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Kathleen Black: “If you really believe in it, bet your house on it”

Checking-in is a saving grace, for you and your team. Checking-in with your team, can look like team meetings, one-on-one meetings, or quick messages! Make sure to document their feedback/thoughts so you can revisit their states on a regular basis! This is an effective way to track delegation, without micromanaging, and still giving confidence to your […]

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Checking-in is a saving grace, for you and your team. Checking-in with your team, can look like team meetings, one-on-one meetings, or quick messages! Make sure to document their feedback/thoughts so you can revisit their states on a regular basis!

This is an effective way to track delegation, without micromanaging, and still giving confidence to your team. Focus equates to action. Cutting through the noise is part of the value in a team environment. We don’t need to get overwhelmed. We need to get clear on priorities and hyper-focus to win together.


As part of my series about the “How To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathleen Black, North America’s leading real estate team coach and trainer, delivering her proven success techniques to agents and teams around the world. That growth is worth billions in additional sales volume annually across her client network with 80% of her clients being national top 1% producers. Kathleen, the best selling author of “The Top 1% Life”, will help you to expand your business, at a fraction of the time and cost, using the tried, tested, and true “KBCC Ultimate Expansion Strategy” that has powered her client growth.

The success of KBCC centers around integrity, honesty, and results-driven measures, the very things that represent Kathleen. Kathleen has been named twice as Top Elite Women Driving the Future of Real Estate by REP Magazine and as Top 20 Emerging Leaders by T3 Sixty’s 2018 Swanepoel Report. She was recognized within the top 1% of Realtors in the Toronto Real Estate Board, has ten plus years of agent development experience, and hundreds of teams attribute their growth and success to Kathleen’s leadership. Most recently, Kathleen was awarded with the Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All/ Iconic Leaders Creating a Better World for All Award. This award is based on experience, results, influence, and commitment to change the world for the better of all internationally.

Kathleen is also the driving-force behind the Ultimate Team Summit, the largest team specific Real Estate summit in North America and the Ultimate Mastermind Series of events, including the 100 Deal + Ultimate Mastermind.

Kathleen lives in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada with her two free spirited, independent, and very loved children Ethan and Ella, and their cat Ethel.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I was selling real estate as a busy single mom of two children and I had done a lot of content and systems development with a look to creating better work life balance.

The team I worked with was creating a coaching company and I had a background in psychology, so it just seemed like a natural fit to try to become involved.

That coaching company found itself in some challenging territory in its early days and there were differing opinions within the ownership as to how it should be resolved.

This ultimately resulted in the departure of the director of coaching and I was given the opportunity to step into that role within 18 months of the company going live. I had been a coach for just under one year at that point.

It was really a chain of complicated events that led to a great opportunity for me.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I moved on from Director of Coaching to Director of Operations in a relatively short time and became half owner of the company with access and full decision-making authority. At that time the books were opened to me and it was instantly evident that the company was in quite a bit of financial difficulty. I played a significant role in turning the company around. I led the clearing of about $180k in debt and revamped the majority of the content which led to considerably stronger client retention.

As things were turning around, my (largely silent) partner decided they wanted to go in a different direction professionally. I was presented with some difficult questions; ‘Is this who I am, can I look at my children in the face with integrity if I don’t stand up and defend what I have built, what will I do if I don’t do this’. I remember fear. I remember the reality of having bills to pay. I also remembered some great advice I had been given; ‘If you really believe in it, bet your house on it’.

Ultimately, I went all in. I stood up for myself. The result of that pivotal moment saw my shares bought out, half of the client base following me to the new company based on the content I owned, and within a month and a half my client roster was full. Within three months, head down and determined, I had a client roster that occupied a second coach as well. Necessity and focus were the defining factors in my early success.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

An example that I give often is I used to mentor, coach and train while I was relatively new to selling, so I often had someone shadowing me.

I ended up realizing a couple of years into it when I left a buyer presentation, which I would sign 98 per cent of, with one of my mentees, when she told me that she had seen me present my buyer consultations many times, and that she had learned so much, but the logo on the powerpoint said ‘Your Team Name Here”.

I didn’t even realize that for two years I had been using my coaching company’s version of my buyer consultation and it didn’t even have our team logo on it, and yet I was still signing 98 per cent of all consultations I sat down in front of and attended.

When building a business it’s really easy to say you need the perfect brand, but in reality what you need are the clients.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Our company stands out because we build strong businesses, in an industry that is often still relying on old methods and models, which are increasingly less and less effective.

We stand out because we actually track, and have a strategy that works to expand, where teams are making much more money than traditional brokerages and offering superior value, where team members are able to sell much more and have more time.

I think in an industry where we have all male top thought leaders, we stand out in being a female led team, but also a team that is committed to efficiency, productivity, and profitability, without looking at it as if it’s a bad name.

We bring a systematic, process driven approach which allows us to be more agile and to lean into technology changes, instead of fearing them.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Long days at the office along with constant work-related emails after hours can all contribute to workplace burnout.

But even without a physical office to go to, burnout can happen working from home, and it feels like it’s even more likely now due to the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic.

In order to not feel the burnout, I recommend following these four key steps.

  1. Get Strategic

If you start out strategically, with a strategic model, you will consider future needs for more time, relief, or somebody who can oversee parts of your business as you grow.

A strategic model will give you clarity and strategy. Once you get those two components, you need to be able to take your existing business to create a business structured to grow.

A strong strategic model will allow you to reinvest in the business in the right places to offer the top client experience to the public, while also reinvesting in your business platform.

2. Create your ‘Perfect Week’

We’re all living in a different reality right now, we’re not leaving the house, we have different people pulling on our time, and some people may have their kids at home with them, along with other distractions.

So how do you find the element to work this other aspect of life into your day to day when everything was running smoothly before?

You have to sit down and create your perfect week, not because you want to, but because you absolutely have to. You need to grab control of your life again, to do yourself and your business the ultimate favor, succeeding.

If we make every effort to live each week and begin each day trying to have the perfect day, it just might happen.

Life isn’t perfect, but the perfect week gives us a game plan to follow and guide us through our days.

3. Focus on your Non-Negotiables

When planning your days or weeks, make sure you take your non-negotiables into consideration. These are the things that no matter what is in your day’s plan, won’t change.

Now that we’re in a day and age where we’re having issues in regard to the many things that are being thrown at us on the daily, we will go into overwhelm.

Overwhelm can mean we’re snapping at our loved one’s, having skin reactions, feeling anxious, and more. Overwhelm makes us want to surrender, and take shelter, but unfortunately we cannot do that. We have to operate in this new normal.

By ensuring you’ve covered your non-negotiables, you’re ensuring that you can make sure your cup is filled and that you’re okay. When you’re okay, you will not be overwhelmed, you will be at 110% for your clients, loved ones and family.

4. Practice Makes Perfect

A lot of Real Estate agents overlook practicing the key steps in their sales process, like scripting and presentations, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to competing with agents who are consistently practicing their materials.

It’s crucial to have a daily or weekly allotted time, where you can ensure the conversations you have with your clients are seamless and professional in every aspect.

Mastery is nuanced. To understand nuance, you must live among it, bathe in it, and breathe it. Mastery becomes the essence of us. We practice mastery without thinking.

This is when you successfully turn something that you consciously knew you didn’t know into something you know and, finally, into something you know unconsciously.

This is where you can present a presentation while focusing 100% on your client. The presentation no longer requires any mental bandwidth or conscious focus. Your body knows to have your finger click next on the laptop to move the slides without needing to look at the screen or visually assess which slide is next.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I don’t think there has ever been one person. A lot of my opportunities actually came from overcoming challenges, so some of the people who gave me some of the opportunities I had are also people who presented massive challenges for me and my career.

At the end of the day, it’s relying on great mentorship, there’s not only one person I can name.

There were definitely brokers who gave me great advice and now we’ve built programs in place that we’ve created together, like Paul Baron from The #1 Century 21 Brokerage for the country, C21 Leading Edge in Canada.

I’m grateful for our team, I have an amazing group of people who support me and there’s no way I would be able to do what I do without them.

We have a collaborative leadership team who are very entrepreneurial, and who take ownership over what needs to happen. It’s very collaborative without a director style delegation, everyone owns their portion of the business. That is how we thrive.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?

For most top producers turned Team Leaders, the people management is often the most difficult aspect of the job. When your team and business are growing, you need to learn to let go of your control and delegate to your team members, with trust.

Systems, training and leverage create a performance environment for everyone, while also building trust.

We build our leaders and we build our performance environments, which will always trump talent. The environment always wins, creating a performance environment that will encourage people to win and grow, while implementing the systems and processes your team needs to succeed in the big picture, and in the long term.

Let your people manage themselves once they are trained. Give them the room to have the dream that brought them into a sales role in the first place, which is to run their own business.

Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?

For most people, delegating is such a challenge due to losing control. It’s very difficult for anyone, especially business owners or entrepreneurs to give up the control to do their own tasks. This is why integrating systems and processes into your business is so crucial.

Delegating also takes a lot of time to mentor, Your role as a leader is to build the components that lead to results, ensure your systems empower others to deliver the standards of your business, and hold team members accountable to keep the system on track.

Manage the system and motivate the people.

Have systems and protocols that work so you’re not micromanaging, but powering up your people. Allow them to take responsibility and lean into what their gifts are. You need to support them with personal and business goals, so they can learn more about themselves in order to benefit your team.

In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?

Like I mentioned above, systems, training and leverage create a performance environment for everyone, while also building trust.

Creating and Implementing Systems

Have systems and protocols that work so you’re not micromanaging, but powering up your people. Allow them to take responsibility and lean into what their gifts are. You need to support them with personal and business goals, so they can learn more about themselves in order to benefit your team.

The more someone grows as a person, the bigger their capacity is for excellence in business. Sometimes we’re scared of powering up our people but the reality is that growing businesses are going to have opportunities as you move up for people to grow into.

Let your people manage themselves once they are trained. Give them the room to have the dream that brought them into a sales role in the first place, which is to run their own business.

Training

Something that goes hand-in-hand directly with systems, is training. By implementing the right systems, training team members on said systems will create a smooth flow, and allow you to loosen the reins on your team.

When training, shadowing is generally the path taken when showing someone the ropes, but the mistake here is that every person does it differently every single time. This inconsistency doesn’t work to effectively prepare an agent for success when that agent is on their own.

The team leaders that I coach work on the idea of mastery — everyone follows the same steps, so everyone knows what it takes to be successful. At that point, the agents approach the situations with their own personalities and interpretations, but they have been empowered with a set system to be successful.

You need to find the right combination of training and systems, to move beyond learning and memorization to become part of who you are for each sales member of the team.

Leveraging

A crucial element is leverage. Do you know what you’re great at, and do you know the right profiles and the right expertise that you need in the other areas of your business?

Are you always aware of the next steps for your business, and how you’re going to get there?

Who’s the next hire you’ll have and are you adjusting your systems and processes to include them in it?

If you want, or have a big team, there may come a time when people management moves into a “Neutral,” “Includes Others,” “Unconscious Incompetence,” or “Stop” task on your GENIUS Model. We use this model to guide a leader’s highest and best use within a company.

Can you please share your “Five Things You Need To Know To Delegate Effectively and Be Completely Satisfied With the Results?” Please share a story or an example for each.

Changing your Mindset

Your energy and your response dictates how the people around you respond.

As a team leader, you need to be in an optimal mindset. If you’re not in an optimal mindset, you’re not responsive, you’re reactive.

This means that your decisions will be based on fear, stress and negativity rather than the ease and calmness you’ll find when your decisions are based on being responsive, which means when delegating your team’s decisions will be based on the same reaction.

How are you responding and showing leadership to your team?

Building Confidence

No matter how smart and skilled your agents are, if they lack confidence in the team or their work, they’ll always perform below their potential.

Building confidence requires real conversation, not recognition. It starts by understanding what’s really going on. It requires working a few levels below the obvious insecurity to understand what scares them.

Confidence stems from certainty in our approach and a trust in our abilities.

Start building confidence in your team members by mentoring them, delegate specific tasks to them that you know they need to work on, focus on their strengths, be supportive and let them know it’s okay to make mistakes.

The good news is that building confidence and competence go hand in hand. Confident team members are more likely to try new behaviors and approaches, which inspires creativity and equals more success.

Checking-In

Checking-in is a saving grace, for you and your team. Checking-in with your team, can look like team meetings, one-on-one meetings, or quick messages! Make sure to document their feedback/thoughts so you can revisit their states on a regular basis!

This is an effective way to track delegation, without micromanaging, and still giving confidence to your team. Focus equates to action. Cutting through the noise is part of the value in a team environment. We don’t need to get overwhelmed. We need to get clear on priorities and hyper-focus to win together.

Celebrating Wins

Your agents want to feel valued and appreciated. Acknowledging hard work and success is vital to boost confidence and determination with your team.

It’s crucial for you to always be on the lookout for wins, and to celebrate them, big or small. Making this a regularly practiced event, ensures your agents feel valued, and it encourages them to continue doing their best work, or improving themselves.

Include wins that are vital to the team within your weekly team meetings and monthly reviews.

Nurturing your Team

If you are still working remotely, and can’t see your team members in person, you need to increase your use of modern technology that facilitates remote interactions, such as virtual presentations and video conference calls.

You need to nurture your relationships and ensure you can get as personal as possible without seeing each other face-to-face.

Have weekly team meetings, use check-ins as a way to nurture certain aspects of your team member’s jobs, ensure your team knows they can come to you for guidance, even when delegating.

One of the obstacles to proper delegating is the oft quoted cliche “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Is this saying true? Is it false? Is there a way to reconcile it with the importance of delegating?

I don’t agree with this quoted cliche. If you want something done, but it’s not something you’re passionate about, you will not be able to do the task justice.

Living in your Genius is where the money, energy, and time live. Living in your Genius allows you to bring your gifts to the world while nurturing your gifts in your everyday work. The GENIUS model is ever-evolving to eventually carve down to a business for yourself and your team, where you do the highest portions of your work in an area that energizes you, fulfills you, and brings the best of your work to the world. You have the most prosperity in your area of Genius because it is worth the most to your teams and clients. Allow your team members the privilege of moving more and more into their Genius as they evolve with their capabilities and results. Create a system to transparently identify when additional leverage is available to allow for greater production at a higher calibre and in less time.

A top-producing, top 1% team achieves the outcome which matches their mindset, environment, training, accountability, and GENIUS. The result mirrors them. The only thing we are then chasing is the future version of ourselves.

To feel the flow of a high-performance team, doing what they do best, working in their level of GENIUS, aligned toward a common outcome, carving their path by the values they believe in, and nurturing together is the ultimate experience. It is worth course-correcting back to, and it is worth building into existence. This type of movement attracts like-minded people and creates an unstoppable vortex for as long as it stays intact.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Conscious living. I think people who are conscious about who they are, their values, and what they’re bringing to the world are typically better parents, better team members, better community supporters, better people.

I find the ability to ‘do good’ is just more naturally present for people with a conscious mindset. If I can help people raise their consciousness and see their abilities and power, they will ultimately serve the world through their greater purpose with ease. If KBCC can have any influence on people leading themselves versus looking at others, that’s a win!

How can our readers further follow you online?

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/10528394/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KathleenBlackCoaching/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenblackcoaching/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kbccoaching

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

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