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I was doing a Wise Help Session last week to help a realtor get clear on his needs for working with a VA, and he asked me a terrific question that, I was stunned to realize, I’d never been asked before. He wanted to know what I consider to be the most important quality in a VA I work with.

I immediately started to list them, trustworthy, shows up, relationally mature…and then he interrupted me gently to point out that he’d asked which was the most important.

Wow. What a tough question. Having to boil it down to the most important as opposed to my top five or so proved to be more than I could manage in the moment, so we moved on and I promised him I’d let him know.

A VA with the quality that's most important to you, is worth her weight in gold.

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I’ve always said that I think the most-important-overall quality a VA can have is insatiable curiosity.  I still believe that, and that would certainly be on my list of qualities I’d want in a VA I work with, but when pushed to say which quality *I* value most, it ended up a little differently.

The quality I value most in my virtual assistant is knowing down to my bones that I can count on her.

I love working with someone I’m sure of. I love working with someone who shows up when she says she will, and who will absolutely let me know when she can’t do that. I love knowing that I can give things to her and count on her to figure out what needs to happen and how to get them done. And I highly value a person who doesn’t give up at the first dead-end; who wants to get me the answer or solution I’m looking for. But I just as much value someone who’s gotten to know me and watches out for the limits of my resources, meaning—she wants to find me or do for me whatever I need to have done, but she’s smart enough, and her discernment skills are developed sufficiently for her to know there’s very little I’m willing to mortgage the house for. So, while she doesn’t give up and put the problem back in my lap, I can count on her to pause to check in with me to see if I’d like her to keep going, do something different, or call it quits on the project entirely.

So, count-on-ability (I entirely just made that up, but like it!) is absolutely the quality that I value most. And I’m grateful to have it in my current VA, Nicole. That quality is also what allows me to not give a second thought to her making certain types of decisions on my behalf, answering my email without my input, or telling me (as she sometimes must) things I would prefer not to hear. She is one of my most treasured partners in my business. When she tells me something, I never second guess it, I can trust it completely and act on it. And being able to trust, being able to count on another at that level, friends, is worth its weight in gold, at least for me.

How about you? What quality do you value most about your VA? (No cheating by giving a laundry list—that’s too easy! Just one, please!). If you’re not sure, why not take some time to figure it out. Whatever it is, making sure your VA has it in spades is important; it’s truly a must-have, not just a nice-to-have in order to have a longer-term and collaborative relationship marked by ease and effectiveness.