Not all agents and brokers are cut out to be mentors. Some are too busy to teach, and others are too “old school” to think outside of the box. When mentally vetting candidates, here are some must-have characteristics a mentor should possess.

Real estate school will prepare you for getting your license but will not provide the required knowledge for working in real estate day in and day out.

One of the most common complaints I hear from new agents is there is a gap in training. The void between the initial internal training received through many brokerages and becoming a confident agent is big. Unfortunately, the lack of support results in more failures than successes.

Many brokerages are encouraging veteran agents to become mentors. Mentors can assist in filling the gap between the basics and success.

But not all agents are cut out to be mentors. Some are too busy to teach, and others are too “old school” to think outside of the box.

Here are some of the characteristics to look for in a mentor:

1. Shares skills, knowledge and expertise

Good mentors are not selfish. They will share what they’ve learned to be best practices with technology, time management, marketing and customer relations.

If a mentor gives vague answers or directions, it could be a sign he or she is not willing to share selflessly.

2. Excels in time management

Good mentors will set aside time to work one on one with their proteges. No one should expect a mentor to drop everything when asked, but scheduled “office hours” should be set to answer questions and go over processes if needed.

3. Thinks outside the box

Good mentors realize what worked yesterday might not work today. They continue to experiment with new ideas to improve their business processes.

If a mentor is relying too heavily on FSBOs (for-sale-by-owners), door-knocking and expired listings, it might be a sign they are not up with the times.

4. Welcomes collaboration

Mentors should never have an attitude of my way is the best (or only) way. Great mentors collaborate and allow their mentees and others to bounce ideas off one another. They encourage creativity and challenging the process with innovation.

5. Shows patience

Make sure he or she does not have a reputation for being hot-headed or difficult. A good mentor will remember what it was like to be new in the business and will take the time needed to teach. Even if that means teaching the same lesson more than once.

6. Provides feedback and sets goals, both personally and for others

A good mentor will set goals and lead by example. He or she is genuinely happy for others who achieve goals and celebrates their milestones.

7. Understands that mentees must take responsibility for their success

He or she will teach and encourage their protege to succeed but will not do the work for them. Your mentor should teach you to search for answers first and ask questions second.

8. Is involved in community

You have to be seen to be known. Mentors who are involved can introduce you to the inner circles that will help you most.

9. Has a proven track record

Choose an experienced mentor who works full-time in the industry and has excellent client ratings.

10. Is respected within the Realtor community

Do other Realtors enjoy working with the person you are considering as your mentor? That’s a good sign that you are choosing someone who can teach you the foundation your business will stand on.

11. Is team-minded

Although not a necessity, having a mentor who’s on a team has benefits. If your mentor is part of a team, chances are other teammates have also been mentored by him or her.

Groups create an atmosphere of collaboration, and if your mentor is not available, a team member might be able to assist.

Being a new agent is tough, and it takes time to understand the business and learn the ropes. Having the right mentor helps to build confidence and create an environment for success.

You can find some great mentors by hanging out in the office. Do you have a connection with a veteran agent? Look around: Who seems to have it together?

Get to know him or her, and then ask if he or she is willing to take you on as a protege? Chances are he or she will be happy to help you forge your path to becoming a successful agent.

Missy Yost is a Realtor with Century21 Diamond Realty in South Carolina. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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