The career magic of mentoring

It’s easy to see the benefits of working with a mentor: guidance, camaraderie and connections both inside and outside of your organization, to name a few. It may be counterintuitive, but mentors often stand to gain even more than their mentees.

“Beyond the satisfaction of giving back, studies show that mentors improve their skills and competencies, gain valuable perspective and become more culturally competent, among other things,” said Lisa Z. Fain, CEO of the Center for Mentoring Excellence and an expert in the intersection of cultural competency and mentoring. “Mentoring for financial advisors at MDRT has a third win as well ― that of the industry,” she said. “Mentoring produces a greater sense of engagement, promotes innovation, enables the formation of a community and amplifies results.”

The mentoring process

Fain, who spoke at the 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting Virtual Event, sees the mentoring relationship as progressing through four phases. Fain said, “If you are looking to create measurable results in your mentoring relationship, these four phases are essential. What’s more, when mentoring relationships fizzle or bottom out, we can often point to the pairs skipping one or more of these phases. Note that the phases are sequential, but sometimes mentoring partners will go backward in the cycle and revisit a prior phase.”

Phase 1: Intention

Fain said, “This phase begins even before you meet your mentoring partner.” Both mentor and mentee should think through what they need from the relationship. Much like onboarding a new client, the mentor and mentee need time to see if the relationship is a good fit. As Fain noted, “When they begin meeting, they take the time to get to know each other and build safety and trust to share openly and create a safe learning environment.”

Phase 2: Negotiation

Once both parties determine that it’s a good fit, they define the relationship. “In this phase, mentoring partners co-create the terms of their mentoring relationship. They discuss the parameters and boundaries of their mentoring relationship, the ground rules for interacting and understanding how they will operate with confidentiality and the length of their mentoring relationship.”

Phase 3: Enabling growth

“Mentor and mentee establish mutually defined goals for the mentee’s learning and set about goal achievement,” Fain said. This is where the rubber meets the road. All the theory, planning, and negotiating are activated through the daily tasks of the mentee and the support of the mentor. This is where the dragons are fought. This is where the magic happens.

Phase 4: Closure

After the mentee reaches the goals they set out in the negotiation phase, it’s time to look back.

Fain noted, “At the conclusion of the relationship, the mentoring partners revisit their time together, celebrate their achievements, express appreciation, and determine whether and how they will move forward together.”

Get involved

Mentoring is a pillar of MDRT, and the online mentoring platform makes it easy to connect. Core offerings include traditional mentoring, which is member to nonmember, as well as peer mentoring for members mentoring fellow members. Learn more.

MDRT members can read more from Fain in her 2021 MDRT Annual Meeting Virtual Event Focus Session “Levelling up: Mentoring for continued career growth, satisfaction and success.” (MDRT member exclusive content)

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