Navigating the Future: The Rise of Mentorship in Financial Services

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Heidi is the COO and Co-Founder of Mentorloop. She shares her thoughts on the rise of mentorship in financial services organizations and why these companies and associations turn to mentoring programs to equip their teams for the challenges of their rapidly evolving industry.

Mentoring has always been a part of the corporate world. However, we often see it deployed to those deemed “high potentials” or left to people to self-organize. But this traditional, outdated approach appears to be changing. Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen an increase in companies from the financial services sector expressing an interest in setting up a more formalized approach to mentoring. This recent trend of seeking a more coordinated and scalable approach among financial services companies has led me to some internal reflection on what is driving this trend.

Industry Disruptions

No industry has been immune to the impacts of disruption over the past few years. Covid, wars, geopolitics, technological advances, and technological risk have all led to a more challenging and uncertain operating environment. 

But the banking and finance industry will likely have to accelerate and adapt more quickly than many other industries. An industry outlook conducted by Deloitte shows a number of issues that will make 2024 challenging for those working in the financial services industry:

  • A slowing global economy
  • Rising interest rates
  • Reduced money supply
  • Increased regulation
  • Climate change concerns
  • Geopolitical tensions
  • The pace of technological advances
  • Increased variability and number of competitors and competing financial products

Equipping Teams to Adapt

What all of this means is that the industry as a whole needs to invest – not just in innovation, but in its people. Financial services professionals will need a diverse set of both technical and soft skills to navigate uncertainty effectively. 

However, it will be the development of some key soft skills that will be particularly important. To take advantage of emerging AI technologies, organisational restructures and dynamic operating environments, employees who want to survive and thrive will need to develop a number of skills.


As the industry evolves, professionals working within it need to learn how to effectively navigate regulatory changes, technological advancements, market volatility, evolving customer expectations, globalization, and risk management challenges. 

Those who can quickly adjust their strategies, processes, and skills to meet changing demands are better equipped to remain competitive, seize opportunities, mitigate risks, and deliver value to clients. Learning this skill fosters resilience, innovation, and sustainable growth, positioning individuals and organizations for long-term success amidst constant change.

Critical Thinking

Due to the intricate nature of financial decisions and the dynamic environment in which professionals operate, the ability to analyze complex information, identify trends, and make informed decisions is crucial in navigating uncertain financial environments.

Professionals working in the financial services industry must critically analyze information, assess risks, evaluate alternatives, and make sound decisions. Continually honing their critical thinking skills enables them to identify patterns, anticipate potential outcomes, and weigh the implications of their actions, leading to more effective problem-solving, strategic planning, and risk mitigation.

Moreover, in an era of rapid technological advancement and data proliferation, critical thinking skills are vital for discerning relevant information from noise, leveraging data insights, and driving informed decision-making to achieve business objectives and deliver value.


This is a skill that’s indispensable in the banking and financial services industry. With the emergence of new technologies, evolving regulatory landscapes, and increasing competition, the ability to effectively identify, analyze, and solve problems has become a cornerstone skill. 

Professionals working in this industry, especially now, often encounter unexpected challenges. The ability to approach problems creatively and develop innovative solutions is essential. Whether addressing cybersecurity threats, optimizing investment strategies, or streamlining internal processes, proficient problem-solving skills empower professionals to innovate, adapt, and thrive in the dynamic and demanding environment of banking and financial services.

Risk Management

Understanding and managing risk is fundamental in the financial industry. Professionals must be able to assess risks accurately and implement strategies to mitigate them. Continuous improvement of how they identify, assess, and mitigate various types of risks, including credit risk, market risk, operational risk, and regulatory risk is essential for organizations to ensure the safeguarding of assets, preservation of capital, and maintenance of financial stability.

Data Analysis

With the increasing availability and variety of data, proficiency in data analysis tools and techniques is essential for making informed decisions and identifying opportunities in the market.

Digitalization and technological advancements are constantly reshaping business operations so professionals must harness the power of data to gain actionable insights, drive informed decision-making, and deliver superior financial services. 

From identifying market trends and customer preferences to optimizing investment portfolios and detecting fraudulent activities, proficient data analysis skills enable professionals to unlock hidden patterns, mitigate risks, and capitalize on opportunities. 

Moreover, with regulatory requirements emphasizing data-driven approaches to risk management and compliance, mastery of data analysis is critical for ensuring regulatory adherence and maintaining competitive advantage in an increasingly data-driven ecosystem.

Communication Skills

Effective communication is vital in every industry. But in financial services, effective communication is crucial for conveying complex financial concepts in a clear and comprehensible manner, whether it’s explaining investment strategies to clients or articulating regulatory requirements to stakeholders.

With financial products being increasingly complex and the need to build trust and rapport with customers and clients, financial professionals need the skills to build relationships and convey complex information clearly and persuasively.

Moreover, with the rise of remote work and virtual interactions, adept communication skills are essential for fostering collaboration, resolving conflicts, and maintaining strong client relationships across diverse channels and platforms.

Emotional Inttelligence

The ability to understand and manage emotions, both in oneself and others, is crucial for navigating uncertain situations and building strong relationships. It also plays a role in building strong client relationships, navigating high-pressure situations, and fostering effective teamwork.

Today, client trust and confidence are paramount in the financial services industry so professionals with high emotional intelligence can empathize with clients, understand their needs, and provide personalized solutions, leading to enhanced client satisfaction and loyalty. 

Additionally, in a fast-paced and stressful environment like the financial services industry is poised to be in 2024, individuals with strong emotional intelligence can effectively manage their own emotions and adapt to changing circumstances, promoting resilience and maintaining peak performance. 

Furthermore, emotional intelligence facilitates collaboration and conflict resolution within teams, driving productivity and innovation in an industry that relies heavily on collaboration and teamwork for success.

Tech Savvy

Rapid digital transformation is reshaping the financial services industry and as this continues, proficiency in relevant tools and platforms, such as data analytics software, trading algorithms, and digital banking systems, is increasingly important.

With the proliferation of fintech innovations, blockchain technology, artificial intelligence, and big data analytics, staying abreast of technological advancements is essential for remaining competitive and meeting evolving customer expectations. 

Tech-savvy professionals can leverage cutting-edge tools and platforms to streamline operations, enhance efficiency, and deliver innovative financial solutions tailored to the digital age. 

Moreover, with cybersecurity threats on the rise, proficiency in technology enables professionals to safeguard sensitive financial data and protect against cyberattacks, ensuring the integrity and security of financial systems.

Ethical Decision-Making

Ethical decision-making is of paramount importance for professionals in the banking and financial services industry due to the far-reaching consequences of their actions on individuals, businesses, and the economy as a whole.

With the potential for conflicts of interest and regulatory scrutiny, it is crucial to maintain trust and integrity in the financial services industry.

Amidst heightened scrutiny and public distrust following past financial crises and corporate scandals, ethical conduct is essential for rebuilding trust, maintaining regulatory compliance, and safeguarding the reputation and integrity of financial institutions. 

Ethical decision-making ensures that professionals prioritize the interests of clients, adhere to legal and regulatory requirements, and uphold principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability in all business dealings. 

By fostering a culture of integrity and ethical behaviour, professionals can mitigate reputational risks, strengthen stakeholder confidence, and contribute to a more stable and sustainable financial system that responsibly serves the needs of society.

A Scalable Solution to Skill and Knowledge Sharing

I understand that those are a lot of skills to build and that it’s a challenge for CHROs to find realistic, scalable, and implementable solutions with limited time and resources in a competitive labour market. Never mind finding solutions that can have a short turnaround time on payback.

That’s where mentorship in financial services organizations comes in. An organization-wide mentoring program is one of the most cost-effective L&D strategies you can implement that your people will embrace, while also providing a palatable way for people to learn the skills necessary for success in the financial services industry in a timely manner. Let’s talk about why.

Learning From Experience

Mentoring facilitates knowledge transfer and skill development in a practical, hands-on manner, allowing mentees to learn from the experiences and insights of seasoned professionals. 

Mentors typically have significant experience in the industry and can provide valuable insights and guidance based on their own experiences. They can share practical knowledge that cannot be found in textbooks, seminars, or formal training programs.

Timely, Real-World Examples

Mentors can illustrate abstract concepts with real-world examples from their own experiences, making it easier for mentees to understand and apply new skills in practical situations. These are things that can’t be learned in a textbook – it’s this experience that can become a competitive advantage.

And in an industry where challenges are anticipated from all fronts, these types of learning opportunities are more valuable than textbooks and training sessions.

Tailored Guidance and Support

Mentors can provide personalized guidance and support tailored to the specific needs and goals of mentees. This can accelerate the learning curve and help them navigate complex industry dynamics more effectively.

Besides, everyone needs more than just training materials. We all need an ally, someone in our corner. Mentoring provides this one-on-one connection within your organization that ignites respect, loyalty, and commitment.

Improve Psychological Safety

Mentoring relationships often involve regular and open communication between the mentor and mentee. This creates a safe space for mentees to express their thoughts, concerns, and questions without fear of judgment or repercussion. This improves morale, productivity, and belonging in the workplace – all critical to ensuring your teams are best prepared to face a challenging year. 

Conflict Resolution

During times of change and uncertainty, it’s inevitable that different people or teams will have several different ideas on how to resolve different challenges. Conflicts are inevitable in these circumstances and your teams need to be prepared to handle them.

Mentors can help mentees navigate conflicts and difficult situations in the workplace, guiding them on how to address issues constructively and maintain positive relationships with colleagues. This can help prevent conflicts from escalating and contribute to a more harmonious work environment.

Future Proofing

With mentors providing insight and guidance to mentees within your organizations, you enable your teams to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to evolving industry landscapes, enhancing the team’s resilience and agility. By building this culture of continuous learning and professional development, you also cultivate strong relationships and networks within the industry, fostering belonging and loyalty within teams and across the organization. 

But let’s not forget that this experience is also incredibly valuable for your senior leaders playing the role of mentor. It provides them with opportunities for leadership development, professional growth, networking, increased empathy, personal satisfaction, and the chance to learn from their mentees. This fosters an environment where they feel valued by the organization and its people, increasing feelings of belonging and loyalty for them as well.

All in all, mentoring programs ensure that bespoke industry knowledge is kept within your organization as well as keep your people motivated and happy to stay, despite challenging situations and a volatile industry environment.

My Final Thoughts

Now is the time to reflect on how you currently manage and offer mentorship in your financial services organization. As we move to a more skills-based workforce, where the traditional career pathway is not as clear, more of your people will be demanding and expecting opportunities to upskill and learn on the job. While it’s not the only solution, mentoring is going to play a foundational role in creating an environment where people are motivated to opt in and self-drive their own learning journeys.

I think it’s also time to rethink the role of managers vs leaders in this industry. With the adoption of more agile working environments, more people will be required to have leadership skills even where they might not necessarily be responsible for managing a team. There is no doubt that the most competitive, dynamic and popular places to work will have the best leaders in the future. People want to be inspired, challenged and led. They don’t want to simply be managed.

So maybe it’s time to rethink your current approach to mentoring. Even a quick question in your next pulse survey to measure the temp on how many people want mentoring – I’m sure you’ll be surprised that this is the one initiative that will resonate with people whether they are in back or front of office or leading the company from the top. 

Keen to start building a culture of mentoring in your financial services organization? Check out our webinar, ‘Mentoring on Financial Services: The Key to Building Future-Ready Teams in 2024.’

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Heidi Holmes
Heidi Holmes
Heidi is the COO and co-founder of Mentorloop. She’s passionate about making mentoring mainstream and 100% believes that the right connection can change your life. In her downtime, Heidi enjoys family time with her husband and 2 kids, along with her 3 legged Italian greyhound Eric and new additions Cupcake and Sprinkles.

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