The New Frontier of Real Estate Investment Education: Mentorship



How It Will Help You Start, Grow and Protect Your Portfolio of Properties

By Richard Dolan

There currently is a decline among real estate investors, young and old, new and seasoned, and it’s not in profit, cash flow or value drops. Rather, it’s in their personal and professional resolve to get through the tough, uncertain, and unpredictable times of today.

Resolve: “a firm determination to do something”

Real estate investors require a relentless and unwavering resolve to get funding, and engage lenders and investors alike. It also takes resolve to search, find, measure and bid on opportunities. This isn’t a matter of getting more education; it’s a matter of getting to a smarter execution.

Education is about what you learn, internalize, and understand. Execution is about putting this education to work, measuring your success or failure, adjusting accordingly and repeating. It’s about being in action, and knowing the action itself is your education. The challenge is that we are concerned, afraid or downright challenged when it comes to starting in real estate investing or elevating your game. This is where traditional education ends, and experiential learning begins: mentorship. 

Mentoring is most often defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced person (the mentor) assists another (the mentoree) in developing specific skills and knowledge that will enhance the less-experienced person’s professional and personal growth. The Real Estate Mentor/Mentoree relationship works in a very similar fashion. The Mentor has a first-hand experience investing in real estate, has developed a skill to impart knowledge, and is firmly committed to help others do as they’ve done except even faster, and with less risk (often skipping their own painful errors in judgment). They facilitate the Mentoree’s growth by sharing resources, challenge the Mentoree to move beyond his comfort zone, create a safe learning environment for taking risks and focus on the Mentoree’s total development.

The Mentoring and the Coaching

It’s easy to confuse mentoring and coaching. Though related, they are not the same. A mentor may coach, but a coach is not a mentor. Mentoring is “relational” while coaching is “functional.” There are other significant differences but here are a few:

Real Estate Coaching Characteristics:

•  Takes place within the confines of a formal relationship

•  Focuses on developing a specific technique

•  Has a functional interest arising out of the need to ensure that individuals can perform the tasks required to the best of their abilities

•  Relationship is finite (ends as an individual completes a task or growth curve)

Real Estate Mentoring Characteristics:

•  Relationship is personal (a mentor provides both professional and personal support)

•  Relationship may be initiated by a mentor or created through a match initiated by the organization

•  Relationship may last for a specific period of time (nine months to a year) in a formal program, at which point the pair may continue in an informal mentoring relationship

The difference is this – the coach focuses on the task while the mentor focuses on the result. You can learn much from a coach but the mentor will hold an emotional interest in seeing you succeed.

Inside the REIN membership and community, members often pair up to hold one another accountable for certain actionable items. These meet up pals become support sources whereas your average buddy in the journey isn’t always there during thick or thin times. Mentoring is a more complex relationship and focuses on both short- and long-term personal and professional goals.

Mentorship Is Like Cross-Training

As a real estate investor it’s pretty easy and straightforward to improve on a weakness. You can get steady, measurable results through linear development – that is, by learning and practicing basic techniques. But data from the decades of research in the space of behavioral finance have shown that developing strengths is very different. Doing more of what you already do well yields only incremental improvement. To get even marginally better at it, you have to work on complementary skills or what’s called nonlinear development. This has long been familiar to athletes as cross-training.

For example, LeBron James, the two-time NBA world champion, would blend training on the court and while off court by taking up mixed martial arts (MMA). The blending of complimentary training techniques and disciplines produces new areas of development inaccessible through traditional training methods. Even the late Frank Sinatra would be seen in the summer months swimming in outdoor pools, spending long periods of time underwater holding his breath, expanding his lungs capacity, leading to stronger singing performances.

To move from good to great in real estate investing, you also need to engage in the business equivalent of cross-training. By combining the two activities mentioned above – linear and non-linear development – you will produce an improvement (an interaction effect) substantially greater than either one can produce on its own.

Four Steps To Powerful Mentorship

Step 1: Define your desired outcome this year, and then decide what it means to you. Once you are clear what the goal is worth to you, your family, and your financial future you’ve got a reason to grow, harness and exploit your resolve.

Step 2: Start Cross-Training by looking at what kind of complementary skills, techniques and abilities would best serve you. For example, if you’re shy and unwilling to engage, consider volunteering at a charitable event to develop that skill. If you are weak at raising capital, start learning about debt management. If you are strong at finding great deals but aren’t good at mobilizing people, consider coaching a youth sports league team.

Step 3: Find a Competency Companion. This is someone that compliments your existing suite of strengths and gifts. The most effective place to start identify this suite is by listing your strengths on one side of a piece of paper and your weaknesses on the other side. That list will shape your pathway to networking. The best businesses and opportunities I’ve taken advantage of came to me through developing joint venture partnerships with professionals and people who possessed strengths where I was weak.

Step 4: Engage a Mentor. Find someone that is honest, committed and not free. Create a schedule of contact, engage on the premise of attaining a result inside a pre-determined deadline and co-create a plan of attack. The moment is feels less like a partnership and more like you’re a customer fire them and find another. In a mentoring relationship, you should feel like a win-win, not a lose-win.

Bob Proctor, Canada’s very own Success Coach once said “A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you, than you see in yourself, and helps bring it out of you.”

Richard Dolan is the President of REIN and the resident expert on Performance for real estate investors and professionals. Addicted to producing results, Richard is an expert on raising funds, building brand and strategy with one aim: to produce competitive immunity. Reach Richard at


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