Recently one of the participants said, he is having a hard time to get consistent delivery from his team members. No one seems to own responsibility and happy when they meet 70%~80% target. I am not very aggressive like other sales managers and I don’t know what to do?
I asked have you tried coaching the team members weekly or bi-monthly? He said, I hear a lot about coaching but I am not sure it works here and also I don’t know about coaching! Where is the time to learn and all!
Misconception of sales coaching
Ok, this is not just one of with a manager, we have been hearing from many sales managers that when it comes to sales management and sales coaching, there is a lot of misconception exists.
Most think sales coaching is separate from sales management and it is professional work with certifications and all about. Part of this blame goes to HR also for too much emphasizing on coaching without spelling clearly what is it all about!
Because of this, sales coaching has become more of manager level work. It is left, individual managers. And as is the case, when left to do on own, depending on managers very little coaching is done by some to daily coaching by others; and at the same time, doing ineffective coaching to professional coaching.
Depending on managers very little coaching is done by some to daily coaching by others; and at the same time, doing ineffective coaching to professional coaching.
But what we believe is when it comes sales coaching all that is required is the ability of sales managers to help the sales executives own the responsibility and deliver.
To help sales executives realize their own potential, bring clarity by asking the right questions. This must become part of sales management activity.
In that context, coaching can be just a 30 minutes weekly or bi-monthly activity of follow-up sessions. During these sessions, professional coaching is not really necessary.
Of course, a professionally trained coach is always better to handle difficult situations, but that shouldn’t stop any manager to play the role of coaching.
To do that, below listed 7 questions is all you have to follow and be open to listening, Let’s explore the questions
7 Questions for your follow-up coaching sessions
1. Start with question “What’s on your mind?”
(This question just opens up lots of possibilities and helps anyone to get excited and become curious.)
2. Follow up with the leading question “What is the real challenge you are facing?”
(This can be anything such as customers prospecting, handling objections, revenue miss, new product launch etc)
3. In coaching one of the best question is “And, what else?”
(Generally the first challenge anyone mentions is not the key issue. The real challenge is a level below. Asking this “And, what else?” creates huge difference and makes other person feel that you are genuinely concerned and listening)
4. Follow up with “What do you want?”
(Here you are becoming specific. This question helps individual to really think how to address the issue he is facing. This is key for self management)
5. “What do you want from me?”
(Most of the times, when they answer to Q.4, people understand they have answer to challenge they are facing. But by asking, “What do you want from me?”, you are helping individual realise that you are available to him when needed.)
6. What are we foregoing here? If you say YES to this, what are we saying NO?
(Asking any one to think the different options, helps them to really discover what they miss out. This gives much better perspective then just doing what comes first to mind. This question is what making them think clearly!)
7. What was most useful or helpful during this conversation?
(This is key. By asking what was useful or helpful, again you made them think and come out with positives which rarely happens in many meetings.)
Start using the above 7 questions in your conversations with team members and see the impact.
Also, do feel free to let us know, what challenges you might face if you adopt this coaching methodology to your managerial style?