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Managers--Which Should You Use: Coaching, Mentoring, or Consulting?

Sep 10, 2014

Posted by

Carla Cross

About Carla Cross, CRB, MA International speaker, trainer, and coach specializing in career development, business planning, brokerage management, leadership, and instructor development. What sets Read more

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You want to help your agents succeed. But, which kind of support should you use: Coaching, mentoring, or consulting? Browse any real estate industry publication and you’ll likely find articles about sales coaching, consulting or mentoring. These terms, often used synonymously, denote different methodologies for the professional development of sales associates. But which method is appropriate for each of your agents?

Choosing the Right Program for the Person

A mentoring program is ideal for agents who have mastered the basics of working with buyers and sellers—not agents who are performing below minimum production standards (i.e., new agents). In contrast, a coaching program with tight structure is appropriate for newer agents—or agents who are performing under your standards. Finally, a consultant serves as a “sounding board” for more experienced agents and leads them through the process of self-discovery.

New Agents Need More Than Mentors

The use of mentors with brand-new sales associates erroneously results from their urgent need to have someone available to answer all of their questions, all the time. Mentoring, when used with new agents, often means they learn about knowledge as opposed to skills. New agents get smart intellectually and attend many classes. But the problem is, the mentees may not go out and actually sell real estate. Their natural tendency is to want more and more information, without putting that knowledge into action. New agents think that information will make them confident, when, in fact, it’s the practicing of skills that will make them confident. So, mentoring is most appropriate when coupled with a strong, structured coaching program.

Coaching to a Specific Game Plan

Coaching assists new, inexperienced agents get into action by following a specific game plan. If you’re going to be a coach, the No. 1 priority is to have a specific and accurate game plan. Selling real estate requires a series of skill sets and a series of activities that are linear. The game plan has to include what to do and why to do it. (See

 Up and Running in Real Estate for an example).  Avoid turning your coaching sessions into ‘how to do it’ (that’s training, and exposes that you don’t have adequate training to support your coaching program…..)

What Should Happen in your Coaching Session

During a coaching session, for example, broker/owners need to ask agents, “Did you do the actions we agreed on you last week?” A direct approach is needed because you’re teaching agents job priorities. If they did complete their assignments, then listen to their accounting of them. If they didn’t, immediately stop the session.

Why Are You Trying to Motivate ‘In-Action’?

But brokers or managers usually don’t quit here. Instead, they try to motivate agents by asking why they didn’t complete their assignments. That’s not appropriate in coaching; there’s no coaching without agent action and accountability. Don’t try to motivate. Repeat the assignment: Call 50 people in your area and ask them about buying or selling properties. Tell new agents the ‘why’ behind this activity.” Another mistake coaches make when the agent doesn’t do the work is that they fill the time by answering the agent’s ‘I’ve always wondered’ or ‘if it ever happens’ questions, like, “If I ever sold a home, which purchase and sale agreement form would I use?” Make a ‘deal’ with new agents. When they’ve completed their assignments as promised, you’ll answer these types of questions.

Are You Coaching to Get the Agent Past your Standards? (Minimum sales expectations)

Critical to coaching new sales associates are mutually acceptable standards. These are minimum expectations (not goals) with attached consequences. Use a coaching accountability contract that includes standards and goals. In such a contract, broker/owners need to define what they want sales associates to accomplish, what the minimum requirements are, and what will happen when sales associates are under/at/over those minimum requirements. Then you are in agreement.

Your Coaching Checklist

For your new agents: Do you have

  • An accountability contract you have signed during the interview process?
  •   A coaching discussion with a would-be client that includes standards and goals and consequences?
  •   A game plan that precisely sets out priorities, actions, and accountability?
  •   A training program that trains ‘how’ to do each of the actions in the coaching program?

What do you need to ‘shore up’ to create that effective coaching program?

Mgrs UpRun CoverThank You, Coaches--FREE Resource for You

To thank all you coaches out there, I'm GIVING AWAY my $99 resource,

 Managers' Coaching Companion to Up and Running in 30 Days. Why? It was created to partner with the 3rd edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. Now, the 4th edition is published (and a new 'delivery' of my coaching help is available at Up and Running in Real Estate). The coaching companion I'm giving away this month still has lots of value. With 109 pages, 2 audio CDs, and 1 'document' CD I've packed this resource with dozens of coaching strategies, tips, and questions for coaches to use in ANY coaching situation. Just pay shipping and handling and I'll get one out to you--while they last. And, thanks, coaches, for your dedication to raising the standards of our industry. Click here for a description and to order.

Agents: Forward this blog to your managers and tell them to take advantage of my offer. They'll get lots of practical, proven information on productivity coaching (I know, I've done these strategies for over 2 decades!).

Want to know more about my one-on-one coaching programs? See our managers' program, Leadership Mastery.