Kathleen Black is one of North America’s most sought-after real estate coaches for a reason. She has always focused on giving her clients the highest standard of coaching anyone can get in the industry. For the people who work with her, Kathleen’s experience and expertise in all aspects of real estate make her an invaluable ingredient to their success.
As CEO of Kathleen Black Coaching and Consulting, she spends a lot of time conducting real estate training sessions for brokerages across Canada. Also, she features heavily as keynote speaker at several real estate team-building events. Even after building a reputation for herself in North American real estate, Kathleen still enjoys a working relationship with her original clients at the beginning of her career.
The lessons don’t just stop with coaching sessions, too. Kathleen Black also adopts a hands-on approach for her clients, playing an active role in watching over all of her clients, and making sure they accomplish their objectives. Through her deep knowledge of people and her excellent sense for business, you won’t go wrong in building a team that will put you over the top.
As CEO, Kathleen Black brings to her work a solid background in real estate, including “property management, investment, office management,” among others.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Kathleen Black: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Kathleen Black: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Kathleen Black: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
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 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.
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.
Jerome Knyszewski: 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?
Kathleen Black: 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.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Kathleen Black: You can find me on:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!