I Don’t Have Time to Coach!

Coffee is for closers!

Whenever I do a coaching seminar with sales managers I ask them, “What gets in the way of your becoming a more effective coach?”   You’d be surprised at how many say they just don’t have the time.  “There are so many demands on my time today that coaching is a luxury I just don’t have time for.”  Another one I hear is, “I expect that when people are in the job assigned to them they will know how to do it. I don’t have time to coach them.”  Last year one sales manager blasted the Human Resources Department for sending him poor candidates for the job.  That one reeled me.

Seriously, you don’t have time to coach?  Then how do you spend the rest of your time to improve the performance of your team?  Let me share a quick story with you about the game of hockey at its most professional level, the National Hockey League.

In the NHL, a team has three forward linemen, and these linemen stay out on the ice for 30 seconds or so, then go to the bench to rest, as one of the team’s other three lines take their place.  This ensures that the skaters’ legs are always fresh. So when the linemen come off the ice, they rest for a little over 90 seconds.

Some years ago I watched an NHL game on TV with my neighbor Doug Jarvis, who at the time was the Assistant Head Coach of the Dallas Stars.  In the game we were watching, the forward line made a bad pass and gave up the puck.  When the line came back to the bench we could see one of the coaches talking to them.  Doug said an interesting thing to me, “That coach is probably saying to them ‘Hey guys, what happened out there?’ That’s what I do. I get them to quickly talk it through before they go back on the ice, so they don’t do that again.”

I was astonished!  He has only 90 seconds to coach, and although he knows what went wrong, he facilitates the problem-solving discussion by asking a question and letting them talk it through.  Remember that:  90 seconds!

Think back to your last coaching conversation.  How long did it take and why?  When I observe these sessions it often looks like somebody is going to hear a list of wrongs, then get told what to do, interspersed with a lot of excuses and explanations about what might have been.

Next time you coach, start the discussion with one great question.  Here’s a good one for you:  “Walk me through that call, what you said and what the prospect said and how you felt it worked or not.”   Maybe you’ll be done in 90 seconds if you just let people talk it through. And best of all, your team will feel good about the conversation if they don’t feel they’re being rebuked for poor performance.  Do you have time to do that?

Remember to treat your sales team as if they were your customers and of course it’s important to

Think Like Your Customer

In my June newsletter I’m going to talk about one of the great habits of effective coaches, as a follow-up to today’s post.  If you’re not signed up, please go to my website www.actionsystemstraining.com, click on the newsletter link in the top right and enter your name and email address.  Thank you.  Gregory

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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