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 coaching training during COVID, I suggest you find a way to brush up on your coaching skills. Sales coaching is a challenging skill that very few sales managers master. With coaching, virtual sales calls as part of your responsibilities you may need to brush up on your coaching skills.
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.
This begs the question, how do sales executives and trainers ensure that their investment in sales coaching training positively and sustainably impacts performance?
There are several 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 that 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 poorly coaching, we need to be mindful that a large portion of the blame should be centred on the SLM.
To accelerate your sales post-COVID recovery it is essential that your FLMs get coached on their coaching skills
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, your training will be a complete waste of time and money, as I have laid out.
2. Set the expectation that SLMs are coaching their FLMs. There is an expectation that FLMs allocate a minimum number of days in the field coaching. I recommend that SLM allocate a minimum of one hour per month to coaching their FLMs on coaching. This should include discussions on coaching plans and the progress of their salespeople. Discussions should also focus on 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 of coaching 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?