This Week’s Dilemma

I have just landed my first broker position but I have only just qualified and am therefore lacking in experience and understanding of what is expected of me. I have joined a small practice and feel I would benefit from support from someone senior who can explain how the firm works and a little about its culture so I can learn how to fit in. How do I go about getting this without becoming a burden to my colleaugues.

Iain Williamson is head of key accounts at BM Solutions

Even those who excel at their studies and gain qualifications have questions about how they should set about a new job.

As you highlight, it’s about adjusting to a new culture as well as a new role. Most people get along by picking up hints and tips from those around them, but the smart thing to do is to think about getting a mentor.

Your mentor doesn’t have to be your manager or even someone in your company. Look beyond that and seek out someone with industry experience, although not necessarily someone working in the same technical area as you. The important thing is to establish a relationship of trust with someone who understands your ambitions.

A mentor concentrates on maximising your potential and capabilities without focussing on specific skills or past performance. A mentor doesn’t concern themselves with areas such as discipline or assessment as you might encounter with a manager.

Instead, a mentor provides an impartial sounding board for you to discuss any issues in confidence. The advantage of this approach is that it will provide stability throughout your career when you move roles or want to discuss your career path.

Best of all, you set the agenda since the focus is on your aspirations and your needs. And if you manage and develop the relationship yourself, it has the potential to create opportunities for you in the future.