Coaches instead of paperweights

More NYC brokers turn to professionals to keep their real estate (and personal) goals in check

128 We heard se FINAL.inddWhen it came to rewarding his firm’s top producers this year, Warburg Realty president Fred Peters passed up the paperweights for something more productive. He booked six one-hour sessions with broker coach Susan Sexton for each agent.

Industry players say Warburg is not alone when it comes to enlisting broker coaches, who work with agents on everything from differentiating their services to balancing their lives.

Richard Steinberg, a 22-year industry veteran and senior managing director at Warburg, said time with his coach has been invaluable. “It’s almost like a business psychiatrist helping me seek out my weaknesses,” he said.

Steinberg said through his work with Sexton, he now feels less angst when dealing with clients. “There are times when I’m in disagreement with a buyer about what is best, but I’m learning how to manage my expectations to better serve [them],” he said.

Having a coach is like having a “partner” who will help you succeed, said Rod Santomassimo, founder of the Massimo Group, a North Carolina-based coaching firm which counts 25 New York City brokers as its clients, including Paul Massey and Bob Knakal of commercial services firm Massey Knakal Realty, David Behin of MNS, and John Stewart of Marcus & Millichap.

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In addition to setting professional goals with Santomassimo, Knakal relies on him to keep him on target personally, checking weekly to ensure he’s getting enough rest and eating a healthy diet, including getting in enough green juice.

Such support doesn’t come cheap.

Coaches’ hourly rates average around $300. “That’s where the more successful brokers have an advantage because they can afford the service,” said Esther Muller, founder of Esther Muller’s Academy for Continuing Education and herself a coach for brokers at Douglas Elliman, the Corcoran Group and Sotheby’s International Realty.

John Goodell and Sarah Saltzberg, owners of the Upper West Side Bohemia Realty Group, said they’ve seen a 10 percent rise in sales since working with coach and consultant Greg Young of New York City–based Broker Heaven.

Goodell said since working with Young, they’ve hired 20 additional brokers, increased their weekly client appointments and worked on creating “good Karma” in the office.

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