It’s a wonderful thing to help someone grow in their real estate career. Because let’s face it—it’s rough out there for new agents. They’re still getting used to the nontraditional working hours and uncertain income. They’re struggling to get enough leads. And they’re having a tough time winning clients because they don’t have the years of experience to back them up.
That’s where you come in. Whether she’s an employed agent at your brokerage, a family friend, or a new acquaintance with a promising passion for real estate, you can play an important role in her career. Don’t just be a boss, or a friend, or an acquaintance—be a mentor.
This is your opportunity to give back to the industry that allowed you to be as successful as you are today. It’s your chance to remember the person who mentored you, and to pay it forward.
As someone who has been on both the giving and receiving ends of mentoring, I’d like to share with you some things I’ve learned, as well as some words of advice from other mentoring experts.
The value of listening is often overlooked, but it’s an important part of strengthening any relationship. It can be hard to remember to listen to your mentee when your focus is on teaching, but it’s just as important to let him talk. Listen to him talk about his goals and challenges. Ask if there’s something you can be doing better to help him.
Check out the Center for Mentoring Excellence for a great list of questions to ask your mentee.
Don’t shy away from tough conversations
Mentoring isn’t all encouragement and hand-holding. Sometimes you have to dish out some tough truths. You don’t have to be a jerk about it, but you’ll be doing her a disservice if you don’t point out and correct her mistakes.
Focus on instruction over praise
An interesting study of legendary basketball coach John Wooden revealed that the majority of the feedback he provided to his players was instruction on how to do something better. Only about seven percent of his feedback was praise and about six percent was criticism. Rather than focusing on boosting his players’ self esteem, he developed a model that would encourage them to constantly improve.
Compliment her effort
When you offer praise, be sure to compliment her effort. Rather than saying, “You are such a great writer,” say something like, “You have really improved your writing skills over the last month.” A study by psychologist Carol Dweck revealed that when you praise someone’s effort (rather than implying that she has a natural talent), she will be more motivated to tackle future challenges.
Schedule time for mentoring
Mentoring is often passive. Your mentee can gain a lot of value out of simply shadowing you and observing the way you make decisions and interact with people. However, it’s also important to set aside some time for deliberate mentoring. Whether it’s every day, week, or month, schedule some time dedicated to educating, supporting, and listening to your mentee.
Be a friend, too
When you care about the person—not just as a mentee, but as a friend—you’ll be able to have a sincere interest in helping her grow and learn. Before you commit to being her mentor, have a chat to find out if the two of you are compatible, if you share similar goals, and if you generally enjoy talking with one another.
Celebrate his accomplishments
When he accomplishes something (first closing, first client meeting nailed, etc.), celebrate with him. Acknowledge that he reached another stepping stone in his career path. Don’t let it pass by without you noticing, because that will be very discouraging to your mentee.
Check in at the 3-month mark
After 90 days have passed, meet with your mentee to provide a 3-month evaluation and get feedback on her experience. Talk with your mentee about her strengths, areas for improvement, and the progress you’ve seen since the beginning of your relationship. Be sure to ask her for feedback, as well—if she feels like she’s on the right track, what she would like to tackle during the next 90 days, etc.
Above all else, inspire confidence
When people feel confident in themselves, they perform better. They are bolder in their decisions. They feel empowered to do great work. Build them up, don’t tear them down.
Once you’ve made the commitment to mentor someone, you have an important responsibility—not just to your mentee, but to the real estate industry as a whole. You will be helping to shape the next generation of real estate agents. It’s a major role to play in someone’s life, and it requires a lot of dedication, but I have a hunch that you’ll find the experience pretty rewarding.
Thanks to people like you, the future of real estate is bright.