Today's post is by Norman Behar, CEO of Sales Readiness Group and author of The High-Impact Sales Manager: A No-Nonsense, Practical Guide to Improve Your Sales Team’s Performance.
We all have images and ideas from the sports world about what it means to be a great coach. But what we see on the surface is only a fraction of the type of work and dedication it takes to become a successful coach. Coaching is not just about shouting advice from the sidelines or giving inspiring locker-room speeches. Great coaching starts with the right mindset.
The big mental shift sales managers must make is that the primary goal of coaching is helping others succeed. That means the mark of your success as a coach is measured and recognized by their achievement – not your own performance.
Sales coaching is about helping, supporting, monitoring, and facilitating. It’s not about telling salespeople what to do. If you get salespeople invested in coaching outcomes, they’re more likely to take initiative to change their behavior and see results. In this way, a collaborative mindset transfers the “heavy lifting” of changing behaviors from the coach to the person being coached. This allows you to scale your efforts across an entire team, which raises the bar for performance.
Almost all salespeople are grateful for having a manager who’s also a great coach. When salespeople encounter roadblocks, advice from an experienced and supportive sales manager is invaluable. Not only can you help keep deals from getting stuck or lost, you can also help salespeople advance opportunities through the pipeline by developing their skills and knowledge. As you help multiple salespeople reap these benefits, the level of performance is raised for the whole team. That’s the power of great sales coaching.
If you want to succeed as a sales coach, adapt your plan to reflect each salesperson’s specific needs. It is the highly customized nature of coaching that makes it uniquely effective at developing high-achieving salespeople. No off-the-shelf sales training program can meet the specific development needs of each individual member of your team in the same way as sales coaching.
To learn more about sales coaching for high-impact sales managers, please take a look at the following video interview with Selling Power founder and publisher Gerhard Gschwandtner, where we discuss how to
- Develop a coaching culture and mindset
- Get sales reps invested in their own growth and success
- Assess your sales coaching effectiveness