Who’s Coaching the Coaches on Coaching?

Coaching the Coaches

The question of the day is, who’s coaching the coaches on coaching? The reality is, there is no one coaching the coaches. That’s right. Second line sales managers (SLM) don’t coach their FLMs on their coaching. The reality is, they have one-on-ones, but their meetings tend to focus on business issues, follow up items and people issues.

The role of the frontline manager (FLM) is to recruit, develop, and retain top sales performers. By doing these basics well you will consistently crush your sales objectives.

If you have had no training in the last 2 years on how to coach, I suggest you find a way to brush up on your coaching skills. Sales coaching is a very difficult skill that very few sales managers master.

The Problem:

Maybe you’re lucky. Your company has rolled out sales manager coaching training. The challenge is that training doesn’t always translate into doing.  Studies show that 87% of a skill gained in training is lost within 30 days without reinforcement.

training and coaching

This begs the question, how do sales executives and trainers ensure that their investment in sales coaching training has a positive and sustainable impact on performance?

There are a number of approaches companies can take to ingrain sales coaching training. The rationale for doing so should be apparent to the reader.

It goes as such, by creating STAR sales coaches, they will develop top salespeople who will crush their sales numbers.

Would you agree that coaching is a powerful approach which helps improve all skills?

That is where coaching programs fail miserably. Without ongoing reinforcement and coaching on coaching skills, coaching rarely happens. In my experience, I can’t come up with any examples where SLMs were coaching FLMs.

When I hear sales management gurus (including myself) point out that sales managers are doing a poor job coaching, we need to be mindful that a large portion of the blame should be centered on the SLM.

Possible Solutions:

  1. Any coaching training must include the second line sales managers. If you are the training manager, you must insist that the next level of sales management must actively take the training as well. Otherwise, as I have laid out, your training will be a complete waste of time and money.
  2. Set the expectation that SLMs are coaching their FLMs. There is an expectation that FLM’s allocate a minimum number of days in the field coaching. I recommend that SLM allocate a minimum of one hour per month coaching their FLMs on coaching. This should include discussions on coaching plans and progress of their salespeople. Discussions should also focus on how they are coaching their top and bottom performers.
  3. Appoint/hire an external sales coach to work with both the first- and second-line sales managers to ensure that they can effectively implement the coaching training. Given the positive impact that coaching has on performance and engagement, investing in external coaching for your FLMs and SLMs to ensure they are effectively coaching and developing their people is an innovative approach to answer the question “who is coaching the coaches on coaching?”

Thanks for reading and I share a year’s worth of weekly sales management tips in my book 52 Sales Management Tips, where you can learn how to coach like a STAR with my Focused Sales Coaching Online Learning program on Thinkific LMS.

If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like’ button and also share via your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook social media platforms. I encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions, so feel free to add a comment. Please sign up for the Sales Management Newsletter.