The Coaching Experience

Professional coach helps development and investment company work smarter.

In commercial real estate, the way we focus our time and energy is at the core of designing the future we desire. The old adage that insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting a different outcome is true for many companies because they do not review their activities with a critical eye to determine if they are aligned with their common vision and mission. Performance coaches can teach ways to resolve this misalignment and create time to operate at a higher level of success.

Baker Storey McDonald Properties, a retail development and investment company in Nashville, Tenn., hired John Cundiff, president of Market Advantage Technologies, a professional coaching business in Durango, Colo., to help design and articulate our company’s vision and mission statement. Cundiff worked with BSMP to create a marketplace identity that promoted competence, integrity, and speed to market. As the company grew, the administrative staff and production team members were immersed into a culture that reflected common values, vision, and mission.

Finding Success

BSMP principals and team members attended weekly one-hour coaching sessions to examine their current work habits, natural talents, and gifts. These “locked room sessions” were not particularly fun. Being totally honest with fellow workers about what we think our natural gifts and talents are can be difficult and uncomfortable. But the reward for those who had the courage to go through the process was well worth it.

We learned that some BSMP members were not as good at confrontation and declaring intention for the future as others. Some of us were better at building relationships in the community, while others fell short. Other team members were adept at completing massive checklists and ended up looking for more tasks at the end of the day. Still others were skilled at evaluating, observing, and casting a critical eye on workflow and opportunities.

In coaching sessions, Cundiff taught us about four distinct transaction steps and four different personality styles. Personality styles should not be judged as good or bad, but celebrated, organized, and recognized as our individual traits.

Lessons Learned

We were willing to learn new work habits and observe the habits of our co-workers and clients. We learned to recognize which players to use, depending on client personalities and where we were in a transaction. What coach would want to send a quarterback to play tackle position or a soccer goalie to play striker? In music, would you want your drummer to play the violin? Companies that properly design work flows and match natural talents and gifts find the benefits are endless. For example, when some BSMP members worked with a consultant hired by owners of a retail center to plan for a redevelopment, the project came to a head when the consultant was unable to make a decision. A team member with an “intention personality” was brought in just for one phase of the project, in order to help the consultant make a decision and get the project back on track.

A team that knows itself and knows how to organize can engage the market with far less time, effort, and energy than a company who just runs on the playing field looking to compete.

Allen C. McDonald, CCIM

Allen McDonald is principal at Baker Storey McDonald Properties in Nashville, Tenn. You can reach him at (615) 627-3972 or


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