Today, more and more organizations are waking up to the value of building a strong coaching culture. Analogies to athletic coaching are common, but especially apt. Training alone does not guarantee that a great athlete will deliver a gold medal-winning performance. This can only come from continuous daily support and guidance from an expert coach.
Equally, top sales professionals need expert coaching support from their managers to stay at the top of their game. Whether coaching is delivered face-to-face, on the telephone, or via e-mail, those organizations that have a strong coaching culture attract and retain the best salespeople.
Whatever coaching framework is chosen by an organization, it must be easy to use, flexible, so that the coaching sessions are tailored to the needs of their team, participative, so all of the salespeople are engaged and, above all, fun. The fun factor encourages salespeople to become “hooked” on their own continued development.
This article focuses on the importance of taking the coaching initiative out of the office and into what we call “live scenarios”.
Planning the Coaching Call
- General background (The salesperson briefs the manager)
- Objectives for the call (What does the salesperson want to achieve?)
- Plan/strategy (How do they hope to achieve their objectives?)
- Areas of coaching focus (The manager sets the objectives here)
Reviewing the Coaching Call
- “How do you feel about the call”?
- “How close do you think you came to achieving your objectives”?
- “How do you think your plan worked? How well were you able to implement your strategy”?
- “What do you think went particularly well during the call”?
- “What would you change about the call? What would you do differently”?
- “What do you see as the next step with this account”?
Providing Positive Feedback
- Make general reference, then probe-listen-base
- Cite specific example, then probe-listen-base
- Relate positive effect, then probe- listen- base
- Emphasize future action, then probe- listen- base
Developing the Coaching Dialogue
- Closed questions – to limit or restrict the range of response
- Open questions – to broaden or expand the range of response
- Probe for confirmation – to ensure understanding
- Probe for clarification – to increase understanding
Listening: Active – Empathic – Strategic:
- Maintain eye contact
- Assume a receptive posture
- Take appropriate notes
- Display patience
- Build – By adding value
- Acknowledge – Indicating attentiveness
- Support – By agreeing the way forward
- Expand – By suggesting an alternative
We are working to “Co-create maximum sales performance” – i.e.