The Leader-Coach: The Future of Professionalism

The Leader-Coach: Leader as Learner

Coaching enables empowerment. Empowerment fuels achievement. Achievement empowers professionalism.  Professionalism can be expressed through a leader’s compelling vision of the future, an unwavering commitment to ethical business practices, or demonstrating the courage to champion innovation when the status quo prevails. Organizational leaders shoulder a mantel of professionalism; a leadership mantel. A mantel inlaid with learnings about professionalism and leadership from every industry.

Shouldering this mantel of professionalism are a few exemplary leaders self-identifying as leader-coaches. Leader-coaches because they’ve acquired formal coaching knowledge and skills or been coached by a leader-coach.  These leader-coaches are products of a time honored tradition of the master and apprentice relationship. This relationship considered a sacred trust by many, is a relationship proven to instill purpose, provide knowledge, and enable others to realize their potential. Leader-coaches are mentors; mentors who understand the coaching process and its tools. They are skilled at accessing and enabling others to act.

Leader-coaches invest in their own professional development. They learn to lead and lead as learners. They become life-long learners of leadership.  Learning and leadership become a self-fulfilling professional development prophecy as leadership theory informs practice and practice informs theory. As President John F. Kennedy stated “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” The result of this indispensible interaction is a rich integration of leadership wisdom, perspective, and practice enabling leaders to lead modeling the way for others.

Leader as Model: Professionalism in Practice

Modeling is central to becoming a leader-coach. Modeling is leading and learning by example. Leaders can model mentors.  However, in the absence of a mentor, who can leaders model to enable their own leadership? For many leaders, they model exemplars of leadership excellence. Let’s explore leader modeling as a process for creating leader-coaches. Here are two exemplars of leadership excellence.

David Schlamm – Founder and CEO of City Connections Realty

Mr. David Schlamm, Founder and CEO of City Connections Realty, Inc. in New York City is an exemplary leader. A 23 year veteran of the Manhattan real estate industry, David continues to create the future of professionalism at City Connections. David’s vision of professionalism articulates creating a client-centric business culture, inhabited by highly educated agent-advisors, delivering a comprehensive and customized housing acquisition experience. Schlamm’s vision is fueled by his unflagging commitment to ethical conduct and is enabled by an innovative high “split-to-agent” commission structure the cornerstone of his business model championing entrepreneurialism.

Central to David’s vision of professionalism is his commitment to life-long learning.  To realize his vision of providing “highly educated agent-advisors” to his clientele, he endorsed and participated in creating the Certified Real Estate Advisor (CRA) designation. The CRA designation is the only professional designation of its kind worldwide coupling industry training and high performance coaching. To contribute to the CRA design process, David immersed himself in the coaching processes; being coached and becoming a leader-coach. As a result of his bold commitment and pioneering action, the CRA designation is rapidly becoming the recognized benchmark of professional excellence for residential real estate advisors industry-wide.

David’s vision of the future of professionalism is rapidly revolutionizing the residential real estate industry nationally.

City Connections, Inc. Website:

Richard Dickson – President and Chief Executive Officer Branded Businesses of Jones Apparel Group, Inc.

Mr. Dickson, President and Chief Executive Officer Branded Businesses of Jones Apparel Group, Inc. is an exemplary leader. A thought and practice leader in the fashion, fragrance, and toy industries, Richard continues his legacy of creating the future of professionalism through his leadership at Jones New York.  Richard’s vision of professionalism crafts a worldwide culture of empowered women, framed by strong female models of leadership, and coached by recognized female leaders such a former Clinton Administration Press Secretary Ms. Dee Dee Myers.

Dickson’s vision of a world culture empowered and enabled by women leaders, is a transformative idea. However, without his innovative acumen and creative design mastery, this idea could remain transformative, yet unrealized. Richard’s unyielding commitment to professional excellence, driven by his relentless pursuit of artistry and creativity resulted in the launch of the Empower Your Confidence initiative in 2010 through the Jones New York brand.

Richard’s vision of the future of professionalism integrates his legacy of creative perspectives resulting from coaching and being coached. The Empower Your Confidence initiative is a nexus of his leadership, creative genius, and branding skill.  It is the essence of originality crystallized in a distinctive and new strategic direction for Jones New York. This seminal work product articulating Dickson’s vision is evidenced in a stunning sepia print presenting empowered women framed in New York’s Grand Central Station.  This photo captured the imagination of the international fashion industry and launched Jones New York’s new strategic vision heralded by the power and potential inherent in these women. It concretized Dickson’s vision and evidences his exemplary leadership.

Richard’s vision of the future of professionalism provides witness to and models world class leadership creating new worlds of enablement through empowerment.

Jones New York Website:,default,pg.html

The future of professionalism is the work of leadership.  Leaders who are coached and coach others are the leader-coaches of the future.

Lead, coach, and achieve.

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Social Networking: Partner or Pariah



Technology has become an architect of change. It enables business growth and organizes our lives.  Recalling a day or decade devoid of technology is difficult.  The rise of social networking as a mechanism for human and enterprise engagement is perhaps the most significant example of technology as architect of change; as well as change agent.  Social networking has captured the attention, imagination, and investment of the real estate industry.  It has become the great equalizer establishing a more egalitarian and competitive marketplace.  In order to leverage social networking as a competitive advantage, all parties have been driven to reevaluate their business adaptability, identifying strategies and tactics for implementing these emergent technologies.

Mastering social networking technologies and incorporating them into sales agents’ business operations is essential to professional and marketplace survival.  Increasingly, agents and company leaders are realizing that fluency with social working technologies such as Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter is a mandatory for success. In addition, as using social networking becomes an industry core competency, industry policies and procedures with emerge for managing and monitoring their use.

Rapidly, social networking is becoming a medium for business engagement. For agents not engaging, their prognosis for industry survival is grim.

However, this prognosis can be improved!  Sales agents can choose a self-enabling course of action.  They can learn these technologies.  Alas, one obstacle may thwart agents’ motivation to realize the promise of prosperity embedded in mastering social networking technologies; themselves.

“We Have Met The Enemy and They Is Us”

As American animator and cartoonist Walt Kelly’s character Pogo informed us on a 1971 Earth Day poster, we can be the obstacles to achieving our goals. “We have met the enemy and they is

us.”  Learning and implementing these technologies can seem daunting, if not overwhelming.

When discussing engaging social networking many agents state “I know using social networking is important to my business, I’ll hire someone to do it for me.” Or, “my company does social networking for me.” Respectfully, this is wishful thinking at best!  In fact, only sales agents occupying the rarified realms of top production in company settings may receive the fiscal and human resources necessary to implement a successful social networking strategy.

As top producers represent a minority of the total sales agent population, the majority of agents must rely on themselves to use social networking. If the thought of learning and implement social networking technologies has a paralytic effect on agents’ action, technology, as an architect of change, offers an innovative solution generated form and old idea; teaming.  Teaming or partnering with other agents can be challenging.  However, significant benefits can be culled from organized collective resources focused on mastering and implementing social networking technologies.

“We Are What We Continually Do”

The Greek philosopher Socrates reminds us that “we are what we repeatedly do.” To leverage the long-term benefits of social networking, sales agents must adopt a lifelong learning orientation toward technology.  Astute agents anticipating the near limitless business building benefits associated social networking have returned to classroom to learn and incorporate social networking into their sales practices.  Dawn Doherty, Vice President of Strategic Development at and an instructor inTouroCollege’s Graduate School of Business Certificate in Residential Real Estate Entrepreneurship program states “Social networking is a capability the sales agents need to learn and continually manage in order to succeed in today’s competitive real estate markets. Those not leveraging social networking technologies may place themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Social Networking and Learning

In an October 29, 2001 Newsweek article, Apple, Inc. Chairman and CEO Steve Jobs shared “I would trade all of my technology for an afternoon with Socrates.”  If a meeting took place between Socrates and Mr. Jobs (Mr. Jobs keeping his technology!) to discuss the role of social networking in today’s residential real estate market, I wonder what they’d say?  Unfortunately, we’ll never know.  However, we do know that central to their thought and action which has so profoundly influenced our world is learning.  Though separated by centuries, their shared commitment to lifelong learning provides us with models of Arete or excellence for our own critical thought and purposeful action. Socrates stated “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.”  Perhaps these giants learning and innovation discovered that their states of ignorance were platforms for enlightenment and growth. If so, sales agents can apply this learning to leverage their ignorance of social networking technologies as a positive, enabling opportunity for professional development.

Technology has become an architect of change and social networking a key business building for 21st century sales agents.  Master social networking and commit to lifelong learning.  By doing so we can recast Pogo’s statement from “We have met the enemy and they is us” to “we have met the enemy and we are lifelong partners in learning, instead of pariahs not mustering the courage to commit to it.

Strategic Planning: Creating The Future Today

strategic planning
by Esther Muller and Michael Williams, Ph.D.

Strategic planning is a process and a competency. It has evolved over years. From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motor Company to Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, entrepreneurs of every ilk have engaged in strategic planning to realize their vision of the future. For 21st century residential real estate entrepreneurs, strategic planning remains a core process for building a successful business. Strategic planning has been adopted and adapted to countless business applications. Today, strategic planning is a rich and integrated discipline of diverse and powerful techniques.

As a process, strategic planning requires specific knowledge, competencies, and skills in order to conceive and execute. As a competency, it requires education and practice in order to become a seasoned strategic planning practitioner.

Herein lays the challenge. Are real estate professionals seasoned strategic planners? Do they possess the competencies and skills necessary execute strategic plans?

Let’s explore these questions by examining strategy as process and competency.

Strategic Planning as Process

Strategic planning is an essential component in launching and building businesses. A strategic plan enables informed thinking and improves decision making in preparation for taking action. We suggest a five-part strategic planning model.

The five-part strategic planning model includes:

  1. Missionand Objectives
  2. Environmental Scanning
  3. Strategy Formulation
  4. Strategy Implementation; and
  5. Evaluation and Control

1.Mission and Objectives

The mission describes your vision of the future. It frames the values, purpose, and direction of the business. It concretizes vision, focuses attention, and galvanizes action. The objectives define and refine the mission. They provide stakeholders with guidance for implementation.

2. Environmental Scanning

Sales agents must understand their internal and external business environments.  Internally, agents must identify key strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats associated with their business strategy. Externally, knowing the political, environmental, social, and technological environmental dynamics can enable or disable business building.

3. Strategy Formulation

Formulating strategy is an integrative process. It includes analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating data culled from the prior steps. Ideally, it is a collaborative effort engaging key stakeholders in a focused activity of writing a written strategic plan.

4. Strategy Implementation

Implementing strategy is a multi-phase process. It requires resources and management to ensure strategies are operationalized and executed. All stakeholders must understand the purpose of and expected outcomes from strategy implementation.

5. Evaluation and Control

Evaluating the outcomes enables revision and control. The goal is to measure progress toward goal achievement.

Strategic planning as process is the cornerstone of building a successful and sustainable residential real estate practice. Tresa Hall, Executive Vice President and Director of Sales of The Corcoran Group and recipient of the Henry Forster Award, states “Strategic planning is an essential business building practice. Without strategic planning, business direction, process and measurement are undefined, in turn difficult to attain.”

Strategic Planning As Competency

Strategic planning as competency is both art and science. As a process it provides models for planning and implementing business activities. As competency, it requires education and practice. Strategic planning is a learned skill.  Therefore, continued professional development is essential.  Learn strategic planning as a discipline. With practice, it can become a competency.

Fortunately, many agents are seasoned strategic planners. However, becoming a planning expert requires disciplined application and review. So, learn and practice strategic planning in order to build your business.

Strategic Planning As Future

The 6th century B.C. Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu is credited with writing “Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?” Are you doing “all you can” to build your knowledge of and skills with strategic planning? If, not, get started creating your business future today.