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29 August 2008

Coaching Versus Managing Gen X and Gen Y Agents

Posted by Wendy Forsythe

I was speaking with a broker the other day who was sharing his frustrations with attracting and retaining “younger” agents. It was his opinion that Gen Y and Gen X candidates don’t understand what it takes to be successful in our industry and aren’t willing to work hard. In his opinion, these behavior traits combined with the current market conditions has led him to the conclusion that recruiting younger agents isn’t worth the effort. He then proceeded to ask me what I thought of his conclusions.

I disagreed.

Attracting Gen X and Gen Y agents is not only worth the effort, but critical to the success of any brokerage. Here are my thoughts…

  • Professional sports teams have managers and coaches. The reason for this is because these are two different jobs. In most real estate offices, the leader has to wear many hats. If you want to attract and retain Gen X and Gen Y agents you have to wear your coaching hat, not your manager’s hat.

Here are some examples of the differences between messages that managers give versus messages that coaches give.

  • Manager’s message: “This business this difficult, you’ll have to be willing to work hard and there will be no guarantee of the money you will make.”
  • Coach’s message: “If you focus on the right activities, you’ll see the results and I’ll work with you every step of the way.”
  • Manager’s message: “You’ll have to be patient, it takes time to get established in this business. It is not going to happen overnight.”
  • Coach’s message: “You can do it. You are doing all the right things. Keep focused.”
  • Manager’s message: “This is a down market, we’ll just have to wait it out.”
  • Coach’s message: “People buy and sell houses in all market conditions. Let’s discuss your prospecting strategies.”

Gen X and Gen Y personalities are looking for positive reinforcement backed up by game plans and specific to do’s. This is coaching. A great coach can lead their team to accomplish amazing things. Too often, younger people in real estate feel managed, not coached. They don’t feel they are getting any direction and “coaching” from their office managers.

On your next new agent interview or interaction with one of your existing Gen X or Gen Y agents, think about the messages you are communicating. Are you communicating like a manager or a coach?

2 thoughts on “Coaching Versus Managing Gen X and Gen Y Agents

  1. I'm a Gen-X'er who is interested in getting into the real estate field. I have to admit I found this article a little insulting. If my boss spoke to me like the coach I would be so offended. If the boss spoke like the manager I would feel like I was being spoken down to as if I wasn't smart enough to understand. I would wonder why I was hired if they didn't find me strong enough to handle the work or smart enough to understand it.

    I would rather be given the hard facts and then genuine advice in real estate sales. Coddling offends me, advice and constructive criticism empower me.

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