Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2017 - 40


If you've read beyond the title of this
article, you probably already know
something about the overwhelming
case for sales coaching. Such evidence
as displayed by a recent Aberdeen study,
shows that total team attainment of
sales quota is 11 percent higher among
companies providing real-time, deal
specific rep-coaching. Also, time-toproductivity improves by 21 percent
among companies using analyticsdriven sales coaching methodologies.
While evidence for the value of
coaching continues to mount, many
companies are struggling to embed
this key behavior into their sales culture.
Oftentimes, it seems that developing a
team of effective sales coaches may be as
elusive a goal as capturing video of the
Loch Ness Monster.

If you are among those looking for a clear,
concise plan for making sales coaching a
core competency in your organization,
please read on. What follows is an overview
of the five obstacles that keep managers
from coaching and specific steps you can
take to transform your sales managers into
world-class sales coaches.

1| Missing or Ineffective Coaching Model
Despite the recent focus on coaching, it
remains largely misunderstood by the
very people we expect to provide it: sales
managers. When asked, most will respond
that they are good coaches and they
genuinely believe it! The reason for this is
simple: their mental model for coaching
isn't properly developed. They do have
consistent conversations with their
sellers and provide them with feedback
about their performance. They may
even be following a well-defined model
for providing this feedback. However,
feedback is not the same as coaching.
The performance pyramid can help
illustrate the difference (see Figure 1 on
page 41). To produce a desired result,
performance professionals (sellers) must
engage in the appropriate behaviors.

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In a competitive profession, they must
execute key behaviors better than their
competition. To execute these behaviors
and in turn produce the desired results,
these people must possess the requisite
skill and knowledge. Knowing that I should
hit a golf ball in the fairway (behavior) to
achieve a score of par or better (result)
does not mean that I can execute the
swing (skill) that will make that happen.
Meanwhile, these skills are built on a
foundation of innate qualities or capacity
and will to do the work or commitment.
For the manager-seller conversation to
qualify as effective coaching, it should
follow a basic model, which we will refer to
as the GUIDE (see sidebar on page 41. First,
all great coaches start with goal setting. By
working with their players to set specific
goals and a plan by which these goals
will be achieved, they earn the right to
interact with the person along the way.
Handing a seller a quota is not the same as
understanding what she wants to achieve,
why she wants to achieve it and helping
her to create a clear plan to do so.
Second, effective coaches then uncover
gaps in both performance and behaviors
that may negatively impact the person's


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - March/April 2017