Advisor As Coach: A Shift of Mind

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet asks “What’s in a name?” Everything! It defines function, clarifies role, and suggests context. In recent history, real estate professionals have defined themselves using several titles; salesperson, representative, and agent. Often considered synonyms, they are not. While sharing degrees of direct or inferential definitional association, these terms carry differentiated meanings as attributed by investors. From positive to pejorative, collectively, these terms define a narrow role and range of skills associated with real estate professionals, typically characterized as a transactional and tactical.

Howard N. Margolis is Senior Vice President at Prudential Douglas Elliman states, “real estate professionals are involved in nearly every aspect of the client property transaction. Many do more than buy or sell real estate; they help and counsel. However, to be effective in these roles, they must possess more advisor-based knowledge and skills.”

Advising requires different skills than agentry. In order for real estate professionals to transition from agent to advisor, they must reskill, in turn redefine themselves. An informed starting point for redefining roles and skills is to model professions recognized for their roles as advisor; attorneys, accountants, and physicians.

The Future Just Ain’t What It Use To Be

Here perennial baseball legend Yogi Berra may be suggesting that our vision of the future may change as we work towards its realization. What we’ve envisioned may morph as we and our circumstances change. As a result, our future may not be “what it use to be “or as originally conceived. Instead, our vision of the future may evolve in scope and robustness over time becoming more potent and powerful than we originally envisioned.

For real estate professionals this future may be a professional transition; from agent to advisor or advisor to coach. As coaches, agents become enablers, teachers, and partners. They develop clients as property partners, providing them with data-driven insights, property choices, and referrals within their network of helping professionals. However, these professional services are not the work of coaching. Coaching enables clients to examine their motivations driving the transaction. It expands the context and content of the transaction exploring all parties’ rationales and purposes. Ultimately, coaching guides clients to make comprehensive decisions informed by an orientation of self discovery enabled by the coach-client relationship.

Burke J. Smith Founder of YourNetCoach believes that becoming a coach is necessary for business growth and sustainability in the 21st century. Smith states “It is critical to advise clients on every aspect of each transition. Coaches provide expert business knowledge and industry expertise promoting client trust and engagement. However, the goal is to be a center-of-guidance associated with all aspects of the client’s business life, enabling and guiding their discovery toward what they truly want and assisting them in its realization.”

Real estate professionals are not mental health professionals. However, they manage client fear, anxiety, and indecision present in transactions. For many clients, a property transaction may be the largest purchase of their lives. As a result, real estate professionals must help clients move forward by coaching them through the transaction enabling it to be transformative.

You Say You Want a Revolution

The age of agentry is passing and that of advisorship and coaching emerging. The revolution is real.  Let’s join together and act now to design our industry’s shift-of-mind. If we don’t act our clients will. The choice is ours!


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