Access to experience and knowledge through mentoring can increases the likelihood that new financial advisors will succeed. Nevertheless, some mentoring relationships flourish, while others aren’t as successful. Creating successful mentoring relationships involves two important elements.

Different Wiring, Different Dynamics
First, as human beings, we all have different wiring – different orientations toward life and work. A cookie cutter approach to coaching doesn’t work. Measuring and understanding individual strengths is essential. Sometimes, experienced advisors coach new advisors to do things their way, without considering differences in skills and approach.

For example, a veteran with decades of industry experience may have built his or her practice by taking big risks. This might have included lots of cold calling and aggressively networking — all while possessing a natural ability to tolerate rejection. Coaching a more risk-averse junior advisor to do things the very same way could cause considerable strain and decrease the likelihood that the inexperienced FA will find success.

The way new clients are acquired today is very different from previous decades ago. The advent of digital communication, combined with changes in the regulatory environment, has changed the prospecting game considerably.

It’s important to remember that not all team members have to be the same. We often surround ourselves with people like us because it seems more normal and easier to operate. However, it takes diverse personalities and skills to build a more highly functioning team. A firm’s potential for success increases when it understands what a colleague is good at and puts that person in a role where they’re more likely to do well.

Galvanizing the Group
The second key element of successful team building involves motivation. Team leaders have to understand what inspires people. While every team needs a mission, what drives one colleague won’t necessarily appeal to another. In addition to motivating the group, team leaders should help team members discover how to use their talents in ways that will help the team reach its potential. Firms who balance the two inspire both the team and its member motivation increases their chances of success.

The financial advice industry is making a necessary transition, one that will help it attract and retain a new generation of professionals. While change isn’t easy, it is necessary and worthwhile.

There are numerous resources available to financial advisory practices looking to learn more about implementing a mentorship framework into their business operations. The Harvard Business Essentials text Coaching and Mentoring: How to Develop Top Talent and Achieve Stronger Performance serves as a useful primer to the subject. In addition, Mastering, Mentoring and Coaching with Emotional Intelligence by Patrick E. Merlevede and Denis Bridoux offers valuable insight into how to utilize questionnaires to effectively assess skills.

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