FAR executive offers thoughts on business mentoring programs

The reverse mortgage lender’s VP of retirement strategy offers thoughts about ways to make mentoring work better in business to Investment News

Across all types of businesses, having more senior employees in any discipline take a younger professional under their proverbial wing seems like a powerful tool to allow a younger professional to hit the ground running in a new company or career path. This may not always be the reality, however, as underrepresented demographics in professional settings have remained underrepresented.

There may be other ways to make it work, according to a story in Investment News. One of the perspectives behind this conclusion comes from a reverse mortgage industry professional. Kellan Brown, VP of retirement strategies at Finance of America Reverse (FAR) shared some of her thoughts on developing better mentoring relationships that accomplish more of the goals related to elevating underrepresented professionals.

Kellan Brown, VP of business development and strategic partnerships at reverse mortgage lender Finance of America Reverse
Kellan Brown

Also contributing to the discussion was Jean Heath, managing director and head of the asset manager network at Envestnet Inc.

“The fatal flaw with mentoring, Heath and Brown said, is that it’s so commonly referenced that it has become almost meaningless,” the story reads. “What is a mentor anyway? A career coach? A boss who takes time to listen to you? A confidant who lets you weep on their shoulder?”

That lack of a standardized definition for what constitutes mentoring has led to different definitions of progress, but has also opened a new opportunity to try and reinvent the concept of mentoring inside certain businesses.

“Heath and Brown are doing just that, by centering mentoring around metrics and measurable results — the bull’s-eye that until now has been missing for the silver bullet,” the story reads.

The real key to a lasting mentor/mentee relationship is in making a good match between subordinates and leaders, according to Brown.

“Mentoring confusion is perpetuated when senior leaders who have had meaningful but loosely defined mentoring experiences try to simply replicate their own haphazard history,” the story reads based on Brown’s input. “Change the game by first defining the goals for different types of mentoring relationships, then engineering matches designed to achieve those goals, Brown said. Mentoring needs to have a focus, whether that’s helping the mentee develop specific skills, translate high potential to high achievement, or network across the enterprise, she said.”

This has led to the adoption of a matchmaking platform at FAR designed to find the right combinations of mentors and mentees, the story explains, an effort spearheaded by Brown. The platform also tracks data related to the pairing, including business activity and measurable results.

“Get the data on retention and turnover so you can see what works,” Brown told the outlet.

Read the story at Investment News.

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