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Taking initiative when it comes to mentoring, and ultimately your career, is crucial, according to FTI Consulting Corporate Finance & Restructuring Director Rob Beaumont.
Rob - who has almost a decade of experience in financial consulting has had more than half a dozen different workplace mentors over the course of his career, and a similar number outside the "office" environment - says: “We all need to own our own career trajectory. The onus is on the individual to seek out mentors to assist with developing career goals and objectives.”
“It is so important, especially in the early stages of one’s career, because of how crucial mentoring is to career progression and making the most of learning and development opportunities to upskill.
The pandemic has created a paradigm shift towards a degree of remote networking and mentoring not seen before, which can make developing these relationships more difficult.
“Younger professionals who want to take those next steps in their career need to be more accountable to themselves and their mentors than ever. In our new patterns of work, be it at-home or flexible working, proactive goal setting and building out a professional network shouldn’t be overlooked. As cliché as a “virtual coffee” is, taking that extra 30 minutes out of your week to meet with that person or those people - whether it's within your organisation or externally - can really make a progressive difference over both the short and the long term.
“Most organisations have that mentoring or coaching framework in place to support and guide your goals and objectives. However, I think if you really want to take that extra step for your career development, then it really falls on you to make the effort.
“I've got some great mentors at FTI Consulting that provide me with opportunities to progress my career within the FTI framework. In saying that, I also have a number of people outside of my in-house network, and not even necessarily in the same field, who I can defer to for additional guidance that may not be limited to objectives specific to my line of work. I’ll confide in these “informal” mentors to discuss other opportunities that may also benefit my career – this may include canvassing ideas to progress additional education, or to make new industry connections.
“Having that secondary relationship really promotes an extra level of self-motivation and accountability and can open doors you didn’t know existed.
As the job market becomes more competitive in light of “The Great Resignation” and organisations continue to seek out high-skilled individuals, many industry professionals are continuing to upskill to differentiate themselves from their peers.
“For me - from an educational perspective - if I want to learn more about technology for example, which in my view will significantly disrupt the broader financial markets in the next decade, then there are a number of industry experts and resources at FTI Consulting that I can reach out to. However, I can also utilise my broader professional network, and that of others I know who may be connected to different parts of the industry, to supplement what I can obtain from within my organisation.
“Even if I do have to reach outside of my broader network, which may be two or three steps removed from those I do know, making a concerted effort to learn more about something that will undoubtedly shape the way we do business in the future can only be beneficial.
“FINSIA is ideal in the sense that there is this great cross-section of individuals that you can find in one place.
“FINSIA provides so many great opportunities to leverage the depth and breadth of its industry professionals that have ties to other market sectors and subsectors. The mentorship a FINSIA membership provides can align you with thought leaders and respected industry professionals, and the networking provide an opportunity to build out your network.
“Similarly, there are various professional development opportunities through the Chartered Bankers course or other qualifications that FINSIA offers, that can add value to one’s career.
Rob emphasises that setting milestone meetings with mentors on a regular basis is essential to managing your individual expectations, to benchmark the progress of objectives and ensuring there is no oversight of key targets.
“For mentors within my organisation, I aim to catch up every two to four weeks. This allows me to regularly monitor progress on ongoing projects and receive relevant feedback that I can incorporate into my day-to-day work. However, when it comes to informal or external mentors, this might be a check-in every six to 12 months, to give them an idea of how work is going and use them as a soundboard for big-picture career objectives.
“Having experienced and capable mentors, inside your organisation and out, to defer to provides enormous value for a young professional that wants to map out their career objectives and put in place a best-practice strategy to work towards those goals.”