Breaking through those barriers: Keys to higher performance from an unlikely source–my piano teacher.
This year, I’m focusing on performance–higher performance for agents, leadership, and trainers. All of these principles are foundationed in those actions that create higher performance taken from a field that absolutely depends on increasing performance–music.
What does my piano teacher have to do with real estate coaching–or training? Everything. Here’s what I learned about coaching great performance–not from a business coach, but from my great piano teacher (in fact, I’ve had many of them.)
Good or Great?
As you know, some pianists become great, while most others just become good enough to play the notes. It’s the same with trainers’ outcomes. 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. As you read this, ask yourself, “How am I, as a trainer and/or coach, applying these principles?” “What outcomes am I getting?”
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 Coach ability Assessment I provide potential clients.
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. 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.
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.
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. In my online coaching program for new agents, Up and Running in Real Estate, I’ve put these components into the program as an integral way to assure great performance.
Just updated and revised to make it an easy and fun experience!