It takes a serious commitment of both resources and time to develop an individual into a future leader, but it can be done in less time and more effectively than most executives ever realize. Here are four ways to effectively mentor leaders.

In today’s virtual, work-from-home environment, agents are seeking training and coaching in entirely new ways. In August, we’re laser-focused on what defines good coaching today and how to get the most out of it.

In any business, you must actively identify employees with leadership potential and find ways to nurture and develop that talent. Every company has employees who are proactive, reliable and thoughtful in their work and who always find a way to take the lead when needed.

As your real estate business grows, it’s critical to identify those who can climb the ranks and further expand your business in the future. Although you might feel the current demands of the job make you too busy to mentor future leaders, you will likely miss the opportunity to retain and develop top performers if you don’t.

It takes a serious commitment of both resources and time to develop an individual into a future leader, but it can be done in less time and more effectively than most executives ever realize. With that said, I’ve outlined four ways to effectively mentor future leaders.

1. Create a development plan

I’ve been fortunate to have a number of mentors at multiple stages in my career who led to me where I am today. It’s important to pay it forward for the next generation of business leaders.

As a leader, it’s exciting to meet young professionals who are determined to succeed in their career. When you identify talent in your organization or team, it’s important to help that person reach their potential. I recommend starting a conversation with the individual regarding their aptitude for the business. Explain how you see their potential to grow with the company and maybe even fulfill future business needs.

If they are eager to push their current boundaries and grow in their role, create a developmental plan on how to best harness their abilities to benefit both the agent and the business. Start by outlining some key steps you recommend he or she take to grow as a professional, whether that means furthering their education and training, assigning additional roles, etc., and make a clear plan on how to achieve those goals.

2. Create an opportunity for experiential learning

Mentoring is a commitment, but there are many exercises and experiences you can offer that won’t greatly impact your demanding schedule. The best way for young leaders to learn is by firsthand experience in as many roles as possible throughout the business.

In addition to joining meetings and calls they might learn from, see which other business leaders and executives would be willing to allow the agent to shadow them for a day. Pairing the individual with a series of mentors will allow him or her to maximize exposure while also creating a manageable time commitment for all involved.

By doing this, you will expose your future leader to multiple aspects of the company, allow him or her to gain new expertise, and also push the individual beyond his or her comfort zone, all in a real-time environment.

3. Use simple, virtual methods to mentor

No matter where we are in our careers, I believe there is always room for growth and learning from others. You don’t always have to look far for inspiration. There are a number of ways to tap the expertise of leaders in a company to share their knowledge with a larger group. Without requiring too much of a time commitment, experts in your network can share knowledge in a number of simple but effective ways.

For example, if your team or business is having a problem with a certain issue, find an informative news article, and send it around to the entire group. To take it a step further, you can even make it a bullet on the agenda for an upcoming check-in call to discuss the takeaways and any questions. You can also have different leaders in your organization record a helpful video message that might encourage your mentee and provide valuable wisdom to the greater group, especially while collaborating in person is limited at the moment.

If your company has a blog or newsletter, have a series of leaders provide insight. A few ways to do this: a Q&A about the leader’s path to success, career advice or a spotlight on exciting things they might be working on. These are all simple yet highly effective ways those seeking guidance and direction can easily learn from those around them, especially if in-person interactions are limited at this time.

4. Think both long and short term

Mentoring is a long-term commitment to help develop a young talent holistically for the future. It’s also important to think about the short term and how this type of coaching can help individuals overcome current challenges or specific training.

By incorporating both coaching and longer-term mentoring, these methods will strengthen and grow agents or staff members into future leaders in the business. When outlining their developmental plan, make a timeline of weekly, monthly and yearly goals and skills to be learned.

Be sure to check in frequently with guidance and positivity, and help provide a look at the big picture. By being present and helping along the way, you have the opportunity to show your future leaders that a broad view and understanding of the business will aid them in the future to succeed in whatever they endeavor.

Santiago Arana is a managing partner at The Agency, in Los Angeles. Connect with him on Instagram.

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