The Idea of the Apprentice

Written by Ali Calladine, June 22nd, 2017

Naturally, we have a lot of conversations here about education in Real Estate. It’s a complex, competitive, and entrepreneurial industry- which means that the way we educate and train new REALTORS is phenomenally important to both the industry and the success of the individual. Today we’d like to delve into a concept we’ve been thinking about a lot over the past year: mentoring and apprenticeship in Real Estate.

The idea of apprenticeship is that someone new to a trade works under a skilled practitioner and comes to understand the informally taught ins and outs of the position. Because the apprentice applies and is accepted by the master practitioner, their specific talents and contributions within the field are taken into account and integrated into the overall practice.  In the origination of apprentices, they were being trained to take over the trade, meaning that there is a high level of confidence and conviction to make it successful.

In Real Estate, you see informal mentorships all the time; and it makes sense that this happens. Real Estate is a complex business to learn, and the consequences of a new agent making mistakes are huge. However, the dynamic and fast paced nature of the business means that one cannot become excellent if they don’t learn while doing. Working with a mentor gives someone the security net of experience while learning the industry in depth.

We see this movement across industries- learning while doing. This approach is embraced in a wildfire cultural surge of co-op terms and internships- but they miss the mark in a way that apprenticing doesn’t- they don’t embrace the individuality and experience of the mentee.

There are a couple defining characteristics of a mentor-apprentice relationship that we have seen over and over again make it so strong. The first is mutual respect- the time, opinion, worldview, and needs of both parties are highly respected. Another is the opportunity to get personal- when working one-on-one between mentor and apprentice there is a personal relationship that develops, multiplying the positive impacts of this work. Finally, the responsibility and commitment that runs both ways. The success is symbiotic.

So what’s in a name? If we’re falling into these mentoring relationships naturally, and it’s bettering the Real Estate industry, why talk about formal mentoring relationships at all? It comes back to this idea of commitment, and the idea of mutual advantage. By formally agreeing to working with an apprentice, the mentor is not only offering advice, but also creating an environment of trust, support, and confidence in that apprentice’s ability to succeed.

More than intern, learner, new agent, or mentee- the word apprentice communicates to us an idea of equality, and the idea of a high threshold of excellence. And with that in mind, we’re evolving the language of our mentoring program. Instead of mentees, we’ll be calling our phenomenal, dynamic, learning agents Apprentices. What do you think?

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