The power of mentoring

02 May 2017

At any stage of your insurance career, mentoring can be a very useful experience, whether you are a mentor or the one being mentored. MDRT member Elaine Milne, Dip PFS, discusses in a recent MDRT post how being a mentor makes you better at your job, even as you are helping your mentee.

A few years ago, a colleague offered to coach Ms Milne on a regular basis. While she expressed surprise in her gratefulness that he would be able to offer his time amid his busy schedule, he explained, “If I give you something, I want to be the best you can be in order for you to benefit.”

In this way, mentoring is a two-way street beneficial to both sides, says Ms Milne. The 30-minute phone call she has every month with her mentor has made a huge difference to her practice.

“Sometimes you feel not deserving of someone else’s time. You think that someone else is too busy, but understanding that he got something out of that mentoring process allowed me to accept that time, as it would help me as well as him,” she says.

The accountability and regular communication also help the process. “It’s easy when you're accountable (only) to yourself to veer off track from the goals you set, but when you have a call in your diary, you know that particular task you said you would achieve by a particular time, someone’s going to check on you—that makes it so much more likely that you’ll put yourself out there to achieve that goal,” Ms Milne adds.

At a recent event in Singapore, Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale talked about how she benefits from “reverse mentoring” from junior staff who provide her with insights on their generation’s perspective, which has helped her to understand them better—for example, their need for variety as they get bored more easily—and how to retain such young talent.

Be it mentor or mentee, and whether senior or junior staff in the mentorship, both sides can benefit. So do offer your time and experience, and if you are in need of guidance, don’t be shy in seeking it as you will also provide your mentor with useful lessons.

The MDRT post on Ms Elaine Milne can be found here.