Sales Manager Rule #1: Coaching to Improve Skills

Chris committed to coaching to improve the skills of his sales team. He is a district sales manager who just took my Focused Sales Coaching online program. He has done well implementing the program and is so close to being a great sales manager. But until he truly understands the fundamentals of improving skills, he will struggle.

I have been working with Chris as his sales executive coach. As part of the coaching process, I ask for feedback from sales managers. I question how well they apply the concepts they had learned and see the benefits of the training.

Based on their feedback, I was feeling good. I gave myself a high five and a couple of pats on the back: a way to go, dude. You are making an impact with these sales managers!

As part of our one-on-one coaching session, Chris recounted one of his coaching sessions.

It went something like this: “In my last field visit with one of my reps, I gave her feedback on her closing skills. I then began to give her a couple of things she should work on and noted it on her field visit report”.

Ok, so far, so good. There is verbal and written feedback…

Chris thought he did all the right things. He observed, asked questions, and gave written and verbal feedback to close off the day with his rep. As I reflected on Chris’s example, I thought to myself… what is the likelihood that the next time Chris works with this rep that she would have taken this coaching session to heart and diligently worked on her closing skills?

Based on my son’s grade, four understanding of probability…he would say to me, “highly unlikely, dad.”

The reason why I say that is that Chris needs to make a fundamental mindset shift in his coaching to become a more effective coach. That mindset shift relates to the fundamental rule below:

Rule #1: Unless there is self-awareness and recognition that there is a need to change… the likelihood of change is remote.

Chris did an excellent job on his last field visit. However, his rep did not have the guts to tell you that she didn’t buy into what you said.

Here is my 4 Step Process for Coaching to Improve Skills

  1. He asked her to determine what area she needed to work on
  2. Let her decide the steps she intends to take between now and her next field visit
  3. Have her write out her plan and send it to you
  4. Follow up on the next field visit to see her progress

Great coaching involves following a process for change.