As a new-to-industry broker, mentoring is compulsory if you’re a loan-writing MFAA member in the first two years of your career, and have little or no loan writing experience.

Here's a guide (download here) to help you make the right decisions in regards to mentoring, and make the most of this beneficial initiative.

What is Mentoring?

Mentoring is most often described as a professional relationship in which an experienced broker (the mentor) partners with, and assists, a new-to-industry broker (the mentee) to develop and grow their broking, business and personal knowledge, skills and abilities. Areas covered through mentoring usually include:

Explaining the practical side of loan writing.
Helping a new broker to write more complex loans and to understand associated processes.
Assisting with the issues involved in gaining new business or widening their network.
Aiding the management of the pressures of staring out on your own.
Helping a new broker quickly understand the culture of the industry and build awareness of how both informal and formal networks and relationships can help.
Providing a commitment to support the mentee and provide opportunities for growth.

Throughout the mentoring program, such as when you are to renew your annual MFAA membership, the mentor is required to confirm with the MFAA that mentoring is progressing satisfactorily.

The MFAA’s analysis shows that through a successful mentoring program, the mentee's chances of establishing themselves and succeeding as a broker are drastically increased.

If you’re a loan-writing MFAA member in the first two years of your career and have little or no loan writing experience, it is compulsory to get experience through an appropriate mentoring program.

Where can I get a mentor from?

There are many ways you can find a quality mentor. You can find a mentor independently through your own research or via the list of accredited MFAA mentors found here.

If you are working in a broking business, one of the senior employees may be available to mentor you. They need to be appropriately qualified to do so (see the 'What experience should mentors have?' section for more).

Your aggregator may also offer mentoring programs that you could take advantage of.

Another option is via The MFAA Mentoring Program, run in partnership with the Institute of Strategic Management (ISM), a 2-year passbook course (subject to fast-tracking).

What experience should mentors have?

To be recognised as a mentor by the MFAA, mentors will need to be MFAA members, and have either four years of experience as a loan writer (residential or equipment/general business), or will need to have written 50-plus successful loans or finance applications.

What knowledge, skills and abilities should I gain from completing a mentoring program?

It's the mentor's primary job to support you as a finance broker until you've achieved a minimum of two years loan writing experience.

As well as the areas listed in 'What is mentoring?', by being mentored you should also develop your proficiency in a range of other key mortgage broking and business tasks including: how to develop a business plan, how to advertise and market, how to diversify your service offering to clients, how to extend client relationships, how to conduct home loan interviews, how to manage client records, and how to compare different home loan products.

The mentor should also help you develop personally, improving your problem-solving abilities, increasing your confidence and self-esteem, improving your interpersonal and relationship building skills, and building your resilience.

A quality mentor should be able explain the outcomes of their program to you and how they will help you achieve them.

How much does mentoring cost?

In short, there's no set price for mentoring. It depends on how you find your mentor and the fees they have decided to charge, or the type of structured program you take, such as The MFAA Mentoring Program.

Theoretically, a mentor can offer you their services for free if they like. Independent mentors will usually set their own up-front or ongoing fixed price. Independent mentors could even offer you the option to pay them a percentage of your earnings for a period during, and sometimes after, mentoring is complete. The arrangement should be fair to both mentor and mentee.

If you undertake The MFAA Mentoring Program, it's a $800 (plus GST) enrolment fee (as on January 2018), plus any additional administration or resource costs that the allocated mentor may charge.

Can I change mentors mid-program?

Yes, you can change mentors mid-program.

If this is something you would like to pursue we recommend getting in touch with your state's MFAA Business Development Manager to discuss your situation and to help you through the process. Information about any mentor changes will then need to be passed on to the MFAA Member Services Team.

What qualities make for a good mentor?

Finding a good mentor means finding one that is the right fit for you. They need to fit with your circumstances, your knowledge level, your personality and your learning style, to name a few.

Generally, a good mentor has the following qualities:

Respect and consideration for you, the mentee.
A high level of expertise and knowledge of mortgage broking.
A high level of expertise and knowledge in business administration.
A genuine interest in the growth and development of the mentee.
A commitment to the mentoring program.
Highly developed communication skills, such as listening, questioning and giving constructive feedback.
Commitment to enhancement of the industry and its standards as a whole

How can I make sure we're going to work well together?

You can play a big role in ensuring the mentoring relationship will give you the best outcomes possible.

Some of the things you can do to be a good mentee, and get the best out of your mentor include:

Proactively organising regular and frequent sessions with your mentor.
Committing to the mentoring program and going above-and-beyond where possible.
Taking the lead in being responsibile for your own personal and professional development.
Seeking regular, constructive feedback.
Actively seeking and accepting new responsibilities and challenges.

What are the warning signs of a poor mentor that I should look out for?

Sometimes a mentor may not be the right fit for you.

The strength of a mentoring relationship and the successful outcomes it produces are as reliant on the quality of the relationship and your 'fit' with the mentor as any other element of the mentoring program.

Some warning signs of an unproductive mentoring relationship to look out for include:

A lack of mentor's time and commitment to devote to your development.
The mentor lacks seemingly basic knowledge and expertise.
There is an obvious personality mismatch.
Your mentor is overly critical, is out of touch, or lacks an understanding of your level of knowledge.
A lack of mentor support, encouragement or interest.
The relationship is emotionally draining or stressful.

Q. Should my mentoring arrangement be in writing?

The MFAA holds the view that it is in the interests of both the mentee and the mentor to have a written agreement in place that clearly states the parameters of the mentoring process and what the mentoring process will require and will deliver particularly if any payment is involved.

The agreement’s terms should show who the parties are (that is the name and contact details of both the mentor and the mentee), it should outline relevant timelines, attendance and expectations, it should detail what will be delivered and in what circumstances and state what both the mentor and mentee should do to achieve the expected outcomes. It should also clearly show the date and signatures of both parties as well as what is required, should it become necessary, to dissolve the arrangement fairly. Any cost should also be clearly disclosed.

If you have any questions or concerns about participating in mentoring, or your mentor, don't hesitate to get in contact with your MFAA state Business Development Manager.