I had the opportunity to sit on the number 6 tee box at The Masters Golf Tournament recently, and as golfers and caddies made their way to the tee box, I noticed that the interactions between each one were different. One caddie simply reported the distance to the green, another caddie discussed wind direction and pin placement, and another caddie talked the golfer through the entire shot.
Each one had a different approach in order to get the very best performance out of the golfer.
The job of a sales manager is similar—you have to be a different “caddie” for each unique person on your team. One person may want you to give her a plan and walk her through the steps, and another may want the freedom to create his own plan. One salesperson may be motivated by competition, another by money, and another by something completely different, like contributing to the team’s success.
As a sales manager, your job is highly complex because you may need to be a different coach for each one of your direct reports.
3 ways to become an ideal coach for each individual:
Ask what they need.
The very best managers periodically ask questions about what each individual needs, which allows them to tailor their coaching to each person. You can become an ideal coach for each individual by asking each salesperson about their personal goals, what is most motivating to them, and what kind of relationship is most effective for them to be successful.
Know their strengths and weakness.
It’s important for managers to know the strengths and weaknesses of each person on their team. Managers need to be able to provide their salespeople with opportunities to use their talents often and help them to manage their weaknesses. The best way to understand someone’s talents is through a talent assessment, but you can also create your own cheat sheet by writing down a few things each person does really well. That way, when you assign tasks, projects, or accounts, you can give them to the person who is the best fit for that responsibility.
It’s helpful for managers to ask how they are doing. What do direct reports expect of you and how are you doing against those expectations? On a regular basis, get feedback from each person on how you are doing, and how you can improve.
Effective coaching requires a customized approach. To get the most out of your team, you've got to uncover what works best for each individual.