Coaching is the number one management activity proven to accelerate growth.
The uncomfortable truth is, sales mangers frequently miss out on receiving professional development in this area. An incorrect assumption is made that because they are good at sales, they will automatically be qualified to coach others.
The two roles are very different and require specific skills to excel.
After coaching dozens of managers over the years, I’ve distilled down six areas which will rapidly improve coaching performance:
- Personalise your approach – Choose a topic for the person instead of the whole team to work on. Real improvement must be personalised for the individual’s specific needs.
- Make a written record – Use tools to set objectives and record progress. Your coaching will disappear into thin air if it’s not captured and recorded so you can follow up and implement correctly.
- Focus on one thing – Deal with one area of improvement at a time, until proficient skill is acquired. If you give someone three or four points to work on at the same time, it’s confusing and their efforts become diluted.
- Let them set the goals – They must select which areas they want to improve on. This creates ownership and the self-motivation required to achieve the goal. Even if they choose a different area to you, don’t worry it’s better they choose the one they want to work on first. You can always return to your development area later.
- Be consistent – You must have regular monthly or bi-monthly sessions in the calendar for coaching to be successful. Keep these commitments at all cost. If you cancel or allow them the opportunity to, the message you send is that this is not an important priority.
- Hold them accountable – Regular and consistent follow up shows you’re committed to help people develop. Holding them accountable keeps them on track. Follow up on the agreed action points from the previous session, monitor progress, make needed adjustments and celebrate your successes. Then set the next goal and the steps to achieve it.
Here’s a killer question
If you asked your sales team about the quality your coaching, what do you think they would say?
Take this short assessment to compare your coaching skills with top sales management practice.
Read through the eight coaching questions and give yourself an honest assessment from 1 to 5.
The score of “1” meaning I need serious work in the area and a score of “5” meaning I could give lessons to others in the area.
Be honest with yourself.
Creating a winning coaching program starts with a clear understanding of yourself.
- Are you more focused on closing deals for your salespeople than coaching them? Is this creating dependency?
- Do you find yourself constantly putting out fires? And failing to organise resources effectively.
- Do you fail to book consistent coaching time with your salespeople? Consequently, finding yourself constantly fielding their telephone calls.
- Do you find yourself ‘telling’ them what to do? Failing to realise they should be setting their own goals.
- Is coaching just another ‘To Do’ Item or your #1 priority? Do you fail to see its importance, ending up working on many other things?
- Do you try to make everyone in the team work on the same specific area, rather than letting individuals set their own specific goals?
- Do you set too many things to try and improve on at the same time, lacking real focus?
- After each meeting do you leave your salesperson with 1 or 2 points to work on before you meet again? Is there accountability and regular follow-up?
Submit your answers below to receive your complimentary appraisal report firstname.lastname@example.org
Developing the qualities of self-examination and personal reflection are vital to becoming an excellent coach. But investing in this one skill allows you to make a massive impact on your team’s performance and results.
“Dedicated to Your Continued Sales Success!”