Coach Sally Gorman

Sally Gorman is the manager of the mortgage department of a suburban bank branch. She has six direct reports, including three mortgage consultants. Although the consultants work full-time at the bank, they are considered subcontractors who work only on commission – without any salary and benefits. A consequence of this compensation arrangement is that the mortgage consultants are under considerable pressure to sell home mortgage to bank customers. Until a mortgage is approved, the consultant receives zero financial compensation.

Tony Costello, a 28-year-old mortgage consultant, asked for an appointment to speak to Sally about his recent problems in nailing down mortgages. Sally was eager to meet with Tony because she was also under pressure for the mortgage department to place mortgages. A partial transcript of their meeting follows:

Tony: Sally, I’ve come to you for help. For several months, I haven’t been closing enough mortgages to make a living. My wife and I have two children, and we can’t make ends meet on the salary alone. Is there any way the bank can put me on salary? Or maybe give me a few months’ advance? I’ve been a great producer in the past.

Sally: Grow up, Tony. When you took this job, you knew it did not include a salary and that the bank does not allow advances. We need you to produce, but we can’t change the bank rules. We are not a mom-and-pop operation.

Tony: Do you know how brutal it is out here? Home sales are down 20 percent in our area. I don’t have enough warm leads coming into the bank to shop for a mortgage. Besides that, our approval committee has been shooting down too many deals on me lately.

Sally: Wake up, Tony. The mortgage business has changed recently. We can’t add any more high-risk loans to our portfolio. It’s very difficult to resell those mortgages to other institutions.

Tony: Okay, then, what do you propose I do to generate more mortgage applications that the mortgage committee will approve?

Sally: Do what you do best. You’re a professional. Just bear down harder on good mortgage possibilities who visit your desk. Be persuasive. Turn up the heat. Do something good or be gone.

Tony: I am trying. I want my commissions as much as the bank wants its mortgages.

Sally: Just keep trying harder, and get back to me with results, not excuses.

Tony: I guess that the bank and I are in the same boat. I’ll talk to you later, Sally.



1. What advice can you offer Sally Gorman to do a better job of coaching Tony Costello?

2. What advice can you offer Tony Costello to get more out of the coaching session?

3. What is the most positive thing Sally did as a coach?

4. What is the most negative thing Sally did as a coach?