Jan 19 2024
Debunking mentoring myths
Mentoring plays a pivotal role in shaping the next generation of financial advisors. Three MDRT members from the Philippines debunk mentoring myths that hinder growth and improvement.
Myth: Mentoring is a one-way street
Truth: Mentoring is a two-way street
Having had a mentor with a challenging demeanor, James Alomajan Peralta, a ten-year MDRT member from Makati City, Philippines, points out that others find it hard to appreciate the concept of mentoring. “For some mentees, if the mentor is too tough, they easily lose excitement. They get scared rather than become motivated,”
While there is a preconceived notion that the mentor dictates the state of a mentoring relationship, Peralta learned it is a two-way street. His goal of achieving MDRT status made him more open to the dynamics of a mentor-mentee relationship.
For him, mentees should be understanding of their mentors and be receptive. “Mentees should be open and listen attentively. They will only see improvements if they act upon the advice and practice accountability.”
As a deeper relationship with his first mentor developed, Peralta realized how his mentor had become his accountability partner, constant companion, number one supporter, and source of new perspectives. He values his mentor's suggestions in tackling client situations and dealing with their financial concerns. “There’s always value in having someone else look at the same problem as they may have other ideas on how to solve it.”
Peralta views financial advising as a profession where people root for everyone’s success. Therefore, newer MDRT members must find mentors who challenge them to be better. “We must put their suggestions into practice right away,” he says. When the time comes, mentees should also aspire to pay it forward by becoming influential mentors for the next generation of financial advisors.
Myth: Mentors are older and experienced individuals
Truth: Mentors are both young and old
Traditionally, it is believed a mentor should be older than the mentee. However, the dynamics are evolving as the effectiveness of mentorship hinges on both parties’ experiences and learnings.
Pauline Casingal, a one-year MDRT member from Makati City, Philippines, shared that some resist receiving advice from a younger mentor as the assumption is that older mentors possess more knowledge. “Mentors and mentees have unique experiences from which the other party can profit. We must humble ourselves to learn from others regardless of their age and background."
In Casingal’s case, older advisors seek her advice, which she suspects is due to her positive energy, unique insights, and warm attitude. “They must be comfortable with you. I think they respond to my cheerful disposition,” she says.
In addition, she makes it a point to meet her mentors and mentees face to face, no matter the traffic situation. Through in-person meetings, she can better understand their points of view and concerns and believes her proactive approach strengthens their bond, demonstrating the importance of personalized and dedicated mentorship.
Debunking traditional norms creates a more dynamic collaboration that harnesses the collective wisdom of mentors and mentees.
Myth: You should only have one mentor
Truth: Don't limit yourself to only one mentor
Cedrick Cruz, a one-year MDRT member from Mandaluyong City, Philippines, believes in the saying, “No one has the monopoly of knowledge.” Contrary to the traditional practice of focusing on one mentoring relationship, financial advisors should embrace having multiple mentors for different purposes and goals. “You can have a mentor who guides you in becoming an MDRT member, another who can help you be an effective unit manager, and others who are experts in specific practices you want to learn and master.”
Cruz considers some of his clients mentors because of the learnings they impart to him. For example, he has a client who is a Vice President for Marketing whom he considers his life and marketing practices mentor and serves as his guide in handling and assessing the needs of high-net-worth clients. “You can find mentors outside of your professional network, as long as you learn techniques and tips from them that you can apply in your work.”
In addition, Cruz values having life mentors outside the industry, such as his church’s priest, who helps him answer existential questions and process his emotions, which he finds beneficial when dealing with clients as he values building personal connections.
For him, mentors and mentees should have an expansive view of their relationships to create more meaningful connections, regardless of affiliation. “I have mentors I consider as mother figures and best friends.”
In choosing mentors, Cruz shares three things financial advisors must consider. First, they should define the skills that they want to acquire. Second, they should assess whether their mentorship goals align with the potential mentor’s expertise and skill set. Third, they should determine the compatibility of their values and personalities. “Ultimately, you must find a mentor who helps you grow and shares the values you hold dear, make an effort to build a deep connection with them, and share your wins and losses with them.”