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.