Lee Middleton, now an award-winning mentor, says her own mentor from 25 years ago, Anne-Marie Syme, was such an inspiration that she has adopted aspects of Ms Syme’s mentoring style into her own work – and to great success. Tas Bindi finds out her story.
Adelaide Bank is proud to sponsor The Adviser’s Meet the Mentor series. As a lender solely dedicated to third-party distribution, our passion is supporting brokers while ensuring our industry continues to thrive well into the future.
The opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of new-to-industry and established brokers makes mentoring a highly fulfilling career for Lee Middleton, founder and regional manager at Nectar Mortgages.
Ms Middleton, who was crowned Mentor of the Year at The Adviser’s Better Business Awards 2019 in Western Australia, has been in the broking industry for 25 years and a mentor for 18 years. According to the award-winning mentor, helping brokers develop confidence, resilience and self-belief – at the same time honing their business and relationship-building skills – brings her a strong sense of personal fulfilment.
“It gives me a massive buzz, seeing [mentees] do really well in this industry,” she says.
The Nectar Mortgages regional manager adds that the importance of ongoing customer service is something she “drums into” her mentees.
“It’s the relationship-building skills that I think is key at the moment. In the past, when I started out [as a mortgage broker], we just went to real estate offices, knocked on doors, and they started using me after seeing me a few times. That’s gone by the wayside now,” she says.
“You’ve got to look for niches in the market, and that’s what a good mentor should be helping [brokers] do.”
When brokers are looking for a mentor, Ms Middleton recommends that brokers look for someone who:
“They’ve got to [know] what it’s like to get knocked back when you’ve gone in to see a new referral agent, for example, and they’ve got to know how to really pound the pavement and suggest different avenues to get new business. You really do need to have someone who’s been there and done that,” the Nectar Mortgage regional manager says.
“The finance side of it is really easy to learn; it’s the ongoing business-building skills that are really important.”
She also says it’s critical to have a written-down mentoring plan in place to ensure both the broker and the mentor are aware of what is expected from each other.
“That way, you know what you’re going to get from your mentor from day dot. Is it just you [visiting the mentor] every week and being taught how to do
the finance side of things? Can you call every day? If I was looking for a mentor, I’d be looking for the ongoing assistance with deal scenarios and business-building, which a lot of mentors don’t offer,” Ms Middleton says.
As such, the Nectar Mortgage regional manager also believes that there needs to be a mentoring standard in the broking industry, “a school for brokers” where the education is focused on what brokers are required to do on a daily basis, and more traineeship programs offered in broking businesses.
Tas Bindi is the features editor for The Adviser magazine. She writes about the mortgage industry, macroeconomics, fintech, financial regulation, and market trends.
Prior to joining Momentum Media, Tas wrote for business and technology titles such as ZDNet, TechRepublic, Startup Daily, and Dynamic Business.
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