Matthew Walley

Hilton Head, South Carolina

YPP Coach, Agent

Matthew grew up in a family steeped in real estate and music. In 1898 his paternal great-grandfather founded The Walley Agency, an independent real estate company. When Matthew was young, he began accompanying his father on appraisal appointments learning how to build lasting relationships.

Matthew’s mother is a church organist and choir director who taught him the love of music and performance. After high school, Matthew was accepted into Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and began pursuing a career in the performing arts.

After graduating college, Matthew, between performances, hustled in real estate side-by-side with his father. Matthew felt compelled to pursue the arts and took a huge leap of faith by moving to NYC. His first audition in the city landed him a lead role on Broadway as Tony in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning play, Master Class. In addition to Broadway, Matthew went on to perform with top opera companies and symphony orchestras throughout the US and abroad. He retired from professional stage in 2005.

Matthew gravitated back towards real estate, and it was not long before he became a Team Leader at his market center in KW Hilton Head Island. He thrived in this role for nine years, leading, training, coaching, and consulting agents and leaders at KW in Zimbali and Cape Town, South Africa. He became known for his ability to change culture and help people around him perform at the highest level. Pursuing coaching was a natural fit for Matthew. In 2015 he began coaching people outside of real estate, and in 2022 he joined YPP as a sales strategist and leadership coach.

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We are so excited to have you as a part of our team. Tell me a little bit about your background.

I have lived on four different continents and in numerous states. I have had two primary careers that have really influenced me and led me to where I am now, music and real estate. I grew up in a family of REALTORS, in a company started by my grandfather in 1898. I was going to appointments when I was ten years old. As much as I liked real estate, my mother was a choir director and I felt pulled toward music. In fact, I started my career as an opera singer, which is what I went to school for.

After I graduated college, I started working with my dad, until I got into the Pittsburgh Opera Center. After that, I moved to NYC. My first audition was for Masterclass, a Broadway show. Typically, you audition for a casting director, but to my surprise, I was auditioning in front of the playwright, director, producers, and leading actress. I was offered a role and got my first Broadway show.

I understudied for the first few months, then took over the role for seven months. That show ran from 1995 to 1997. After that, I performed around the country and worked internationally for some time. It was fun, but it started to feel lonely, and although I had success, I decided to retire from that life. I moved to Hilton Head, and for six months, I tried to figure out what I wanted to do. I ended up back in real estate. I started as an assistant, went into sales after a year, and eventually took over as a team leader in February of 2008.

I worked as a Team Leader in that market center for 3.5 years. I was offered a position in Charleston to turn their market center around. I worked there for a year, closing down the market center and business center to combine them into one. Once they were performing successfully, I went to Nashville to turn around another office. I was there for about a year, then went to Atlanta. After working for years as a Team Leader, I eventually pursued more coaching work outside of the Team Leader role.

You really built a reputation as a change agent, someone who can get in and turn things around.

Yes, I had the ability to rebuild and recreate culture. I truly believed if I cared about my agents, that would attract people to the market center and that is what we did.

What was your approach when going into organizations to change their performance?

I would meet with everyone I could. In the coaching world, we all have this voice in our head. We need time to think and get that voice out in the open. Companies are no different. They have an internal voice, a mind of their own. Leaders often think they know what’s happening, but unless you start talking to the people, you really have no idea. You have to learn about the people in the organization and give them space to express themselves. Only then will you start to get underneath what is really going on. I learned rule number one, you have got to listen.

What did you listen for?

I listened for the needs. Not just the individual needs, but the office in general. I would step back and ask, “what is missing?” In the team leader role, we used to focus on coaching to the 20%. The idea is that your top 20% produces 80% of your results. Well, that principle plays out in all kinds of ways. I would look for the top 20% that impact the culture. These are people who are influencers, the ones who get everyone’s attention. I would purposefully align with the people who were most influential, and in doing so, I could influence the whole organization. Once I aligned with a few influential people, everyone would start to follow them.

What attracted you to becoming a coach?

As a Team Leader, you coach people, but no one really teaches you how to coach. I noticed that coaching came naturally to me. I was only supposed to work with the top 20%, but I had many agents who were coming to me for help, as opposed to going to the sales manager. It made me realize that I had a natural skill set for helping people think.

I coached many of our top agents and hired a coach myself in 2012. At the time, I was in Nashville, about to transition to a new Market Center in Atlanta. I wanted someone that knew what to do to help me think. I knew what I needed to do to be successful, make more calls, and recruit more people. I needed someone to help me with my thinking. For some reason, I wasn’t motivated to make the calls, and I started to question whether or not I really wanted to be a team leader.

When I hired my coach, I had some really big a-has. My coach changed my life. He helped me have productive conversations with my leader and achieve my dream of working in South Africa. When I took that role, he said, “I’m so proud of you. I could never do what you did. You were able to jump on a plane to live somewhere without being 100% sure.” After that conversation, I realized that coaches don’t coach to what they want. My coach was coaching me to what I wanted. I realized that I wanted to help someone in the same way, help them uncover what they want, and help them take the steps to get there. I pursued a professional Coaching Certification so that I could help others in the way my coach helped me.

What is your favorite thing about coaching?

I love the lightbulb moments. I’ve found that most happen outside of calls. I had someone I was working with once who was in their mid-60s. Their career was struggling. We were eight weeks into our work, and they were in their mother’s attic. While there, they came across a crayon drawing of themself under an umbrella. They called me and said, “This is me, smiling face under an umbrella. What happened to me?” After a few more weeks, they had their first transaction under contract, and they were getting out there and starting to date. They were putting the pieces together and making decisions that made them feel good. When you work with someone and see their path open up, there is nothing better! I always remember that quote, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

What drew you to working with YPP?

I had several BOLD coaches, and my last was Kate Patulski. I remember Kate. I understood Kate. With her, the mindset stuff came across in a different way. There are some who teach it, but it doesn’t have the same emotional connection. After taking BOLD with her, I said I wouldn’t take it with anyone else. I see Kate, Ron, and Cortney as people who understand not just taking an action, but also the thinking behind it. When you can combine the thought, the why, and the action, you have something greater.

We created YPP to integrate our life’s work studying behavior change to help others excel. What have you noticed is important for change?

It’s not about telling someone what to do. It’s about trust. People need a safe space. They need to feel like they can ask questions and feel like they don’t need to have all of the answers. In the past, the coaching I’ve done has felt by the numbers or just focused on the actions. There wasn’t a deeper relationship, and it didn’t necessarily feel safe. It always felt like it was for someone else’s agenda. I want to coach to the client. YPP truly is co-active coaching. It relies on the partnership.

If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?

Care less about what others think. Follow your heart.

What is a book you think everyone should read?

The Bible

If you could put anything on a billboard, what would it be?

Vulnerability is a strength.