Luke Holloway explains how the new e-mentoring service from the PFS and CII can help you on your professional journey
Whether you are looking to learn and develop during the earlier stages of your career or want to share the knowledge and skills you have built along the way, mentoring can be an invaluable asset to a personal finance professional.
A good mentor can bring objectivity to a mentee’s work, offer unique guidance and experience, as well as act as a positive role model. In return, a mentee can widen the mentor’s perspective, improve their leadership and management skills, and help them gain knowledge in new areas.
Both mentor and mentee can progress, gain a valuable professional relationship and a huge sense of achievement.
Connect is the new e-mentoring programme from the PFS and Chartered Insurance Institute that makes it easy for members to decide the best way to establish and progress their mentoring relationship.
By answering a series of questions about their skills and needs on the Connect website, members can find the right match, decide on specific learning objectives and choose whether to meet in person, talk over Skype or simply exchange emails.
Chartered financial planner and member of the PFS’s Financial Planning Practitioner Panel, Alasdair Walker, has used the platform as both a mentor and mentee.
He said: “It is really hard to overstate how important I think mentoring is. I advise any personal finance professional to do it. It can be difficult for people to find mentors outside of their organisation but Connect is full of professionals that not only have the experience you could need but have also put up a signal saying: ‘I am willing to help you.’
“You can therefore approach mentoring with the confidence that the other person has the same enthusiasm you do.”
Achieve your goals
As someone looking for a mentor, the Connect website allows you to familiarise yourself with the programme via a series of helpful articles and videos.
When you are ready, Connect will enable you to tailor your search to find a suitable mentor, who will help you achieve specific career and personal development goals.
You can decide the areas of knowledge that match your skills and experience, and then keep in touch, set up meetings and devise plans of action with interactive tools.
Adam Owen, president of the PFS, has found mentoring to be a vital asset throughout his career. He said: “The great thing about the adviser community is that people are very keen to share their experience.
“Connect gives people the opportunity to do that in an environment that is moderated and offers a platform for people to find the right person at the right time for their professional needs.
“The platform offers a gentle introduction, the opportunity for both parties to make a decision as to whether they are right for each other, and then a process that takes you through step by step to the point at which you can reach a conclusion. People can commit for a period of time that is right for them.”
Mr Walker continued: “Most people will feel that their manager is their mentor, but there is huge value in getting outside the business and finding someone external that can give you guidance and challenge views in a way that someone internal simply cannot.
“In my experience, a good mentor can really help further your career. Mentoring should be a transfer of skills and knowledge from the right person to you. You are tapping into other people’s experiences that you may not have had access to, in order to provide solutions to things going on in your life.
“The Connect profile tools are excellent and the platform has a huge range of professionals on there. I have been both a mentor and a mentee with Connect and have found both hugely valuable. You gain a new perspective, build your network and it has a positive impact on your career and you personally.”
You can register with Connect in just a few simple steps with your PFS membership details and it may also contribute to your structured continuing professional development, depending on your learning objectives.
Mr Owen concluded: “The Connect community is growing all the time, so there are opportunities to engage and then re-engage at a later time.
“Someone I mentored early this year through Connect now wants guidance in a separate area, so they can revisit the platform and find someone different to help them with new challenges.
“Having the Connect platform means you know that everybody who is on there has a real level of engagement, wants to offer their support and build what will hopefully be a valuable professional relationship.”
To find out more, visit: pfs.org/connect
Luke Holloway is editor of the CII
How connect works
1. Registration – takes no more than two minutes.
2. Complete your profile – this will help you find the most suitable match.
3. Wait to be contacted – or if you’re a mentee, start connecting with mentors.