Leadership is a little different for everyone, but it’s essentially a mix of intentional input and strategic output. Coaching is a cornerstone habit in my leadership game. Here are eight tips for coaching your team to success. 

With the new year about to dawn, it’s time to level yourself up. We’ll close out the year with a monthlong focus on real estate coaches and the value of ongoing training. Expect advice from the top real estate coaches, deep evergreen training resources and more during Inman’s Coaching and Training Month.

This story was last updated Dec. 6, 2022.

My days have shifted from client calls, showing homes, and conducting listing presentations to learning, listening, training, coaching and consulting, making decisions, reading, and working on myself since I started my entrepreneurial journey in residential real estate sales over 16 years ago. For the past 12 years or so, I’ve been working on building multiple businesses.

Leadership is a little different for everyone, but it’s essentially a mix of intentional input (podcastsbooks, lecture series, meditationexerciseenergy management) and strategic output (vision casting, content, training, consulting, decisions and direction, and coaching).

Coaching is a cornerstone habit in my leadership game. Here are eight tips for coaching your team to success.

1. Understand what makes your team members tick

Yes, you want to know what your team members’ goals are, but it’s even more important to understand why they want what they want. What motivates them? Why do they get up every day and choose to work with you? What are their behavioral traits, their personality profile, their Enneagram, etc.?

The more you understand your team members (and better yet, the better they understand themselves), the better you’ll be able to provide the right resources, inspiration and coaching to help them get where they want to go.

Taking a behavior assessment test, like the DiSC Profile, is a great way to have a conversation with team members one-on-one or in a group. Communication preferences, strengths, weaknesses and varying perspectives inevitably come out. The end result is always a better understanding of each other.

Make this a consistent practice, and revisit these conversations often. As your team members grow or enter different seasons of their life, their motivations and drive will shift. Be prepared to shift with them.

2. Learn to read between the lines

Listening to what isn’t being said is a hard skill to learn, but necessary to effectively coach your team. Your team members might be saying all the right words, but what is the energy, emotion and intention behind what’s being said? Don’t be afraid to dig deeper.

Ask the questions that you know need to be asked. Allow the conversation to breathe. Lean into the pauses and silence, and listen to what comes next. Pay attention to how your team members are showing up. Are they saying one thing and doing another? All of these are signposts for you to identify and analyze.

As patterns begin to emerge, you will get clear on what needs to be addressed. Approach those conversations directly and with compassion. When you bring to light what isn’t being said, you often make the biggest strides forward.

3. Ask questions

Master the art of asking powerful and thought-provoking questions. Hint: One of the most powerful and simple questions to ask is, “Why?” Why do you think that is happening? Why do you think you’re not hitting your goals? Why are you showing up that way?

Allow your team members to self-discover the answers to their own questions and challenges, and work with them to find a solution. But they must ultimately come up with the solution. Then, you can hold them accountable for doing what they said they were going to do. Self-awareness is the key to success. Questions help you get your team there.

4. Put the ball in their court

Too often, as leaders, we set goals and then push, pull and motivate (positively or negatively) our team members to achieve specific results.

First, your team has to be bought into the goal (if they’re not, go back to coaching tip No. 3, and ask more questions). Assuming that they are bought in and have agreed to the result — then put the ball in their court. You can’t want the results or their success more than they do.

If someone says they want a leadership opportunity, challenge them to recruit a new agent to the team in the next 30 days. They must come back to you to report their progress.

If a team member says they will make 20 contacts a day — that’s great! Just have them text you their results at the end of every day. See who shows up and delivers, and who doesn’t. You can create the best environment for your team’s success, but they still have to show up and do the work.

5. Coach in the moment

You don’t need to wait for a quarterly review or a weekly one-on-one meeting to get your coaching on. Coaching in the moment, in real-time, can have a huge impact on your team.

Your team members will be able to immediately see the subtle shifts they could make in a conversation, or see a certain situation from a completely different perspective, which might shift their awareness entirely.

In the beginning, as you’re starting to hone this skill, you can say, “Is it alright if I coach you here for a minute?” Or something a bit more direct, like, “I might be wrong here, but I noticed XYZ.”

Get their buy-in, and then get to work. Eventually, this in-the-moment coaching will just be par for the course on your team, and your team members will even start coaching each other!

6. Keep leveling up your leadership and coaching skills, and encourage your team to do the same

Self-leadership precedes leadership. As your team grows, you have to stay 10 steps ahead. The only way to do that is to constantly be working on your own personal growth — whether that’s by listening to leadership podcasts, reading personal development books, meditating or hiring your own coach.

You have to keep leveling up so that you can keep raising the level of success of everyone around you. Great leaders create other great leaders. Everything you are learning on your leadership journey can and should be shared with your team.

Are there opportunities for your team members to teach a class? Are they ready to start coaching a small group of junior agents? These opportunities keep your whole team growing together.

7. Teach your team members how to think for themselves 

Leadership and coaching isn’t about having all the answers, it’s about influence — teaching someone how to think, getting them to see something from a new perspective, or challenging them to accomplish something they didn’t think they were capable of.

When coaching, you have to be willing to say the hard things, you have to be willing to be wrong, you have to be willing to listen, and you have to be willing to let your team members fail forward. If they do make a mistake (and they will), then dive into the lessons learned and what can be done differently next time.

Let them find the solution and handle it. You don’t have to be the hero, swooping in to save the day (or the deal). As a leader and a coach, you are the guide on your team member’s journey.

8. Know when your team members need a coach (that isn’t you)

There will come a time in the growth of your organization when it’s no longer feasible to be handling all coaching conversations with your team members. That could be because of the size of your team or the complexities of owning multiple businesses. Or it could be a specific challenge that your team member is experiencing as they enter a new phase of their life.

It might be time to have them hire an external coach for their career, their fitness or another area of their life they want to focus on. Review tip No. 1.

Understand where your team members are at. And know when it’s time to recommend a different or supplementary coach.

But that doesn’t mean you ever stop coaching your team members! As a leader, coaching (guidance and accountability) should always be a part of your strategy. There is nothing wrong with having multiple coaches — many of the most successful people do. Can you really ever have too many coaches?

Once you’ve made that shift from an individual contributor to leader and committed to your leadership journey, you can no longer focus only on your results. You have a responsibility to help others around you grow and achieve success.

That’s where coaching comes in. We often think about coaching as something that happens outside of an organization (there is a time and place to hire a coach, for sure). But coaching starts with you — the leader.

Coaching is all about helping people achieve the personal and professional goals that are important to them. If you’re feeling stuck or looking to grow your business, start coaching your team today.

Adam Hergenrother is the founder and CEO of Livian, the author of The Founder & The Force Multiplier, and the host of the podcast, Business Meets Spirituality. Learn more about Adam’s companies and culture here.

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