Is This Good Coaching? You Decide!

A sales manager plans to take a fairly new salesperson on a joint call and they meet to discuss objectives and roles.  She says, “I’m on this call just to show the client they’re important. I expect you to lead this call and ask the key questions,” then they agree on what the salesperson should do and say.

The call doesn’t go well.  The salesperson talks too much, blurts many of the questions without any positioning, leaves out two of the most important questions, and at one time interrupts the client. The sales manager discreetly makes a few notes, finding six separate areas needing improvement.

In the car on the way back to the office, the sales manager asks, “Let’s talk about the call.  How do you feel you did?”

The salesperson says, “Well, to be honest, I was a little nervous, and that caused me to rush a bit.  And I talked way too much.  I should have just relaxed and taken my time.  That way I would have gotten to all the questions we discussed and I could have done a better job listening.”

The sales manager says, “I understand.  It’s natural to be nervous when you’re doing something important, and I appreciate that you were so excited for this call.  So what are you going to do when we go back to them next week?”  The salesperson says, “I’m definitely going to slow it down.” And that was the end of the discussion.

So just as we did last month with the Bobby Knight story, I’ll put this question back to you.  Was the sales manager’s coaching good or bad, and why do you think so?  You may think it was good because the coach was kind, and facilitated the discussion. Or you may think it was bad because the call was important, the salesperson did so many things wrong and the coach had an obligation to help the salesperson see where he went wrong.

The above content goes out today in my monthly newsletter, but because I am going to use Friday’s blog post to debrief the question of whether it was good or bad coaching, I thought I would give you a chance to think about this, in the event you don’t receive the newsletter.

So we’ll skip our normal Fable Friday this week and discuss coaching techniques once again.  See you then.  Gregory

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

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