An experienced industry manager says the best guidance an agent can get is through a mentoring relationship.
Penelope Valentine, general manager of LJ Hooker Collaroy, said she has had various mentors throughout her career, but has started a formal mentoring relationship with a friend who has decades of real estate experience.
“Her only agenda is to help me through challenges; she never makes decisions for me, but she always draws on her experience and explains what she’s done in similar circumstances, so it’s more around guiding and supporting through tough decisions and allowing me to come to my own conclusions,” she told RPM.
According to Ms Valentine, her mentor is 10 years older than her and has been in real estate for 26 years, while Ms Valentine has been in the industry for 13 years.
“She’s been doing it a long time in a similar role; she heads up a franchise group, so it’s that operational, managerial and leadership role that she needs to bring to the table on a daily basis,” she said.
“She’s also got the experience of going through different marketplaces and I think, in real estate, you have to be able to respond to a very different landscape depending on what the market is doing.”
Ms Valentine said she’s been able to develop a strong and trusting relationship with her mentor, since the two were initially friends.
“If [agents] don’t trust their mentor, then they tend not to push boundaries, and that’s the only reason you grow as an individual – you push through those fear boundaries.”
Meetings with her mentor occur once a month and, in preparation, Ms Valentine reviews her top challenges and difficult conversations she’s had, putting together questions and objectives beforehand.
“I think [preparation is] really important within these mentor/mentee relationships – the mentee needs to drive it, so they need to come armed with all the information that they want to try and get out of their mentor; they need to plan and they need to be meticulous in the way in which they ask the questions, so they can really use the time valuably.”
For property managers looking for mentors, Ms Valentine recommends doing some initial research by outlining what you hope to achieve and looking at active contributors to industry-specific news sites, like RPM and Real Estate Business.
“Also, talk to your friends about people that are in management or leadership or doing really well in their field, and you just approach them,” she said.
“If you’re in a junior role, talk to your manager, or talk to the leader or the owner of your business and explain what you’re looking for, because you may be able to leverage off their network as well.”