Helping Others Succeed: Touching Someone

AT&T, back in the day, ran a highly successful radio and TV ad with a tag line and musical jingle “reach out and touch someone”. The campaign ran for years. Why? Because that slogan meant something deeply personal and appealing to a lot of people. It created a feeling that people responded positively to. It was built on a principle and an emotion that are widely shared and valued.

It drove AT&T’s retail business–until the federal government relented to pressure from a new generation of telecom companies who wanted to “compete” with AT&T. They could not, so the government created the opportunity for them, by judicially (through the federal courts) breaking up the AT&T monopoly’s hold on long distance voice and video transmission.

A lot of other companies were created in the wake of “the Bell System breakup”, and a lot of new product ideas, once held solely by AT&T, ended up in the hands of new competitors..including cellular phone hardware, software, and networking by the way!

Whenever I think about my coaching expereinces, I think about “reach out and touch someone.” OK, now I’m back on track!

As a coach, one of your principal jobs is to connect with your client–in a personal way, a way that goes beyond leads, budgeting, scripts, and even models and systems.

Real estate has been described to me for years by top agents as “a confidence game.” That is so true, Consumers report year after year (in NAR’s annual survey of buyers and sellers) that one of their top criteria for selecting an agent is that they trust that person–they have confidence that the agent has their best interests at heart. They believe the agent knows real estate markets, transactions, and negotiation well enough to assure their goals will be met.

I’m finding that building a relationship based on trust and confidence makes coaching programs work too.

The coach needs to be credible–the coaching candidate wonders “do they understand my business?”

The coach needs to show trustworthiness–the person being coached wants to know “can I share my innermost wishes, wants, and concerns without worrying that what I say will be repeated to others?”

The coach needs to be a communicator–the agent they’re working with wants to hear both support and challenges clearly. They need to feel–whether or not they like the feedback they’re getting–that the message is clear an it’s something they can act on.

And, the coach needs to show empathy. Dianna Kokoszka, head of MAPS, says “success in real estate is simple, not easy.” Agent in a running dialog with a coach need to feel that the coach–while challenging and pushing them out off their comfort zone–is on their side in the hard work that leads to success. Does the coach get it that knocking on doors in 100 degree heat is definitely “simple, not easy”? Do they show they know what it can feel like to ask a new “Met” for their email address and phone number–making that person a contact (the first step to a lead)?

Coaching is not necessarily meant to be a feel good experience. It can be. It can also be the stuff that make the person being coached dig deep–to challenge themselves to do more, or do better, or to change their goals.

That’s why coaching, to me, is about “touching someone.” It about getting to a point in working with an agent where the dialog, the re-thinking, the evaluating, planning, and doing all happen in an atmosphere of marked by mutual trust and confidence. 

There’s a lot in common between the agent-coach relationship and the best relationships between agents and their clients. They are built on the same kind of foundation–and, in the end, they both succeed because of results! 

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