As a managing broker, Christopher Tenggren wanted to be a more effective mentor for the new agents in his office. So, when he had the chance to guide two up-and-coming pros while participating in NAR Spire, a real estate mentorship program the National Association of REALTORS® launched in 2021, Tenggren used it as an opportunity to learn as much as teach.
The experience taught Tenggren, ABR, GRI, who works with Weichert, REALTORS®, in Rochelle, Ill., to refamiliarize himself with foundational sales and marketing skills so he can better understand where rookie agents are in their journey.
“Being a Spire mentor has really caused me to think about—and even re-think—some of the ways that I train new agents,” he says.
Mentorship is a vital part of helping the next generation of real estate professionals succeed and contribute to the evolution of the industry. But mentees aren’t the only ones in the relationship who stand to gain a new perspective on their business. Mentors, too, can pick up new skills and test their leadership abilities through the mentoring process. And while mentorship in real estate typically happens on a brokerage level, NAR Spire widens the perspective by connecting agents and brokers from across the country.
“I used my own discoveries and experiences—good and bad—as a learning opportunity for my mentee,” says Christina James, an agent with Realistar in Beavercreek, Ohio, who was one of nearly 800 NAR Spire participants in 2023. “Being a mentor has helped me to grow as a leader. Not everyone learns in the same way, and being a mentor has helped me be more attentive and patient in both my professional and personal lives.”
NAR Spire pairs experienced agents and brokers with individuals who are studying to earn their real estate license, launching their business or looking to grow. With the mentor’s support, mentees can set clear career goals, develop actionable plans and navigate market crossroads with greater clarity and purpose. The program’s guidelines recommend that mentorship pairs meet two to four times a month to dive into the questions and ideas that emerge from education sessions and help direct the mentee’s career path.
NAR Spire mentor Kaye Thompson, a principal broker at BEST Real Estate Company in Bartlett, Tenn., was so impressed with the program’s structure that she recreated it as part of her firm’s onboarding process. She matches experienced agents with new hires to work through topics such as organization, time management and lead generation that might not typically be covered in real estate courses, Thompson says.
She helped her first mentee grow into a niche working with real estate developers. “I was able to help her take steps to find her groove in that world, and she sold several million dollars in real estate her first year,” Thompson says. “I currently have two mentees, both of whom are thriving because they are putting into practice the things that I am teaching them about having a successful business. They both have already closed at least one transaction this year, and they are working to stimulate growth in their businesses.”
Participation in a formalized, accountable mentorship program raises real estate professionals’ profiles, says Aaron Gray Sr., SRS, an agent with Century 21 Advantage Gold in Elkins Park, Pa. While serving as a mentor with NAR Spire, he helped his mentee transition from working with a homebuilder to performing more traditional sales. Gray advocates for the NAR Spire program to become part of an industry commitment to professionalism.
“When I first became a real estate licensee in 2008, I was neither provided with sufficient training nor the proper tools,” Gray says. “When I joined my current brokerage in 2015, it was like night and day. I was now surrounded by people who were involved in all aspects of the business: educational spaces, serving on boards and committees, acting as past presidents of REALTOR® associations and volunteering to be keynote speakers and trainers. It became my mission to improve the overall image of our industry through improving the professionalism of my colleagues.”
Vinson Bracey, ABR, GRI, a broker with Crye-Leike, REALTORS®, in Memphis, Tenn., was paired with two college students exploring a career in real estate and a recent college grad, Keidra Anderson, who had just earned her real estate license. Bracey says he worked with Anderson to develop an exit plan for her goals after NAR Spire, including important events to attend at her local REALTOR® association. “She’s doing better in her business and has a set direction with an action plan,” Bracey says. “The main benefit is: Her next steps are more intentional.”
But there’s a secondary benefit, he admits: “The teacher does become the student sometimes. For example, my two college students are very prompt for our meetings. It’s a good reminder that I need to be early for my clients, too. We all learn from each other.”