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One of the best business books I read this past summer was “Trillion Dollar Coach,” about the life and impact of Bill Campbell, a Silicon Valley legend who influenced the careers and businesses of some of the greats—Jobs, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Sandberg, and many others. At multiple world-class companies, Bill was involved in hiring senior-level executives.

In finding the industry’s best leaders and top performers, the question he valued most was this one: “Are you coachable?”

The Drive to Do More
Keep in mind that Bill—a college football coach earlier in his career—was interviewing very accomplished, highly credentialed individuals. And that’s what makes the question so fascinating. By asking about coachability, he was essentially saying to these world-class pros: “I understand you’re excellent at what you do, but I need to know if you’re driven to learn and grow even more.”

If the applicant said yes, he or she moved forward in the hiring process, but if the answer was no, the applicant was clearly not a good fit for the culture these firms wanted to have.

That resonates with me. A lot.

Look for It
If you’re building a real estate brand, brokerage or team, you may want to consider the impact of “coachability” among your teammates, recruits and hires.

“Coachable” is an interesting word to unpack. Although I know firsthand the invaluable influence of coaches and mentors in my life, I don’t view “coachability” in a literal way. That is, I think people can be coachable without the involvement of a literal coach. I see coachability as simply being open to constant learning, ongoing improvement, honest feedback and productive accountability.

Great Things Happen
If you embrace those sorts of ideas, you’re the type of person I’d want on my team. And here’s why. Because when you assemble a group of people who are passionate about continual growth and improvement, great things happen. The group creates an energy built on mutual accountability, collective motivation and enthusiastic support, with everyone striving to accomplish more.

Think of the difference made when someone commits to a running club or workout group. The members expect each other to show up and participate. They lift each other’s performance. But it’s only effective if everyone involved has a coachable mindset. In business, it translates into sharing ideas and best practices, and into group members celebrating each other’s accomplishments and lifting each other higher.

Creating Environment
There’s a multiplier effect, and I see it in action every day—in real estate mastermind groups, private Facebook groups, in brokerages, and at my office. Coachable people coming together to create an environment that benefits and supports them all. Some of the participants are newer to the business. They’re learning while also providing their own brand of coaching by adding fresh ideas and different perspectives. Others, like the candidates Bill was interviewing, are experienced pros who are smart enough to know they can always learn more and always do better.

It starts with being coachable, and it leads to amazing results.

Adam Contos is CEO of RE/MAX, LLC.  For more information, please visit