Funny how things work out and all of a sudden you are with a friend that is typically 500 miles away discussing a topic that has been eating at you for a few days……

I love being a leader. Not a boss. A leader. I love passing along passion, enthusiasm, ideas, etc. Especially in our industry because you’re able to pass along all of these really great attributes as well as knowledge and watch another person flourish. It’s huge for you as a leader when another team member can move up and/or on to bigger and better things. It’s like being a proud parent without all the incessant nagging. Just ask Tracy Spring….she is my proud “parent”. (FYI, proud “parents” make GREAT references on your resume, LOL)

There is nothing more depressing for me than having a team member that is feeling behind and frustrated as a result of the same. That makes me a bad leader. That means I have not done my job to ensure that this did not happen at all. Truth be told, it should have never even gotten to that point. But it did.

I was feeling down about it and wound up going out of town a few days after of all of this occurred and came to light. As luck would have it I was hanging out with an extremely good friend who just recently was put into a trainer role within the Charlotte 911 Operations Center (and I am probably not stating where he works at correctly, but 911 and Charlotte put together, you understand the extreme role he has as a trainer whether I typed it correctly or not). Anyhow, he was talking about how he was given that role and what he considered pros&cons and really breaking down how he adopted his training style…….

He coaches. He does not train. Nothing of the sort. He coaches. That’s exactly what he said.

Now let me provide the definition of these two separate words, according to Webster’s Dictionary:


noun \ˈtrā-niŋ\

: a process by which someone is taught the skills that are needed for an art, profession, or job


 noun, often attributive \ˈkōch\

: a person who teaches and trains an athlete or performer

: a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team and makes decisions about how the team plays during games

: a private teacher who gives someone lessons in a particular subject

b :  one who instructs or trains <an acting coach>especially:  one who instructs players in the fundamentals of a sport and directs team strategy <a football coach>


Here’s one of the largest differences listed above between these two definitions. I can teach someone simply the skills they need to do their job….TRAINING. Or I can instruct them in the fundamentals of their job and direct team strategy…..COACHING.

So I can basically give them the essentials to do their job, but am I giving them the fundamentals to do their job well?????


1. When coaching an employee, tell them what was done right and simply correct what was done wrong. Don’t constantly berate them with, “Nope, that’s not right.”, “Oh no, you did that all wrong.”, “Ummmm, why in the world would you do THAT?!?!?”. Be a positive reinforcement for them. FRIGGIN TELL THEM WHAT THEY DID RIGHT. Then just take a minute to actually CORRECT what they did wrong.

Example. “Wow, that was a really awesome closing technique, I love the way you walked the prospect to the door instead of staying at your desk. Truly treating them like a guest in our community. The only thing you need to make sure you remember is that you get their driver’s license prior to the tour starting. Otherwise, you did a phenomenal job!”

Notice the sandwhich effect there? You gave them an amazing compliment (on a side note here, please make sure it’s genuine, these are human beings and most of the time intuitive ones), then you told them what was needed to be corrected, then you said again what an amazing job they had done. Eddie Littlefield taught me that sandwhich trick (typically in regards to giving an employee a bad review, but nonetheless, it works in coaching an employee as well).

2. When coaching an employee, do not take the reins. If you’re showing them how to do something, please, let them do it. Here’s the thing, if someone tells me what buttons to push and what screen to go to, and then the buttons to push on that screen, sure you’ve told me, I’ve written it down. It means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING unless I have physically done it myself. Same goes for the employee that you are coaching. If you have administrative items that you need to coach them on, be behind them, but let their hand be on the mouse and keyboard and guide them as needed. Otherwise, I assure you, they’ll be as lost as you and I would be. HANDS ON COACHING.

3. When coaching an employee, know how to give constructive criticism. (For all employees reading this, make sure you know how to receive it as well). You may ask yourself, “What is constructive criticism?” It’s almost like the sandwhich effect above except that you’re going more in depth with what could have been done better. This is important when coaching because, let’s face it, in the realm of property management there are too many potential lawsuits in regards to Fair Housing to not provide it and to not be able to receive it. If you’re giving it, please remember to be kind in your words and in your tone of voice. If you’re receiving it, please remember, it’s for your own benefit, your leader is simply giving you the tools to make you so much better at a job they already know you ROCK AT. If you’re getting it, know they have the utmost confidence in your ability and they want to see you shine….otherwise you’d just be getting your walking papers and lots of other papers that require your signature (aka write ups).

My point? Coach. Don’t train. And coach like you would want to be coached. Nick Saban, one of my favorite coaches, said it best

We love to have the guys that have the competitive character but you have to develop the other guys or you’re not going to have enough players to go around.


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