Free mentoring programs devalue the mentor and mentee

by Julia Corderoy18 Jan 2016
Free mentoring programs devalue the mentor and don't guarantee the full scope of training for a mentee, an ex-broker and the founder of an MFAA and FBAA approved mentoring program has argued.

Karen Hambleton-O’Grady, principal mentor and founder of fee-for-service mentoring and professional development company, Simply Mentoring, told Australian Broker that free mentoring programs lack the structured approach that fee-for-service programs offer. 

Hambleton-O’Grady’s comments come after the chief executive of Outsource Financial, Tanya Sale, told Australian Broker in a video interview that fee-for-service mentoring programs are delivering no outcomes for the cost new brokers have to pay.

However, according to Hambleton-O’Grady, free mentoring programs are not viable in the modern mortgage broking industry. 

“Once upon a time somebody would take you into their business and they would mentor you but mostly it was because the people that would come into your business would have some lending experience working at a particular lender and the mentoring they needed was small,” she told Australian Broker

“Whereas now we are attracting people who have never worked in a bank or maybe have never even walked into a bank given the technology today. They are genuinely interested in the sale of mortgages. We are attracting sales people to the industry, because we are in sales and not finance, so those people need a full mentoring package. 

“A busy broker cannot spend the time with someone who has very little knowledge base. It needs to be a structured approach.”

Free mentoring actually ends up devaluing the mentor, says Hambleton-O’Grady.

“I think [free mentoring] devalues the broker who is delivering it. Everyone should have a value on their time and if you don’t have a value on your time then all you will end up with is time-takers. People will be taking your time and not be giving anything back to you.”

Hambleton-O’Grady also argues that free mentoring programs delivered by brokers who are not a part of a structured mentoring program can also devalue the mentee.  

“If [a mentee] joins a brand or a group whose speciality is one particular type of lending – residential, construction, commercial, etc – and [they] are being trained by them, then [they] are only going to be trained in one area,” Hambleton-O’Grady told Australian Broker.

“[They] are not going to get that full scope of training.”


  • by Stephen Dinte 18/01/2016 5:38:01 PM

    Whilst I have the greatest respect for Tanya Sale, in this instance I have to disagree that fee for service mentoring does not deliver viable outcomes.
    The reasons behind the need for mentoring are great, however there is no specified learning system that mentors are required to follow. There are no delineated outcomes aside from "competency", which is a very subjective at best.
    Hence new to industry people are at a loss to know which mentor is going to be the best for them. This causes them to choose a mentor based on the only common denominator which is cost. Certainly not the best way of buying anything.
    I have recently commenced a mentoring business with another very experienced broker, with the aim of assisting new people without resorting to the huge price tag.
    Regrettably, the first question asked by virtually all enquirers is "how much do you charge"?
    They don't care about the 25 years of training I received working for Banks & Building Societies, the many courses I undertook during those years to further myself, or the fact that I was the training manager for a large building society.
    They don't enquire as to how long I have been broking, what qualifications I have, or how large is my trail book.
    They only focus on the cost of my mentorship.
    I believe too many people attempt to enter this business severely under capitalised.
    How does a person start any business without the financial resources to carry them for the initial term?
    Mortgage/Finance broking is no different.
    Offering a mentorship at no cost would be like giving 100% LVR loans. There is no "hurt money" involved.
    No education is free.
    Moving forward I would like to see our associations work together to produce a training program that mentors could follow, in the same way our various State education departments produce a curriculum for schools and universities to follow.
    Let's get agreement as to what knowledge a mentee needs to gain during those first two years, the order in which it should be learned, and have all mentors teach so as to produce these identified outcomes.
    Then the associations could have mentees sit a "final" exam at the end of the 2 years as a way of evidencing what they have learned, in the same way as happens at the end of Year 12 High School, our as a precursor to graduating from university.
    The current ad-hoc system is what likely disenfranchises many people including Tanya.