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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Discover the Value of Coaching Salespeople Using the Following Five Athletes as Examples

Discover the Value of Coaching Salespeople Using the Following Five Athletes as Examples  (1)

Your salespeople are more like athletes. They are always in a constant struggle to outperform rivals and meet set goals. Salespeople, just like athletes, encounter setbacks like pressure to perform and rejection in their day-to-day work.

Given the similarities, a sales team can benefit from coaching the same way athletes do. For salespersons, coaching can help refine critical skills like negotiation, communication, confidence, and decision-making.

Discover how coaching helped transform average athletes into super-talented individuals so you understand the value of coaching.

1. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan is one of the best analogies of how coaching can transform ordinary salespeople into pros who close deals with ease. The athlete, honored as the greatest basketball player of all time, was not born a champion.

He began playing basketball in their backyard. He later joined college basketball, where he continued to flourish under the mentorship of Coach Dean Smith. In 1984, Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls, marking the beginning of his iconic NBA career.

Although he was a near-perfect basketball player, Coach Phil Jackson felt MJ's skills needed a little more fine-tuning to perfection. The coach helped MJ perfect skills like defensive positioning, helping him to be the best he could be.

Like Phil Jackson, forward-looking executives shouldn't cease mentorship once they hire qualified salespeople. Instead, the executives should offer ongoing mentorship to bring out the best version of their team.

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2.  Serena Williams

With the highest number of Grand Slam titles, four Olympic gold medals, and many other accolades, Serena's dominance on the court is incontestable. Like Michael Jordan, Serena William's extraordinary success was not solely from innate talent. 

Her outstanding athleticism is the result of profound mentorship from various coaches, including her father, Richard Williams, and her first professional coach, Rick Macci. 

In 2012, coach Patrick Mouratouglou took over coaching Serena, who had already mastered the game and won several accolades. Mouratouglou focused on improving Serena's mindset and critical skills like footwork.

Patrick Mouratouglou's mentorship helped Serena maintain her resilience amidst challenges like knee surgery and motherhood. Serena's case analysis is a testament to how coaching provides new perspectives and skills that enhance perseverance in tense situations. 

3.  Tom Brady

Tom Brady's successful American football career is another proof of how good coaching can cultivate resilience and consistency. Brady's achievements in the NFL stem from the guiding hand of Bill Belichick, an American football coaching legend.

Belichick holds the record as the only NFL coach to have secured six Super Bowl victories and nine conference titles in the NFL. He helped Tom Brady develop the mental toughness required to maintain focus amidst adversity.

Under Belichik's mentorship, Tom Brady played 10 Super Bowls and won 7. No American football player has set such a record between 2000 to 2023. Like any other athlete, mental toughness can help salespeople maintain confidence in high-pressure situations.

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4. Simone Biles

When discussing the transformative role of coaching in gymnastics, it's impossible to overlook Simone Biles' case analysis. Biles has a collection of 30 medals, 23 of which are gold, a reason she stands as the most decorated gymnast in American history.

Apart from Simone's talent and dedication, her achievement boils down to Cecile Landi's coaching. Landi helped Biles overcome mental blocks — a setback that manifests as a sudden fear of undertaking some gymnastic routines.

Through Landi's coaching, Biles learned to conquer fears, enabling her to perform with confidence and precision. Like Simone, helping salespeople overcome mental blocks can improve resilience and confidence.

5. Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo's journey from a talented footballer in Sporting CP to an English Premier League icon is another compelling testament to the power of coaching. Like many football players, Ronaldo's prowess is anchored to excellent mentorship from world-renowned coaches.

Although Ronaldo trained under many coaches, Sir Alex Ferguson was one of those who gave the footballer a strong head start. The legendary coach of Manchester United helped refine Ronaldo's skills to a higher level.

Besides technical skills, Fergusson molded Ronaldo into a well-rounded athlete with extra skills like leadership. Under Fergusson's mentorship, Ronaldo won three consecutive Premier League titles and a World Cup with Portugal.

He also helped clubs like Real Madrid and Al Nassr leave an indelible mark in the sphere of soccer. Like Ronaldo, coaching can transform sales teams into well-rounded individuals who can deliver in all circumstances.

Time To Coach Your Sales Persons

Coaching isn't a preserve for athletes. Instead, progressive leaders can leverage coaching to elevate ordinary talents into extraordinary ones. When done right, coaching furnishes salespersons with solid persuasion, communication, and resilience skills.

Coaching also instills the right mindset coupled with a winning attitude. It's an excellent way to ensure your sales team has the upper hand against rivals eyeing your target persona.

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*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated since its original post date.

Topics: sales coaching