I have been fortunate to have a number of mentors and role models in my life – experienced people who helped guide me through difficult decisions and meaningful outcomes. What I didn’t expect is that being a mentor would change my life just as profoundly. In many ways, these impressive individuals (many of whom are millennials) are my mentors and role models, as well.
Influential mentorship has grown into a formal opportunity for us all at FS Investments. What originally began as a way to coach and inspire our younger employees has become a foundation for the success of our people. This process of mutual help and growth is a powerful and personal experience for me. Being a mentor has taught me more than I ever expected. In fact, I may get more out of those one-on-one meetings than my mentees.
Here are some benefits of mentoring:
- True and honest transparency: It’s impossible to know what the challenges are for someone in accounting or what it’s like to work in client services. But leaders are only effective when they understand their clients’ needs and how these are being met. Mentoring allows me to get closer to the front line.
- What’s broken and what you should leverage: Do you have any barriers to growth? Organizationally, could you be more efficient? I am able to identify opportunities for improvement from people around the company.
- Self-awareness and edge: You hear a lot about “reverse mentoring” these days. Are your employees tech-savvy? Do they understand new products? New markets? My mentoring relationships give me insights that help directionally guide the company into new ventures.
Throughout my career, I have witnessed some very smart people make some very poor career decisions. I have always wondered, if they had had someone to speak to, would that decision have changed? For mentees, receiving feedback from colleagues you respect and admire can be invaluable. It can help employees avoid common mistakes and can guide them through the ups and downs of their careers.
Our mentorship program is a voluntary one-year commitment. But, the commitment part is key! At FS Investments, we expect our employees to be awash in drive, grit and gratitude. Our people are extraordinary. I really believe that. It’s my goal to give them a place where they can grow personally and succeed professionally and, most importantly, meet the needs of our clients.
In mentoring, it’s gratifying to share knowledge and experience, but there’s so much more. It transforms the way we partner with our clients, understand their needs and learn from them. It changes the way we approach being innovators, solutions providers, educators and partners. Providing opportunity for professional development and coaching is a priority for all of us at FS Investments, and we provide the tools for our teams to remain focused and empowered.
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