By DOUG BENNETT
Many advisors are intimidated by the idea of mentoring another advisor. The pressure to succeed can seem higher when you are helping someone else find success in their own right. That said, our core mission in this industry is to ensure we help others prosper as a result of our good work. Whilst the paths may differ between advising our clients and mentoring our peers, that end goal is similar.
With the right mindset and proper preparation, you can pass on valuable insight and wisdom to an enthusiastic recipient. You may even find that, just as you can change your clients’ lives, you’ll feel fulfilled by positively affecting a fellow advisor’s career path.
Lead By Example
The best mentors consistently invest time into teaching others, possess a drive for success, demonstrate empathy and hold themselves to high professional and personal ethical standards. A good mentee also exhibits these traits and seeks them in their mentor. These qualities will help you connect with your mentees, establish your credibility as a teacher and set the best example to follow. Having a mentee can motivate advisors to make progress on their own personal and professional goals too.
Two advisors can even find themselves mentoring each other, which can encourage a great amount of growth in both individuals. With this in mind, an openness and willingness to learn, even as a teacher, can build a stronger relationship and inspire that same openness in return.
Whilst several personal and professional traits can help mentors better relate to mentees, there is no minimum amount of experience that a mentor needs to successfully serve in their role – nor is there a maximum that a mentee can have. Mentors simply need to maintain a certain amount of experience over their mentees to offer valuable advice. For example, an advisor who’s worked for 30 years can mentor one who’s worked for 15. That 15-year advisor can mentor a 5-year advisor, and that 5-year advisor can mentor a 2-year advisor.
Forming A Relationship
To find a mentee seeking guidance, go to the places where you found it. As you started your career, you met more experienced colleagues at networking events, conferences and your firm. You may have had a couple of conversations with them where they gave you tips on how to navigate the business. Encounters and conversations like these are the building blocks of mentor-mentee relationships. An advisor who seeks mentorship should follow up on these conversations to see if there is potential for a stronger relationship and a more formal mentorship over time.
It’s important to make time to connect one-on-one with your mentees. Depending on your location, frequent in person conversations may be too difficult to arrange, so use programs like Zoom or Messenger, or schedule recurring phone calls. This may be necessary if, like me, you meet a mentee who lives on the opposite side of the world from you at an advisor conference. The frequency of communications will vary based on each relationship, but I have spoken anywhere between weekly and monthly with the advisors I have mentored. No matter how far away your mentee lives, meet with them in-person at least once after those initial face-to-face conversations to help solidify relationships that operate primarily in the digital sphere.
Each mentee will need guidance on different topics which are relevant to them, however a few topics have come up regularly with my mentees just starting their careers, including prospecting, sales, closing and building relationships with clients. Mentees who have practised longer and are at a different stage of their career may ask about staffing or partnering with other advisors. In giving advice on these and other topics, we can pass down knowledge other advisors have gifted us with, along with the tips we have picked up ourselves over the years.
Mentoring another advisor can be one of the greatest joys of your career. Advisors who mentor others can uncover new friendships, pass on valuable skillsets and change the lives of their mentees, leaving a memorable legacy beyond their own achievements.
Doug Bennett, DipPFS, has been arranging mortgages for over 30 years, and since the global financial crisis in 2007, has transitioned his business to cover all aspects of financial services, including Wealth Management and Lifestyle Financial Planning. He has mentored a total of 15 other advisors. Doug also runs and advises in a business which provides Wills and Trusts for his larger clients. He is a 12-year member of MDRT, with 5 Court of the Table qualifications. Doug is the Chair of the Board of Trustees for a small local charity and is married to Bonnie (they celebrate their 20 year anniversary in 2020). They live in Crawley, West Sussex, United Kingdom.