News / Article

Being the brains trust for new brokers

Debbie Hutchings, REFS Australia

With a passion for helping others, this industry stalwart says being a mentor is her way of passing on the skills she’s acquired over 30 years in the financial services industry.

Deb Hutchings is a mentor and founder of mentoring provider REFS Australia. Deb started her career at age 23 as a bank manager before transitioning to the third-party channel including owning two mortgage broking businesses.

“Finance is something that I've always been in,” she said.

“I really wanted to contribute, giving someone the opportunity to learn some of the skills that I’ve acquired over my time that I can pass on to ensure they can grow successfully.”

Deb began mentoring in previous organisations, before launching REFS Australia and becoming a full-time mentor.

All REFS Australia mentors, and the REFS Australia program, are endorsed by the MFAA as meeting the requirements of the MFAA Mentoring Standards.

According to Deb, new brokers looking for a mentor want to know that the person they're dealing with is professional and competent and has gone through some sort of process to ensure that they're qualified sufficiently to be able to help them. And, MFAA endorsement has lifted that standard.

“Even knowing and using that word – endorsement – is a really good strategy for ensuring that their understanding of the requirements and the standards that mentors need to go through in order to bring on someone new to industry and take them through their own journey,” she said.

For Deb mentoring is about being a brain's trust for a new broker, but not doing the work for the mentee.

“So, it's someone who's walked their path, someone who understands exactly what they're going through,” explains Deb

“But, I think like any good teacher, trainer, or support person, mentoring is about listening, understanding and guiding, but not necessarily doing it for them.”

Choosing the right mentor and mentoring program is key for new brokers and Deb’s advice is that it’s all about finding the right fit.

“The personality type of the mentor, finding someone that is going to be your first port of call that you can talk to, that you can communicate with effectively, and that can teach you what it is you want out of the mentoring program,” Deb explains.

Similarly for an experienced broker thinking about becoming a mentor themselves, Deb says it's important that they come in with an open, fresh mind and know that mentoring is about helping and guiding new brokers.

“So, rather than coming in and thinking it's just a mandatory requirement, put your thoughts around how wonderful it is to support your mentees,” says Deb.

“To be that person they can lean on as someone who's walked their path, or just simply knows and understands what they're going to go through as a mortgage broker and a business owner on a day-to-day basis.”

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