“Mentor and coach others whenever you can. Your teaching will deepen your own learning.”
– Lee J. Colan

Many advisors to seniors are reaching the twilight of our careers or can at least envision it on the horizon. Like our clients, many of us are wondering what we can do to give back to our profession, our clients and our society. Today’s new agents are increasingly being asked to do more with far less formal training and support. Given that mortality- and morbidity-based insurance marketing is difficult work, the unsurprising reality is that only one in 10 new professionals survives in our industry.

Therefore, the success of a new producer lies in quickly discovering how to develop effective communication techniques and approach quality prospective clients. The rewards of a one-on-one mentoring relationship surpass those of any formal group training. And, believe it or not, mentoring is as rewarding for the mentor as it is for the aspirant. A mentor has lived through the very situations an aspirant is going to encounter and is prepared to teach based on life experiences. Giving back is the heart of mentoring, remembering that good judgment comes from experience, but experience comes from bad judgment. Becoming a mentor can renew enthusiasm for one’s profession and expose one to new markets and ideas. More importantly, it can bring value and satisfaction to our personal lives.

Many of these rewards may seem intangible, but your contribution to the financial industry will prevail through the work of the aspirant whose life and career you’ve impacted. Mentoring can, in itself, serve as a valuable tool in your own succession planning. After all, who better to assume care for your clients upon your retirement than the aspirant whose skills you’ve helped nurture?

It has been noted that mentors’ production levels rise while they are helping an aspirant. So, whether you get involved in a formal mentoring capacity, through organizations such as MDRT, GAMA and NAIFA, or simply take a young colleague under your wing, I encourage you to help pass the torch to the next generation.

Philip E. Harriman, CLU, CHFC, 2007 president of the Million Dollar Round Table, is a partner with Lebel and Harriman LLP in Falmouth, Maine. Responses and questions can be sent to feedback@seniormarketadvisor.com.