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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Are You a Great Coach?

coaching salespeopleI work with a lot of B2B sales organizations.
Some perform well.  Some perform not-so-well.

I watch a lot of athletic events.
Some teams win, and win, and win.  Some teams lose more than they win.

Winning teams and winning companies have one thing in common: their leader is usually a great coach!

Here are 5 things great coaches understand:

  1. Talent develops when a relationship is present. When I hear a coach or manager lament that people have given up on them or people don't buy-in, I ask them what they have done to develop a personal relationship with each member of their team.  Struggling coaches and managers hate when I ask this question. 

    By the way, the myth that a coach or manager should not have a close relationship with team members, is just that... a myth. Top performing coaches and managers have close relationships with players (and sellers).
  1. Coach in practice… provide leadership during the game… coach after the game. Nothing is more alarming than watching a red-faced coach scream at players during a game. The equivalent also happens in the business world. Coaches and managers who resort to this tactic must be lousy teachers during practice (or training). Here is a better way:
    • Coach before the game (or the sales call)
    • Observe players (sellers) in action
    • Coach after observation
    • Open the coaching window by reviewing a handful of things done well before addressing items requiring improvement

  2. Fit talent to task. Not all people are great at every aspect of the game (or the sales process).  The best coaches and managers find the best roles for their players (sellers). Employing a division of labor might be a wise move to work around talent deficiencies.

    Here’s an example of division of labor for a sales organization:

    • Lead generation
    • Appointment setters
    • Sellers
    • Sales follow-up and customer satisfaction

  3. Find out what people do well, and help them do it more often. People improve 10 times in an area of strength, and only 10% in an area of weakness.  Coaches and managers should spend time developing strengths instead of hammering people on their weaknesses.  Hammering someone on a weakness is a waste of time, and it really annoys the person being hammered.

  4. Improvement takes time. All the red-faced screaming, guilt trips, head-games and poking in the world will not change this fact.

If you're a coach or a business leader, do you agree with this information?  One way to find out is to check your performance.  Do you win, win, win, or do you have a lousy record (you are either one or the other).  Are you exceeding sales goals?  Are your team members solving business problems that lead to long-term relationships with customers?  Are your people advancing or are they leaving you?

The scoreboard usually does not lie.

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Topics: sales management leadership coaching