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Innovation is often associated with technology, but that’s not the only way to be innovative. In order to change both yourself and your business, you need to have an objective perspective. One of the ways to get that objective perspective is with a mentor or coach.

You may know plenty of admirable, successful real estate professionals who could be prospective mentors. But how do you find the right mentor for you? And how do you get that person to want to help you? Read on for tips on finding a real estate mentor and building a solid relationship that will help steer your career in the right direction.

How Real Estate Mentoring Works
A real estate mentor is an advisor. He or she offers advice and feedback when it’s needed. However, don’t look for a mentor hoping they’ll teach you everything you need to know to be successful. Instead, it’s important to look for someone with whom to create a long-term relationship. You can’t be mentored in a few weeks or months; it’s a process—not an internship—and it has to develop naturally.

Finding a Real Estate Mentor
You don’t want to look for someone who simply has the job you want, or the success you would like to attain. Find someone with whom you share similarities—someone with the skills and strengths you would like to hone. Don’t be in a hurry; it may take some time to find the right person. You might consider more than one person before deciding on who you ultimately want to approach.

Let the Relationship Evolve Naturally
Don’t force the mentoring relationship, but let it evolve. Keep your expectations in check. Like other relationships, it has to grow over time, based on mutual trust and respect. Forcing it risks ruining a potential mentoring relationship before it can become established. Take the time to nurture it.

Don’t Go When the Going Gets Tough
At some point, you’re going to get some critical feedback from your real estate mentor. This is a good thing because it means the relationship has become comfortable enough for him or her to call you out on something. Remember: Your reaction when that happens is crucial to your growth. Do your best to accept the criticism gracefully and heed your mentor’s advice. After all, getting better at being a real estate agent is your goal—and nobody ever said it would be easy. This is what will ultimately make you grow as a real estate professional.

Commit to the Mentor Relationship
Mentoring takes time and work, so once you make the commitment, stick with it. You and your mentor should both be in it for the long haul. Finding a real estate mentor, cultivating a strong mentor relationship and adding it to your career strategy will help ensure that your real estate career is a success.

Pay It Forward
It’s a common misconception that if you have a mentor, you can’t be a mentor to other people. No matter where you are in your real estate career, there’s always someone who could use your advice and encouragement. All it takes is to pay it forward.

Yazir Phelps is the president of Colibri Real Estate, a national leader in online learning for pre-licensing, continuing education and professional development. Colibri Real Estate’s portfolio of brands include Real Estate Express, McKissock Learning, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools and The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. Phelps has more than 18 years of experience in marketing at Fortune 500 organizations, and over five years of experience working directly with real estate professionals. Learn more at