Are you really coaching?
Well are you? If I'm totally honest I think the standard of sales coaching by Sales Leaders is generally quite poor. That doesn't mean there aren't some amazing Sales Leaders out there using coaching to develop their teams and grow their sales...it's just that they are quite rare in my experience.
On the flip side...I also observe Sales Leaders doing their best to support their teams and believing they are coaching when in fact they aren't.
Why the confusion?
There's a difference between coaching, mentoring and plain old fashioned telling.
Telling: Tell them what to do and expect them to do it
Mentoring: Teach them what to do and support their application
Coaching: Ask questions...and listen. Allow your sales person to discover for themselves the best course of action to get the desired result. Then support their journey of ownership, application and mastery.
Be honest...what do you do most of the time?
My experience is that most Sales Leaders Tell or Mentor simply because you have been there, done that and got the T-shirt. Your wisdom and experience give you the edge to know exactly what to do next so why not share it with your sales person to save time...and avoid potential disappointment?
BECAUSE you are not developing their ability to do it for themselves and worse, you have killed their confidence to step out of their comfort zone and try new things :(
A good place to start
If you realise you use a Tell or Mentor approach with your team most of the time, here are some pointers to get you started.
- Stop telling them what to do
- When they ask you what they should do, you reply with "I have some thoughts but what do you think?"
- Listen without comment and if they are in the ballpark tell them that sounds like a good plan and to go ahead and do it
- If they are way off track, ask them "what would happen if...?" to focus their attention on something they haven't considered. Keep going till they come up with a plan that will get them there.
- Their plan may not be the same as your plan...IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE!
- Remember that they are more motivated to make their plan a success because it is THEIR plan
- Your plan will never achieve the same level of motivation and ownership so is less likely to succeed...and when it doesn't, they will blame you (sad but true)
Whilst this isn't the whole story when it comes to coaching, it's a good start if you're not currently coaching as much as you could be.
Once you create this initial coaching habit, you'll find it so much easier to increase your coaching repertoire to develop your team's sales growth mindset, increase their motivation and boost sales.
Until next time,