Why Mentoring is Important for Funeral Service Professionals


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Funeral service builds and strengthens connections between people. Your firm builds lasting connections with your community through your involvement with local organizations and events. The families you serve build connections with the staff members who helped them through the most difficult times in their lives. People who attend funeral services build or strengthen connections with one another thanks to the opportunities your hard work provides.

Like your client families and communities, funeral professionals can benefit from building strong connections with others through mentoring relationships. When you have a mentor, you’re pushed to perform at a higher level, think critically about your choices and gain fresh perspective from someone who’s already been through similar experiences. When you serve as a mentor, you have the opportunity to review and evaluate what has worked (and what hasn’t) and may even experience renewed passion for the profession.

BUILDING INTEREST IN FUNERAL SERVICE.

Mentoring relationships are important for more than just the individual funeral professionals – they’re also good for funeral service. In an interview for the myHomesteaders newsletter, Mike Turnbull of Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home in Emporia, KS explained the value of mentoring relationships. He hired several part-time attendants who, despite having no previous interest in funeral service, decided to attend mortuary school.

“I take a great deal of pride in mentoring,” Mike explained. “When students come to work here, it’s just a job. But after seeing how well-run our firm is, the dedication of my staff and how much we enjoy our careers, they take an interest in the funeral business. That is probably my proudest accomplishment.”

SHARING THE REWARDS OF FUNERAL SERVICE.

On many occasions funeral professionals have shared with me that, in spite of the challenges the profession brings, the rewards from helping people make it all worthwhile. They tell stories about particularly memorable services that provided creative opportunities for families to come together in their grief. They speak with pride about how comfortable their client families become while working with them, sharing memories of their loved ones as if they were part of the family.

Experienced funeral service professionals can encourage those new to the profession by simply telling them about experiences that make the profession so rewarding. How would you respond if someone asked, “What was your proudest moment in funeral service?” The answer to this question can become a powerful testimonial about why a person should consider (or stick with) a career in funeral service.

PROVIDING SUPPORT THROUGH THE TOUGH TIMES.

No matter what career a person chooses, he or she will be faced with moments of doubt, of wondering whether this professional path was the right choice. For funeral service professionals, those moments come with the added strain of emotionally charged situations, long hours and missed time with your own loved ones.

During periods of doubt, the perspective of a person who understands the challenges can make all the difference. Experienced funeral professionals know what it takes to get through difficult services and have expertise to share with newer colleagues. Both the mentee and mentor can benefit from the opportunity to talk through their tough experiences.

OFFERING ADVICE AND TRAINING.

Beyond encouraging an ongoing passion for the profession, mentors can help mentees with the practical requirements of funeral service. Think about the things you wish you had known when you started your career and share those with your mentee. Whenever you’re able to pass along your knowledge, take advantage of the opportunity to help a newer professional expand theirs.

The funeral service profession requires an ever-expanding range of skills, and experienced funeral professionals can offer their advice on which programs and continuing education opportunities have been particularly valuable. You can also help them identify the resources that have been helpful as you continue to grow your abilities.

Mentoring encourages new funeral professionals to be engaged, creative and proactive, and in turn the profession benefits from those professionals’ innovative ideas. Client families will also benefit from thorough, compassionate service provided by professionals who have incorporated the knowledge and experience of their mentors.

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