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Mentoring for Success

A mentoring program can benefit new agents, seasoned pros and the agency.

By Tom Metcalf

A mentoring program is much more than pairing a new hire with an agent to make a few joint calls and learn by watching. If implemented correctly, such a program can help the new agent, the mentor and the agency. Here are some quick points on how all parties can benefit.

Benefits to new agents

  • Accelerated learning: Mentoring offers a learn-by-doing opportunity to new agents. It gives new agents the chance to learn in the real world rather than the classroom. Having experienced agents share their expertise places new agents on a faster learning curve as they learn to succeed from the pros.
  • Associated with the best: The mentor/new agent association allows the recruit to acquire the senior agent’s insights as well as his work ethic.
  • Self-paced learning: A mentor program takes trainees out of structured programs and allows them to learn at their own pace in an environment they can control.
  • Accelerated learning of back office operations: As part of a new agent’s on-the-job training, he should spend time in the back office. Again, practical hands-on experience accelerates the learning process.

Benefits to mentors

  • Revitalize a career: Becoming a mentor can force agents to review and relive the activities that got them to their current positions. In doing so, the mentor relationship can revitalize careers and lead to greater success.
  • Defuse resentment: A mentor program can avoid an “us versus them” attitude among senior agents who how have a stake in the success of new agents.

Benefits to the agency

  • Uniform standards: A mentor program can be used to foster uniform office standards. Since administration of the program will require setting policies, these can be used to ensure that all mentor/trainee teams are on the same page.
  • Building a team spirit: A successful mentor program can enhance office morale by promoting competition among teams. A friendly rivalry among training teams will help trainees reach their peak as quickly as possible.

These notes are excerpted from the article “Mentoring: The New Agent’s Fast Track,” by Tom Metcalf. It originally appeared in the January 1998 issue of Life Association News.

 


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