Well, Was It Good Coaching Or Not? Five Reasons Why It Was!

Well, did the sales manager do a good job coaching or not?  You recall from my newsletter that the sales manager asked the salesperson after the call how he felt it went, and the salesperson said “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 salesperson had done a poor job, so it was important that he be coached effectively.  I had email from people who said the coaching was poor because she didn’t cover all the mistakes he made.  One writer said she should not have put him in that position on a client call.

But on balance I’d say she did a pretty good job.  Here are my reasons why:

1)       She facilitated the conversation so that he was able to self-discover the essential performance issue.  He said he was nervous, and being nervous, he rushed.  And because he rushed, he left out some questions and didn’t listen well.  That was the crux of the matter and he grasped it without having to be scolded.  The odds are far greater now that he will perform well next time, because he developed the solution himself.  He said, “I’m definitely going to slow it down.”  Problem solved.

2)      She avoided the “bank audit” approach to coaching.  Her notes showed six areas of deficiency, but she didn’t need them once the problem was acknowledged and a solution developed.  Why review all the defects?  How would you feel if you were the one being coached and your boss recited a big list of your faults? The coach needs the performer to leave the session feeling positive and excited for the next time.

3)      She put him in position to perform so that he could be coached.  If you’re a sales manager, do you hog the call?  Do you think your role is to do all the talking because the client will want to talk to “the boss”?  If so, you aren’t giving your sales team any opportunity to perform so that you can observe and coach.  Remember that she met with him before the call and they planned their roles.  Are you doing that too?  If not, you should.  Takes five minutes.

4)      She kept it simple. Her own analysis, had he not answered correctly, may have been that he was nervous and rushed, and her advice may have been “just slow it down.”  A good coach gets the performer to focus on one key thing at a time, as in Bobby Knight telling his player to take 20 shots. Remember that you are in this for the long-term, so when you coach, try to get your people to focus on just one thing for next time.  It’s much easier to bring about behavioral change, and confusing if you give your players a “data dump” of faults.

5)      I suspect this guy is pretty happy working for a manager who trusts him, has confidence in him, thinks well of him. This is a positive boss-subordinate relationship, and that’s a very good thing. Remember, workers quit managers, not companies.

So there are five reasons why this is pretty good coaching.  What other thoughts do you have? Write me.

On Tuesday I’ll come back to our discussion of leadership traits.  Meanwhile…

Think Like Your Customer

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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.

One Response to Well, Was It Good Coaching Or Not? Five Reasons Why It Was!

  1. Lauren bila says:

    The easiest approach to coaching is to be negative; to be inspirational, positive, motivating is really the mark of a great coach!!

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