MDRT members share insights about the mentor-mentee relationship.
- Five-year MDRT member Brenton D. Harrison spent years trying to spend time working with attorneys, even though his mentor, 27-year MDRT member and eight-time Top of the Table qualifier Marcus T. Henderson Sr., LUTCF, said attorneys didn’t mesh with Harrison’s personality. Eventually, the mentee got the message. “He saves me from myself,” Harrison said. “You have to be very attuned to your personality, who you work well with, so you don’t end up wasting your time and working with people you don’t enjoy being around.”
- The foundation of the relationship is common values, said 20-year MDRT member and six-time Court of the Table qualifier Donna Kratzenberg, CFP, CLU. “You can have very different ideas, but the values, the ethics, are important. And since we often spend more time at work than we do at home with our families, that relationship has to be one of respect for each other.”
- There needs to be synergy in a mentor-mentee relationship. “It’s not just a list of steps,” said one-year MDRT member and mentee Linda Grant-Smith, CFP, AIF. “Kind of like a coach. Some coaches really know how to deal with their players and get into their mindset and help them improve. And others just show up and yell.”
- Mentors and mentees should have close proximity to each other if possible. “The further someone is from you, the more perfect they seem,” Henderson said. “Because you don’t see their weaknesses. The closer you get, you see, ‘OK, that person is normal, just like me. So if he can do it, I can do it.’”
- People often wonder how they will ever acquire the knowledge their mentors possess. But everyone always has new things to learn. “The new people are looking and commenting the same way that I used to, that they never believe they’ll be where I am,” Kratzenberg said. “But they’re actually learning more quickly than I did because it’s a more complex world today. There are more tools available to them today, and I think truly that they will be where I am in half the time it took me, which is thrilling.”
Read more about mentoring on MDRT’s Resource Zone.