Coaching: Coach or Coached

In the last decade, coaching has emerged as a professional discipline.  Professionals across industries are employing coaches to improve their performance. As the nation emerges from the worst economic recession in modern times, residential real estate professionals, not unlike other professionals, have been forced to reevaluate their professional viability. As a result, they too are using coaches.

Two key indicators of professional success in most industries, in turn professional viability are performance and productivity. Over the past few years, the criterion for effective performance and measurable productivity in the residential real estate industry has radically changed. Today, real estate professionals are acutely aware that the agent-client relationship has transformed into a partnership in knowledge evidenced through more sophisticated levels of collaborative planning and execution.  Client-centered performance and productivity are being recreated, forged in a marketplace crucible infused with educated clients empowered through technology and increased government regulations for professional education. This recreation is fueled by the acknowledgement of real estate professionals that pre-recession client engagement strategies are no longer relevant or effective.

The confluence of marketplace and professional variables has created a unique opportunity for coaching to emerge as critical professional development practice. For real estate professionals, coaching can assist agents eliminate ineffective and valueless client engagement practices, replacing them with high performance, value-rich strategies reflecting contemporary client and industry performance and productivity trends.

Therefore, coaching may be a key professional enabler for 21st century residential real estate professionals.

Not so fast!

Increasingly, advertisements for coaching services are appearing throughout the real estate media. The themes in these advertisements herald coaching as an antidote for industry trends and recessions ills. In addition, real estate industry members are branding themselves as coaches, accentuating their industry experience as the primary qualifier to be a coach, while providing limited to no evidence of earned coaching credentials, experience, or research activity.

Let’s examine coaching credentials, experience, and research.

Coaching Credentials

Famed basketball coach Phil Jackson shares “Wisdom is always an overmatch for strength.” Philosophically, wisdom is the optimal use of known knowledge. Knowledge is a product of education, therefore a component of wisdom.  In all industries, professional development and higher education provide knowledge that professionals can translate into strategies for and methods of client engagement. Possessing relevant and applicable professional knowledge, used effectively can “overmatch” or overcome strength.

The new partnership in knowledge between agent and client values formal training. Increasingly, coaching is becoming recognized professional discipline. As a result, institutions of higher education and accrediting organizations have developed coaching curriculum standards and performance guidelines to ensure educational quality. Over the past decade, several major colleges and universities have created exemplary coaching certificate programs including Touro College’s Graduate School of Business, Georgetown University, and University of Texas – Dallas. An important aspect of these programs is their being certified or coaching curriculum adhere to the 11 core coaching competencies articulated by the International Coach Federation (www.coachfederation.org).

When employing a coach inquire concerning their professional coaching credentials.

Coaching Experience

We all have experience coaching. From little league to a first dance, we’ve offered guidance and encouragement to improve performance. As physicist Albert Einstein observed “The only source of knowledge is experience.” A litmus test of a coach’s credibility is their successful coaching experience. Coaching experience is acquired in many ways. For example, real estate company branch managers are responsible for a myriad of professional development activities. One key activity is coaching agents toward expanding their client-base, in turn increasing revenues and referrals. Enabling high performance with agents at varied levels of competency requires seasoned and nuanced coaching skills. Howard Margolis, executive vice president and managing director at Prudential Douglas-Elliman’s premier office on Madison Avenue in New York City is an exemplar manager-coach.  Howard states “coaching is art and science. Coaching agents is episodic…it occurs in phases.             I introduce client and business development ideas when agents are ready to accept and make them actionable.”

The quantity and quality of coaching experience is a significant professional factor when employing a coach.  Coaching requires professional education steeped in experience; experience evidencing successful coaching results in coachee performance and productivity.

Coaching Research

Research exploring the influence of coaching on performance and productivity is increasing more available. The coaching literature offers an arc of research ranging from formal research studies through anecdotal accounts. Examining current research on coaching as a coachee is an important pre-requisite before engaging in coaching activities. Moreover, ask potential coaches concerning their knowledge of the coaching literature, as well as their own research interests and publication history.

The International Coaching Federation (ICF) website provides a rich research and education archive. From research articles and industry links to case studies, the ICF website offers a strong foundation for self education on coaching.

Coaching Corner

As education thought and practice leaders reshaping the future of the residential real estate industry worldwide, we’ve consistently asserted that coaching is a key enabler of performance and productivity. Through our articles, we will continue to explore coaching, providing insight and information enabling you to decide if your performance can improve through being coached.

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