Is real estate coaching broken?

What to look for and how to make it work for you

Let’s start with the facts: 33% of agents quit in less than a year, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. And 87% of all agents throw in the towel inside of five years.

The reasons are simple: they can’t make it work. They aren’t earning enough. They learned how to fill out a contract, but not much else. That’s why reach estate coaching engagements often begin in a panic. The agent is failing. The struggle is real. And the need is urgent.

Coaching by crisis

Most real estate coaching isn’t designed to be a quick solution. On average, you’ll have 30 minutes a week with a coach. And you’ll spend most of that time trying to explain what you need. The time you have left will be all the coach has to answer your questions, handle your problems, and map out a solution to grow your business.

That means your coach is little more than a firefighter. You get on the phone and deal with immediate problems, with no real plan on how to grow your business and move forward.

That’s why coaching by crisis is not an effective system.

Giving up too quickly

Another problem with coaching today is the commitment. Agents get a coach, spend their time dealing with a crisis, and then realize they didn’t make any headway. Nothing has really changed. And so they give up.

Or even worse, they work with a coach that isn’t a good match. So the experience isn’t good, therefore coaching as a whole is painted as an ill fit.

Coaching isn’t a short time solution. For example, I’m still coaching clients who engaged me ten years ago. But not every coach is a good fit. Just because someone has high production doesn’t mean they are a good coach. And just because they are a coach doesn’t mean they were a high producer. And, most importantly, it doesn’t mean they know how to coach you.

So what should you look for?

Now that I’ve outlined what’s broken about real estate coaching, here is what you need to look for so you can find an effective coaching situation that helps you strategize and focus on growth.

  • Look for multiple learning methods that suit your learning style. Phone calls are great, but they shouldn’t be the entirety of your growth strategy. At ICC, we produce online courses, audiobooks, podcasts, training materials, speaking events, video modules, and real estate training workbooks.You may need to train multiple team members – this is why. All of our clients have full access to our ICC Online Learning Center, and they can receive progress reports for the entire organization.
  • Look for multiple systems and options that match your strengths and limitations. There is no one right way to build a team or generate business. That’s why our coaches help people implement systems configured specifically around their efforts so they see results. Most coaches just have a one size fits all approach.
  • Make sure your coach knows how to be a coach. A high producer isn’t always a great coach. And a great coach might not have been a high producer. Make sure you feel at ease, inspired and motivated by your coach. Of course, your coach doesn’t have to be currently producing to be an effective coach. At ICC we have a mix and we place coaches based on personality fit and the alignment of client goals and coach experience.
  • Look for a coach that can assist your entire organization, if applicable. Real estate is still a business for the independent operator, but with the rise of teams and new brokerage models, coaching is more effective when it creates a shared experience and shared vernacular. Scale your coaching to your full organization to see real transformation.

The challenge with getting a real estate coach is this: keep looking forward. It’s not meant to be a treadmill to nowhere. Your coach should be a system and a source that helps keep your eyes up and your mind on where you want to go.

Learn more about Icenhower Coaching here.


Brian Icenhower is a former top-producing broker and an owner of many of the largest and highest producing real estate companies in the United States. Brian has been coaching and training real estate agents for more than 25 years. He is the founder of Icenhower Coaching & Consulting Inc., one of the largest coaching teams around, with five hundred clients that include 31 of the Real Trends Top 500 list.