By Brian Heckert
Most seasoned advisors can recall times they have sought to grow their knowledge, change their business model or expand their services.
For those who have successfully established their practice or developed specialized expertise, becoming a mentor to those still sharpening their skills can be a rewarding experience.
Becoming a mentor positively impacts the entire financial profession, as a successful mentor-mentee relationship provides a space in which both advisors can grow together in their financial knowledge. After ensuring you have the time to commit to guiding someone else and are doing so for selfless reasons, seek out those who could benefit from your expertise.
The Mentor-Mentee Relationship
Many advisors, new and seasoned, are looking for a mentor to help guide them into the next step of their career. No matter how much success you’ve achieved, there is always potential to reach the next level in your expertise.
Once I began rising in the leadership ranks of MDRT, I developed an informal relationship with my own mentor who provided me with opportunities to share ideas and create a basis for my growth in the organization.
When looking for advisors to mentor, MDRT is a great resource for connecting with potential mentees. Reaching out to your already-established network of peers can also be a source of connection with potential mentees, as simply making it known that you’d like to share your knowledge can encourage other advisors to seek your advice.
For the strongest relationships, consider some of the potential mentee’s qualities. Those who demonstrate self-guidance and follow-through, for example, will be more likely to act on and benefit from your advice, and may even share your knowledge with their own peers to continue the cycle of ideas.
There are many definitions of what a mentor relationship is, so discover what your personal experience will look like by identifying expectations with your mentee early on. Find out your mentee’s “why” – why are they interested in you as a mentor and what do they hope to gain through the relationship?
Setting these guidelines from the beginning ensures neither of you will walk away from the experience feeling unsatisfied or disappointed.
Meeting Mentorship Expectations
The same trust that forms the foundation of strong and satisfying client relationships can apply to mentor/mentee relationships, too. A mentee will get very little from meetings when their mentor does most of the talking, so allow them to set the agenda each time you meet.
Asking questions and allowing them to speak their mind will help guide your mentee to understand where they can improve their skills.
As you may have periods of time where you don’t speak with your mentee, always take notes during your meetings and reinforce the topics you’ve previously discussed together. Check in on how their skills are progressing and ensure they don’t have any lingering questions from previous meetings.
Continue to refer to your mentee’s “why” and confirm it is being addressed.
Always remain open with your mentees and acknowledge that you may learn just as much from them as they learn from you. One of the best ways to expand your own knowledge base is through mentoring international advisors.
Those who have experience outside of your own geographical realm can provide great opportunities to learn more about varying regulations, cultural norms and business standards.
Not every advisor has a Western mentality and understanding how other areas of the world operate in the financial industry can open doors to new information and ideas you may never have considered.
Even the most successful and experienced advisors can learn more about different aspects of the financial industry and continue to grow. I have found that surrounding myself with those who can help me expand my knowledge allows me to continually become a better advisor and a happier person.
The best mentors are those who understand the benefits and personal impact of relationships rooted in mutual growth.
About the Author
Brian Heckert is 33-year member and past president of MDRT with seven Court of the Table and 13 Top of the Table honors. Heckert is the founder and a managing member of FSM Wealth, Inc. with an expertise in retirement plan administration and business planning. He is based in Nashville, Illinois. By joining and engaging with industry peers via associations like MDRT, you can keep your skills at the top of their game.