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Archive for Coaching

Jul
18

Why You NEED a Training Calendar

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Why do you need a training calendar? Do you have one now? You need one for several reasons.

First, the majority of real estate offices do not have training calendars. Instead, they schedule things as they come up–with little rhyme nor as to why those events are put on the calendar. Don’t let that be you!

Here’s what creating a training calendar will do for you:

1. Organize your training as part of your business plan for next year

2. Have a time-saving guide to implement the training you need for your company to move forward

3. Use the training calendar to recruit (internal AND external)

In October (Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue, Wa.) , I’m doing my live version of Instructor Development Workshop. As a bonus, I’m going to share my training calendar analysis tool. (And you can grab it at the end of this blog, too).

small write outline

In fact, I doubt most managers make training a part of their business plan! Yet, training is the second-most important component to move our productivity and profitability up (recruiting the right people is #1).

Problems with Most Training Calendars

Before you read this paragraph, if you don’t have a training calendar, grab a calendar and write down the training events you intend to do next year. Now, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest problems with training calendars:

1. They don’t focus on the training events that can change the profitability and productivity of the office (too many ‘technical’ courses, and not enough sales courses)

2. They don’t focus on training events to meet the needs of each of your career life cycles (new, growth, and maturity)--they are skewed to one group of agents–usually new)

3. They don’t consist of measurable training, so you know what works

Take a look now at my analysis too, Your Training Calendar.

Question for You

What did you learn from your analysis?

trainer

Check out my training resources here.

Is your onboarding process creating loyalty or ‘buyer’s remorse’?

What do your agents think about your onboarding process?

In my earlier blogs, we’ve explored the importance of onboarding, and some of the common mistakes we all make. I am in the midst of a consulting assignment with a real estate company. They asked me to evaluate their onboarding process and make recommendations. To do that, I created and did an onboarding questionnaire. In this blog, I’m using ‘we’ do protray the company leadership and me.

I promised I’d share my onboarding questionnaire, so here it is.

Have you ever found out what your agents think about your process? Now is an excellent time to do this. Use my questionnaire and add your own questions. I asked these questions over the phone. At first, agents were reticent to share. Then, as I explained we were working to tighten the process, they opened up, and gave us great information. The bottom line: They were thrilled we had asked them! It made them feel an important part of the organization.

When you ask: Don’t judge, and don’t criticize. Just accept the information or probe for more detail.

My Results of My Survey

I’m going to share the results of my survey here with you. Some of the results were surprising; some were predictable.

What We Did With the Results of the Survey

We held a series of meetings to discuss the results. We then assigned duties to make this whole process better. We hired a person whose main job is to ‘dog those agents’ tracks through the complete onboarding process. Do you think this will result in a better retention record? We do.

Your turn: What are you doing to assure your onboarding process continues the excitement and loyalty you set up during your interview process? Or, have you thought about it?

Want to talk about my helping you create a world-class onboarding process? Email me at carla@carlacross.com or call me at 425-392-6914. Let’s get this to mastery level!

Here are four ways to avoid boring them to tears in a training session.

I just sat in on a training session for new real estate agents, and I had trouble sitting there. Why? Because the presenter was using almost all lecture.  Yes, the agents were listening intently. Yes, they seemed eager to learn. But, that lecture was not helping them learn. They needed to get involved!

Not only that, the students were new real estate agents, scared of a new career in which everything was up to them! They needed exercises to get confidence, to create ‘buddies’, and to meld as a team.

So, instead of lecturing, try breaking up your presenter-directed lecture with these techniques:

  1. Do a warm-up to loosen up everyone, teamify, have fun, and show that it’s going to be an exciting, fun-filled, course (more about how to do a warm-up in another blog).
  2. Instead of asking a question and letting people raise their hands to answer, turn it over to the group, and work in small groups to come up with answers. Then, name a reporter and compare answers (this is the task force, which I’ll also blog about later). This makes it much more interesting to the people, they get to know each other, and they gain confidence that then can come up with good answers.
  3. Pair up people to have them compare opinions, thoughts, and answers. You’ll be starting the buddy system now.
  4. Use accountability: Do you have it built in? You’ll want to build in assignments to complete so the students are learning in the field. That way, they’ll pay much more attention to you and learn a lot more.

Your turn:

How can you use these methods to wake up your students, get them involved, and get them learning at a much higher level?

 

Here’s a great way to teach: the case study. It’s a technique almost every trainer/presenter can use to break up that monotomous and less than effective teaching method too many of us rely on–the lecture.

This month, I’m focusing on training and trainers. Why? Because you actually have the ability to change lives!

In my last blog, I provided a video on the case study.

What’s a case study?

A small group exercise that has people working on a ‘story problem’. This ‘story problem’ can be quite intricate and long. It should have elements that you’ve taught earlier. Usually, case studies are given toward the end of the course to put judgment to work and check learning. It has the ‘story problem’. Then, it asks students to make decisions about the ‘story’ based on what they’ve learned in your course.

Click here for an example of a case study I use when I teach Instructor Development Workshop.

Why Use a Case Study?

. It also tells you if you need to spend some time in certain areas.

Get More Great Reviews, Too!

The bonus for your using the case study? You’ll get more students really enjoying the course, learning better, and giving you great reviews!

Gain My Perspective on Teaching AND New Skills!

Want more teaching skills? Join me for one of my instructor workshops. They have 15 clock hours and fulfill the qualifications to become an instructor in Washington state for clock hour courses. The next one ‘live’ is coming up Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue. See more here.

Or, if you want to get certified to teach clock hour courses and learn great new teaching skills ‘on your own time’, check out my distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer.

Have you already taken instructor courses? If so, you’ll love my advanced course, Beyond the Basics: Training Techniques to Make that Course Come Alive. We use your course and put exciting, innovative teaching methods into it so you gain confidence AND the skills to energize your courses. I’m teaching this course ‘live’ Oct. 23-24 in Bellevue (7.5 clock hours, too).


Does your course ‘fit’ the adult learner?

May is my designated Trainer Appreciation Month. So, I’m writing a blog series to help trainers teach and write great courses. And, I’m offering special discounts on my resources for trainers. See them here.

Most real estate courses are not written with adult learning principles in mind. So, let’s look at these truisms and write our courses to reach the adult learner effectively. This is one of the areas we address in my resource on how to write a course (click here to see it).

From writing courses for most of the major real estate franchises, and training thousands of real estate instructors, I’ve found some undeniable truisms. Here’s one:

Why Write a Course for the Adult Learner?

Benefits to teaching to these principles in your course:

  • Adults aren’t bored (!)
  • Adults feel important
  • Adults pay attention
  • Adults retain more
  • Adults feel protected; low risk environment
  • Adults like you better
  • Easier for you to teach!

The Big Principles to Keep in Mind

Adults learn through association.

We learn what we already know. Two fellows teaching community colleges instructors how to teach shared that one with me. How insightful!

How do skilled presenters accomplish this in a course environment?

Do you relate what you’re teaching to the adult’s prior experience? Or, do you jump right into a complex theory and expect your students to keep up…..

Adults learn by doing

Life is do it yourself. Do you have your students doing an action in class? What happens in your course to assure the students are doing? How do you know they can do whatever it is you are teaching them to do? Observe it in class, of course!

Retention soars when adults do and say something at the same time. How are you using this principle in your course?

How much doing of significance do you have planned in your class?

Big principle: How we retain information is directly related to how we acquire that information.

Would you say that instructors are most concerned with short-term, or long-term student learning?

Adults learn from each other

Use teaching methods to encourage information exchange.

How do you assure students are exchanging information? Are you using various alternative delivery methods (not lecture) to assure students are learning not only from you, but from one another?

Adults learn through repetition

Use several approaches to the same concept/process. Does your course offer review and repetition to assure students are really learning?

Adults learn through rapid recall

What rapid recall methods have you seen used in the classroom? Do you do this so you ‘tie up’ each section before you move on?

Adults seek to satisfy individual needs

Experience levels vary greatly. How would an instructor find out each student’s individual experience levels prior to getting into the classroom?When I’m teaching Instructor Development Workshop, I provide each attendee a ‘pre-conference survey’ at registration, so I can see the needs and level of learning of that person. Even the words used give me some powerful hints about each attendee’s priorities and beliefs!

Adults learn practical information.

They want information and skills to directly apply to their lives–right away.

How have you seen instructors assure that the information is not only applicable, but that the student applies the information to their challenges, while in the classroom? Are you assuring that each of your attendee translates the course information/skills into action plans?

Go back to the course your teaching or writing and see if you are adequately addressing how adults learn. Doing so is one of the attributes of a real course, not just an ‘information overload!

Expert Guidance to Write that Great Course–at a $30 discount this Month!

If you’re serious about writing that great course, this is the resource for you. Step by step, Carla Cross, who has written courses for Re/Max, Better Homes and Gardens, Keller Williams Realty, GMAC, Royal LePage, and CRB, shows you exactly how to create your course and your outline. And, for those Washington state instructors, she shares tips on how to get your course approved for clock hours.

This resource is digital. You will get access immediately.

May Trainer Appreciation Month bonus: Keys to a Killer Introduction

This ‘how to write a course’ includes:

2 instructional videos
Templates to use as guides for course creation
Examples of courses
2 ‘cheat sheets’ to write your course modules

Tips on how to write teaching methods right into that course, so you can sell it!

Guidance in how to get your course approved in Washington state.

With 95 pages, this resource, along with the 2 instructional videos, shows you exactly how to create a course that has substance, sizzle, and ‘sell’!

May Trainer Appreciation Month price: $99.95 with coupon create course. (Regularly $129.95. Save $30)

Click here for more information and to order. You’ll get immediate access to the 95-page resource guide and 2 instructional videos. Remember, to get your discount use the coupon code create course.



Here are the 5 great performance principles I learned from my piano teacher.

Why are these so important? Because, as trainers, we want to

change behavior,

 

 

not just impart information!

Big questions right now: Are you training with methods that actually change behavior, or are you just imparting information you think will help your students?

PS. If you want creative training techniques that really do change behavior, check out my unique course, Instructor Development WorkshopOr, see my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. Both qualify instructors to teach clock hour courses in Washington state.

Why Some Get Results–and Others Don’t

Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance (which is what you want to shoot for when you teach!).

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them.

Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc.

Trainers and coaches: What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them. They won’t let the students perform in front of others if the student has not reached compentency levels.

Trainers and coaches: How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

Trainers and coaches: Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. So, each one of these 5 principles is in my initial online training program for newer agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. Check it out. Your agents will be performing better and faster with this program and principles.

Is Your Initial Training Program Getting the Results you Want?

Or, a better question: Do you know what the results are? With my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, you see the progress your agent is making each week. You measure the results in concrete terms. Check it out. It will save you time, and money, and give you much greater retention!

Challenge: How would you teach this? Without lecturing!!!

In a month from now, I’ll be doing a training on how to make your courses come alive. Why? Because, unfortunately, most real estate courses consist of someone at the front of the room droning on…..and on….and on. Now, I don’t think that’s the instructor’s fault, to an extent. I think it’s the fault of the course writer.

The Challenge: Few Courses Written for the Instructor to Teach

You innocently pick up the course outline (it’s big and heavy, of course), and you start talking. How long does it take for your audience to quit listening and play with their phones? 3 minutes? 10 minutes? Probably no longer than that.

It Doesn’t Matter if You’re an Expert–or an Expert Lecturer

In truth, our attention spans have shrunken–and continue to shrink. So, we instructors just can’t talk through that outline and expect to keep the audience’s attention. But, what do we do instead? In this series of blogs, I’ll show you how to take part of that outline and make it more interesting.

In Most Cases, YOU Have to Also Put in the Teaching Methods

Since few courses have these teaching methods written in, you’ll have to develop the skills to take that boring outline and put in various and varied teaching methods. Find out how to do that in my upcoming course: Beyond the Basics: Advanced Skills to Make that Course Come Alive, coming up April 23-24 (approved for 7.5 clock hours in Washington state).

Divide and Conquer: Using the Task Force

One of the reasons our real estate audiences get antsy is that they don’t like to sit quietly. But, you’ve probably seen the room get out of control if you encourage wild, unabated discussion! So, how do you help them talk and still control the situation? Divide and Conquer. Instead of having them all talk in open discussion, use the small group method. That’s called ‘task force’, because you’re literally putting them into small groups to work on a task they can accomplish.

Here’s an example of how to take the facts in that outline and throw them to the audience to reveal. Think of it this way: Instead of you–standing up in front of everyone and telling, and telling, and telling, you ask small groups to tackle parts of your topic and come up with solutions.

The Example of a Task Force

I teach Instructor Development Workshop, (coming April 9-10 in Bellevue, Wa), which certifies instructors in the state of Washinton to teach clock-hour approved courses. In one part of the outline, the topic is How Adults Learn. I have 3 pages in that outline that innumerate all the ways adults learn, including obstacles to adult learning.

Your turn: If I were to give you that outline and ask you to teach it, how would you proceed? You might just talk through those 3 pages, reading what I’d written. Hate to tell you, but that would be so boring! (And you wouldn’t learn what your audience does and does not know!) Instead, here’s how I do it.

Using the Task Force to Explore ‘How Adults Learn’

Here’s how I teach this section. I divide that topic into 4 areas: How adults learn, the obstacles to adult learning, the attributes of the real estate adult learner, and effective retention techniques.

See the slide from my Insructor Development Workshop I use that gives instructions to the task forces here.

Here are 2 Keys to doing Task Forces:

  1. The tasks must be something that the attendees can accomplish from information they already have
  2. The tasks must be meaningful to what you’re teaching

Task Forces Must be Meaningful: And a Springboard

Look at the last sentence in the slide. That’s my ‘springboard’. I’m asking the attendees to figure out ‘what does it mean to me?” That’s the relevance of the exercise.

In later blogs, I’ll give you tips on using this and other ‘divide and conquer’ methods to make your teaching–and their learning–much more enjoyable! You’ll get great reviews and return customers!

Let me Help your Instructors Put Pizazzz into those Courses

There are 2 ways I can help you: If you’re in Washington state, come to my class April 23-24. Or, invite me to your company anywhere in the US or Canada and I’ll customize a special session for you. I use YOUR outlines and we actually put in the methods and teach them. You’ll get much better attendance at your courses, have excited, enthusiastic instructors, and find it easier to get return business!

Contact me to find out how I can help. Let’s make your courses shine!

Not a speaker? Here are four tips to present like a pro.

We’ve all been there. We’ve been asked to speak for ten minutes to a group of people. Our first reaction is extreme fear. Our second reaction is,

1.Slow Down

Most speakers, amateurs or professionals, speak too fast. Slow down. Pretend you are speaking to a huge room and project your voice to the back of the room. You’ll find yourself going slower and using more inflection (vocal dynamics) . Better delivery!

2. Get Persuasive

There is a process for everything, including crafting a persuasive presentation. It’s simple. It’s the structure of your favorite popular tune: ABA. In other words, it starts with a theme, develops the ‘bridge’ in the middle, (supporting information to your point of view), and ends with the same theme.

Free giveaway in this blog: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

3.Launch with a Great Start

How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning. Post the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations.

4. Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”…..Remember, it’s just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close with reminding the audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Remember, your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade. And, here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. Otherwise, simply read a book!

Let Me Work with Your Trainers to Create Better Presentations

Are your courses boring? Are those presentations great for taking a nap? Are you instructors talking through every outline? And, most importantly, are your courses not filling up? It’s time to invite me to work with your instructor group.

Contact me and we’ll work out the best solution for you!

Share this with your presenters: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

 

Here are 4 ways your meetings go wrong, and a planner to assure they go right.

This month, I’m focusing on the main responsibilities of a real estate manager. If you’re going into management, how are you going to make your meetings exciting, interesting, and participative?

Death By Meeting…….

If you haven’t been in a meeting that went sideways, you probably haven’t attended enough meetings! I just attended a meeting that was almost painful to experience. It went on and on, with little organization. The speakers had no rhyme nor reason to their presentations. And, finally, I wasn’t even sure what we were to do as a result of this meeting!

As I sat there, I thought, “How can I help meeting planners/managers/presenters avoid the mistakes I’m experiencing and plan a meeting that works every time?” I came up with this Presentation Planner and Promotion form. Using it with your presenters will assure that you avoid these four big mistakes:

1. No promotion to your target audience for the meeting
2. No focus to the meeting–no theme, no stated benefits to the target audience
3. Presenters do not have a format from which to create their presentations–so they just wander around in a vast wasteland of facts and figures
4. There’s no call to action as a result of the speaker or of the meeting

Promoting Your Event

So, my Presentation Planner includes a section on promotion. After all, as you plan your presentation, you’ll naturally think:

  • Who is the event targeted to?
  • What are the 3 major benefits to this target audience?
  • What will they walk away with?
  • Where will I promote it?

The planner I created will help you avoid the 4 common mistakes listed above. It not only assures a persuasive presentation, it helps you promote the event, too!

Click here to grab your Presentation/Promotion Planner.

I’m Here to Help You Become a Great Leader!

If you’re new to management, or you’re being challenged in management, I can help. My Leadership Mastery individual, custom coaching program will help you master the major activities of management–stepping you from ‘maintenance management’ to true leadership. Check out my program here. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Going into management? How are you going to motivate?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

As managers, we agonize over how to motivating our agents/employees. Yet, we generally know little about how motivation really works. Here is one psychologist’s view on motivation, with tips on how to make it work for you in the workplace.

Different strokes for different folks. We think people are motivated by whatever motivates us. If we like to be up in front of hundreds and receive those number one trophies, we assume others do, too. Not true. MCClelland, a psychologist who wrote lots about motivation (see Achieving Society, Power is the Great Motivator), observed that people were motivated by one of these motivators:

a. achievement
b. affiliation
c. power

Identifying Who’s Who

What are some actions that achievers demonstrate?

What are some actions affiliators demonstrate?

What are some actions power people demonstrate?

Which one are you motivated by? How do you know? Think of a time in your life when you were very motivated by something. Was that ‘something’ categorized as achievement, affiliation, or power? You can ask your team members that same question, and find out their dominant motivator (and just observe them in action, too!).

Managing to the Motivators

McClelland said, that, if you’re managing an achiever, you should:

  • provide clear-cut goals
  • give prompt feedback

Managing an affiliator? You should:

  • treat him/her as an individual
  • be emphathetic
  • provide encouragement

With the power person, you should:

  • set clear guidelines
  • talk about how to win
  • speak in terms of results

Who Challenges You?

To really put this to work, pick a person you manage that you find challenging. Pinpoint their main motivator. Try the actions McClelland suggests. I’ll bet you’ll not only get more cooperation, you’ll start to feel ‘in tune’ with that person–and provide the atmosphere for them where they can be motivated–their way.

For your next sales meeting: Explain McClleland’s approach to motivators. Ask agents about 3 times in their lives when they were really motivated to achieve something. Then, explain the 3 categories, and ask agents to choose their dominant motivator.

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

If you’re a new manager. You’ll want to cut your time frame by interviewing more effectively. You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.