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Unlocking agent potential: Laing+Simmons’ innovative mentoring approach

A new Laing+ Simmons mentoring program that matches agents according to their values and personalities has already proved successful, with one of the first participants confidently establishing herself in a new, more senior position.

When Kristina Paku was recently appointed as Head of Property Management at Laing+Simmons Mount Druitt, she shifted into the role without a detailed job description or clear expectations of what her duties were.

With a desire to do the best she could to succeed in the role, Ms Paku put her hand up to take part in Elevate, the mentoring program that is a part of the award-winning Laing+Simmons Training and Education Program.

Ms Paku was paired with Rebecca Yelda, a 25-year real estate expert and head of Laing+Simmons Parramatta.

“Rebecca gave me the confidence to establish myself in this role,” she said.

“She helped me create the structure for the role and she helped me come up with the role direction.

“Rebecca really pointed me in the right direction … she also helped me with restructuring our property management team.”

Ms Paku said it was comforting to know Ms Yelda was available to help her with any and every query she had, and helped her grow her self-confidence in her new role.

“A lot of it was going to her for confirmation that I was making the right decisions,” she said.

“It was about knowing there was someone there who had my back and who wanted me to succeed in this role.”

Ms Paku said the mentoring program had helped her grow and develop in her role.

“Initially I was going back and checking every little thing I was doing with her,” she said.

“And then it got to the point where I thought, ‘You don’t need a call, Rebecca, just trust that you’re making the right decision’.”

The Elevate program is open to every Laing+ Simmons team member regardless of  their level of experience, role or aspirations. 

Laing+Simmons Head of People and Culture Jacqui Barnes said the program was about unlocking new possibilities of effective mentoring by pairing people based on who they are, not what they do. 

“The key to a successful mentoring relationship is trust, honesty and authenticity, and the people-first  design of our program is how we cement these relationships,” Ms Barnes said. 

“Part of the training we provide our people is to sit down with everyone individually to understand not  only their professional development needs, but also their personal goals and drivers. 

“We get to know everyone personally, and this provides us deeper insights when we pair people to optimise the peer-to-peer learning opportunities. 

“Most mentoring programs aim to help agents perform at a particular level, measured in terms of  gross commission income. 

“We measure the success of Elevate not in dollar terms but in people  terms.  

“From our most junior receptionists through to multiple business owners, everyone has the  opportunity to benefit from peer-to-peer learning, and an effective mentoring program delivers  profound benefits to both mentor and mentee.  

“It’s early days but we’re already seeing this with Elevate and as the program expands and evolves,  the impacts will be experienced more broadly by people across the network.”

Laing+Simmons Head of People and Culture Jacqui Barnes.

The mentoring program didn’t just assist Ms Paku, with Ms Yelda also learning a lot from the experience.

After starting in real estate at just 17, Ms Yelda said she recognised a lot of herself in Ms Paku and helping team members grow and develop had always been part of her ethos.

“It’s just so satisfying when I see someone starting off and they end up in a totally different role and I’ve helped them and mentored them to help get them there,” she said.

Ms Yelda said mentoring Ms Paku also helped her realise that if one head of property management was coming up against certain challenges then the team in her office might be experiencing something similar. 

“I gave my team a little bit more responsibility based on things Kristina was seeking and I found that helped them as well,” she said.

Ms Yelda said even though her ‘official’ mentoring of Kristina is now over, they still keep in touch and know they can reach out to each other if and when they need to.

“We will continue with that because it’s more of a friendship now,” she said.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.