What is a Coach?
A weird thing happened to me on the way to the coaching call last week…
Throughout my life, I’ve had coaches. In grade school I had Soccer and Basketball coaches. In Junior High and High School, I had swimming and water polo coaches. In business I’ve had mentors and I’ve had coaches. Specifically in my Real Estate career I’ve had a number of really good coaches, from a number of different companies. For the most part, they have all challenged me to be better than what I thought I could be on my own. Until last week.
I’ve been coached since August of last year by a company that by all accounts is amazing at what they do. When I started in coaching with this company, I was paired with a coach who sent me the normal “Tell me about your business” survey in which I had to fill out things like; Number of transactions closed last year, average sales price, average commission, etc. Pretty standard stuff. I was asked to send in my DISC profile and my AVA (A Keller Williams personality profile). I filled out all the forms and happily sent in my material to my new coach. We had an introductory call and set up our weekly coaching calls. Everything was going swimmingly!
But then I had some trips planned, I ended up in the hospital, I ended up cancelling a call or two because I was embarrassed that I didn’t do what I said I would do. My coach cancelled a couple of calls because of health issues and because he set up group coaching calls where he interviewed one person or another and all of us being coached by him could listen in. I was frustrated because whenever we did have the time to talk, all we talked about for the short 30 minutes we had available was “How many active listings do you have?” “How many buyers are you and Sandra working with?” “How many pending transactions do you have?” etc. We only seemed to talk about the current state of my business, not how to propel it forward. I was sent a survey asking how I liked my coaching so far. This was in October I think. To be honest, I blasted my coach. I said I think I need a new coach because I wasn’t getting anything out of my coaching sessions. I fully admit I should have called my coach and told him that I was frustrated, and I didn’t do that.
I was called by the coaching company asking for more details and I told them all the stuff above. I took responsibility for missing as many calls as my coach did. They took all my info and told me they would share it with my coach. I said that was fine, because I should have called him anyway instead of filling out the survey. On our next coaching call and all subsequent coaching calls, it was never brought up. But all of a sudden I was getting what I was missing. My coach was challenging me to complete tasks, think about things in different ways. THIS was coaching! When my coach cancelled all his other coaching calls for the holidays, he kept calling me on our appointed time. Making up for ones we missed, and not wanting to lose momentum. Awesome!
Then the first call after Christmas, it was back to the same ol’ “How many listings do you have?” so I chalked it up to “Well we’re just getting expectations set for the new year, we’ll be back to actually coaching next week”. Then next week came (Last Monday) and it started again “How many listings?” “How many pending?” “How many buyers?” and the math that followed. “If you want to close 100 transactions by the end of the year, you need 22 closed or in escrow by February 15th”. I tried to interject a couple times during the call, but my coach would not be derailed. We ended the call with my being frustrated and not given an opportunity to express that frustration. So I do what I do, I sent an e-mail.
I said “Maybe I’m slow, but I’m not sure why we’re back to only discussing my numbers every week? I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I know that to have 22 closed by the end of March those 22 need to be closed or pending by February 15th to have a shot at it. What am I missing?” The response I got back floored me. I was told that There was a lot he wanted to cover with me but maybe it was time for a transfer. What? He went on to say “Trust the process”. So I replied “I’m happy to trust the process if I know it’s going somewhere, so where is this going?” No reply. That was Monday. So I waited through Tuesday. Nothing. Wednesday I sent a text saying “I’m assuming we’re done since I haven’t gotten a reply to either of my e-mails?” (I had sent another e-mail detailing my uber follow up system which I had explained to him on a number of calls, but he kept asking “how to you remember to follow up with people? Sticky notes?”) He replied right away and said he’d been busy but he’d get back to me that evening. I asked that he wait until Thursday as I had to put Dixie down that evening and I wasn’t up for another emotional battle.
So Thursday came and went and nothing. I waited until the end of business on Friday and finally sent an e-mail that said “Please cancel all further calls”. On Sunday I got the reply that the company would send me a cancellation form on Monday. Which I haven’t received yet, despite two phone calls and an e-mail to them.
So I absolutely will take blame for my part in this, but what I don’t understand is what I did wrong? I simply asked a question and was told to trust the process. I asked what the process was and got crickets. When I was coached by another company, their mantra was “Calls, notes and pop-bys” and when I would get on the phone with my coach, I’d say “Can we talk about anything OTHER than my Calls Notes and Pop-bys?” and I would simply give them the numbers for each of those categories and 2 minutes later we were on to exploring what it was that would propel my business forward. And it worked marvelously! Those coaches asked me what I needed and they took the time to see that what I wanted wasn’t necessarily what I needed and they guided me to what it was that I ACTUALLY needed. For every coach I have had, I’ve been able to put a tangible “This is the thing I got out of this coaching that earned me X more dollars than I would have earned without them”. This latest example, I’ve been coached for 6 months, and I can tell you how many active listings I have and how many I need by February 15th to get to 22 closed by March 31st, but beyond that, I can’t say how it helped my business at all. But I could have told you all of that before I started coaching too.
Am I just being unrealistic? Do I have an expectation of my coach that is too high? When I was a swimmer and I wanted to get better at Butterfly (my favorite stroke) my coach would give me drills to do to improve my time and my technique. What am I missing? Maybe I am just slow. I hope the company calls me tomorrow so I can either get a new coach that will push me to go beyond, or cancel my contract so I don’t spend another 6 months of paying for coaching without a coach.