportunities to plug into a formal mentoring structure for those who are interested.Half (50%) of respondents mentored in an unofficial way. This likely includes many in managerial roles who look to mentor — not just supervise — their direct reports and, in turn, build more effective teams around them. In the book Managers as Mentors, Chip Bell and Marshall Goldsmith compared this process to panning for gold. The gold is mixed in with a lot of sand and you have to patiently shake away the excess so that you can sift through for the nuggets of gold. Managers are in a particularly good position to help their reports work through challenges, patiently shaking away the sand, and then sifting for the insights that help their staff develop.
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