Sales coaching characteristics for managers

16 Feb 2018

10 characteristics of super coach

Can sales manager be good in sales coaching?

Sales Coaching skills is becoming a common requirement for senior sales manager role. Why not, coaching is the most effective way to help people get the results. Whether you are a sales head or business owner, applying sales coaching skills in your working will produce tremendous results.

Reality is, as sales manager role, it is easy to add sales coaching experience as a requirement but very few understand what characteristics required for sales coaching.

Coaching is different from managerial skills. Succesful leader or manager don’t necessarily mean successful coaches. To be a coach we need to develop certain characteristics which don’t come naturally to us.

In this article, let us understand the top characteristics of a coach. As per Bradford D Smart Ph.D. of TopGrading a firm that is specialized in executive hiring, below are the top 10 characteristics of a super coach!

10 Characteristics of super coach


First and foremost characteristic of a coach is, he is not acting as boss or manager. He comes as a partner. How does partner differ from the manager? Ex, If the team member comes with a problem, the coach will say “Hey, you’ve got a problem, let’s work on it together,” Coach is always interested, engaged, respectful, and respected.

Promotes Autonomy

This is something difficult for many managers or for senior executives. Though coach say’s we will work together to solve a problem, the coach doesn’t offer solutions. He provides the coachee to independently diagnose problems and consider solutions; helps him makes informed choices regarding development.


It is easy to fall trap to the negative side and give up hope. But a Coach is always supportive, builds confidence and a motivator. Coach likes to use praise and recognition for any progress and accomplishment. Coach never tries to undermine the coachee and is always passionate and has a good sense of humor.


Coach doesn’t bring his self-interest. The coach works on coachee’s agenda and this makes coach highly trustworthy.  A coach is honest and open. Always maintains confidence and admits when wrong.


We all know how important to listen. For Coach though, it is primary characteristic. To be a coach is same as to be a great listener. Being a listener is what makes him compassionate, empathetic and sincere. Coach provides an open atmosphere for coachee to discuss things he normally wouldn’t want to discuss with his managers.


As a coach, be it in sports or sales, the foremost character required is to understand the rules of the game and knows clearly how hard it is to change. There is no magic pill. Changes are hard and take time. So Coach is always tolerant and reasonable.

Result Oriented

When it comes coaching, it is always about results. A coach is focused only on important issues. He is committed to helping coachee perform and holds coachee accountable for the promises made.


Coach knows coachee’s strengths, shortcomings, goals, and needs.


Is knowledgeable and wise. Is clear and specific in feedback. Has common sense. Generates valid measures of improvement. (Don’t confuse authoritative with authoritarian, which means dictatorial.)

Active listener

Being just a listener is great but for successful coaching, you need to be an active listener. Coach plays back content and underlying feelings. Summarizes, clarifies.


Now that we know top 10 characteristics of a coach, many questions may arise as to how to be a coach but also play the role of the manager? Isn’t coaching too much focused on long-term results? Isn’t coaching too soft on your people? Can everyone be coached?

Yes, coaching is for long-term development and not everyone can be coached also. Some are best to be managed. Only high potentials who demonstrate skills to learn and have a willingness to correct themselves from mistakes are the best fit for coaching.

Also, not all occasions coaching is applicable. Context plays a big role.  Becoming partner doesn’t work if the problem is urgent and requires expert guidance. In this case better to sit with team member and help him solve. If the problem is of repeatable and not urgent, then help the member to learn, coach him so that he can take on the problem on his own.

Overall, practicing coaching methodologies will yield significant results over the long term. And as a leader or manager, you will gain not just results you seek from team members but you gain huge respect from your team and build a successful team.