Coaching and Knowledge
In any workplace, the manager is supposed to be the respected source of knowledge, experience and help, if employees need it. Kroc does everything within her power to act as a reliable source of information for her agents.
“My job is to be completely knowledgeable about information like the Illinois license law, industry standards and practices and contracts regulations. That way, if an agent encounters a situation that is new to them, I can guide them through the process and the loopholes,” Kroc says. “In addition, I am present and available to help my agents with situations and answer their questions.”
But a manager can be very knowledgeable, and very experienced – it’s how this information is relayed that helps employees make the distinction between a “good manager” or “bad manager.” If an agent is experiencing a real challenge, how he or she is coached could make all the difference – and feeling like he or she isn’t receiving enough help or direction will translate into bad management, in the agent’s eyes.
“I can read my agents when they walk by, and if they seem to be feeling down, I immediately go out and talk to them,” Schumacher says. “My office is located in the middle of everything so that I can always see my agents and encourage them when necessary.”
Schumacher also takes on a buyer client once or twice a year to “get out there and stay in touch with the realities of the market,” she adds. Having current real world experience helps her stay knowledgeable of how her agents can navigate several new situations she may not have dealt with herself.
“Coaching involves helping the agent work their way through the process of working with the client, as well as any challenges within the deal eventually placed on the table,” Goro says. “The coaching aspect means helping agents in the moment. In terms of visionary, there comes a time when you have to help the agent move to the next level in their business. This is a very important aspect of their business, so they need the tools to help them develop their business. Agents are always looking to go to the next level – for example, an agent may want to go from $2 million to $4 million.”
One of the best coaching tactics Goro himself uses with agents is the art of storytelling: he tells his agents about other agents, most of them current agents still working in Goro’s office, who have been through the same challenge and have achieved success.
“Most young agents will come into your office, sit down and tell you the problem, lay it out in front of you and tell you to fix it. If you feel great about them coming to you as their ‘guru’ and you fix the problem for them, you have taught the agent nothing. Instead, you need to talk it through with the agent so that they learn,” Goro says. “Experienced agents that understand the business, on the other hand, will sit down with their managers and say, ‘help me through this.’ They know the importance of learning constantly, and that is one reason agents become so good at what they do. Also, you never want an agent to come back to you with the same challenge, because in my opinion, it means you did not do a good enough job teaching or guiding them the first time around.”