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Is coaching agents worth the time and effort?

According to data from 3DataPulse, agents who received four or more coaching sessions in 2021, increased production by 21% year over year.

Are you debating whether or not to expand your coaching program by hiring a coach? We look at the data to determine what coaching means to your brokerage.

Providing coaching for agents has been a long-standing pillar of many brokerages’ value proposition. With increased competition and compression on company dollar, many companies are asking if they should still offer coaching to their agents. After all, it can be time consuming and difficult to measure a return on investment (ROI.) It can be difficult getting agents to attend training sessions, and some flat out don’t want to be coached. 

After analyzing data (from clients of 3DataPulse) concerning agent productivity and level of coaching, from a variety of companies from all over the country with different brands, independents, commission plans, etc., we found that there is a direct correlation with coaching your agents and an increase in their productivity. But the question remains, is the juice worth the squeeze?

Hiring a coach can be expensive

It could easily cost $100,000 to hire a good coach, especially once you factor in bonuses, taxes, benefits, etc. So, is it worth it? In looking at the data across all the companies we analyzed, we found that if an agent received no coaching, their production was down an average of 9% in 2021 over 2020.

If the agents received any coaching (at least one coaching session during the year), their production was up an average of 21% in 2021 over 2020.

To take that a step further, agents who received four or more coaching sessions in 2021 increased their production by an average of 28% in 2021 over 2020. There were several companies that we analyzed that had agents involved in coaching and had increases of 30%, 50%, and even 60% in one case.

So what does all this mean and how can you take advantage of it?

Simply put, coaching agents produces big results; it’s a 30-point swing to the good for agents involved in coaching. If you are seeing results like this, this is a great opportunity to encourage more of your agents to get into your coaching program. The easiest way to do this is to have agents who are finding success in the current program share a testimonial that you can use with other agents in your office or company.

Additionally, this should become part of your recruiting marketing and presentations. If you have a track record that shows that agents involved in your coaching increase their business by 21% or more, that has a huge impact on your ability to recruit and reduce commission conversations.

What about the agents who don’t want coaching?

But what about agents who say they don’t want to be coached? Many long-time, successful agents hear the word “coaching” and are immediately taken back to their early careers when they learned the basics of selling real estate.

While your top-producing agents likely don’t need someone to tell them how to post on social media, they do need help in other areas that are not traditionally solved by coaching. In these cases, it’s best to take a business consultant approach and not a coach approach. 

As their business consultant, you can get into other areas such as helping them review their P&L, operational efficiencies, and identifying redundancies and overlap with your company value proposition. This will make your top producers more successful and see you as more of a partner.

Reinforcement strategy

There are some agents who will struggle with a coaching program, and many managers and brokers will simply write these agents off as “un-coachable.” Pause here and acknowledge that the issue may not be with the agent in question, but more in your approach. A simple example of this is reinforcement. 

Some people thrive on positive reinforcement, while others do better with negative reinforcement. Those that need positive reinforcement need you to tell them they are doing a great job and to keep it up.

If you challenge those agents with negative reinforcement, they will become discouraged and ultimately leave the brokerage. Vice-versa, agents who thrive on negative reinforcement (ex. “You’re not ready to go on that listing appointment”) tend to see positive reinforcement as pandering and fake. They like the challenge of proving you wrong. If you’re struggling with coaching an agent, reevaluate your approach before you write them off. 

Spending time coaching your agents is proven to increase their productivity. It is also a great touch point for you which will decrease the likelihood of them leaving. If you already have staff in place to do this, it will not cost you anything more, and has only upside for you, your company, and most importantly, your agents. 

Phillip Gagnon is the founder of 3DataPulse.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of RealTrends’ editorial department and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Phillip Gagnon at phillip@3datapulse.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Tracey Velt at tvelt@realtrends.com

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