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If You're Boasting, You Aren't Coaching


Most sales managers got to their post because they were successful at selling. Fair? Is that a blessing or a curse? From a supervisory or from a training perspective, it's likely a blessing. They know what to do and know how to do it. That said, supervising and training are only part of their role. To maximize performance, they must learn to coach their team.

Good coaches are masters at unlocking people’s full potential. Coaching is an art and those who are good at it can create loyal, passionate, and highly productive employees. 

In sales, many managers have built their teams by finding people similar to them and showing them how to “walk the walk and talk the talk”. As a result, they are often responsible for closing as many deals as their entire team. They can close deals and do well. When the pressure is on, they step up and get it done. “Watch and learn” they might boast as they step in and push another deal over the finish line.

While this approach will produce results, does it have a lasting impact on the team’s performance?

The manager may feel good about the result but how does the salesperson feel? What happens when you have 6 or 8 people who all need your help to push deals over the line and it's the last week of the quarter with the pressure on? Is that a scalable approach?

Coaching your team to succeed without your help will enable you to scale your efforts.

Here are 5 tips to stop Boasting and start Coaching:

  1. Consider purpose first - Coaching is not about training for a new skill or providing an additional process to follow. It's about helping people apply what they already know to a specific situation or creating an environment where they can foster a strategy to use their skills. Think about Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid. Through hours of washing and waxing cars and painting fences, Mr. Miyagi’s student trained his muscles. Then he provided a specific circumstance or context to where he could apply those muscles. Training is about learning; coaching is about applying.
  2. Nurture/Nurture/ Nurture - You may have struggled with similar challenges that your team is facing. To enhance their performance, they must trust that you are not judging their results. Coaching gives them a platform to unlock skills they have that are not being fully utilized. Show a genuine concern for them and their skill development by reassuring them in their efforts rather than criticizing or correcting. This will encourage them to try things outside of their comfort zone. 
  3. Understanding is everything - Much like in the sales process you must first understand the root cause of a problem before you can help a prospect unlock a solution. Your team members will need to talk through their challenges and make connections to skills they can use to resolve them. Simply telling them what to do will not help them own it. They must make the connection on how their skills can be applied and grown. 
  4. Focus on one element to improve -Coaching has a higher impact when it is focused. Find one skill to develop and create a sustainable plan to implement which measures and tracks how that skill development has led to improved outcomes. Coaching is about incremental skill development not overnight miracles. Pick one challenge, help them own it, and then tackle another challenge.
  5.  Positive tone = positive outcome - Coaching takes time, planning, an individual approach, and a continuous process. Both parties need to be engaged in the process. If one party sees it as a burden, the other will feel pressure and dread the sessions. Consider how you reward success or point out failure. Coaching should yield rewards.

Stepping in to "help" close deals or boasting about the right way to do something will give you short-term results. Creating a plan to coach your team on how to develop good habits will create a sustainable and scalable team. Don't boast and then be a hero. Coach and create loyal, enabled, and fulfilled employees.

Learn More About Coaching ...

Eric Warner

Eric Warner

Eric Warner, the founder and president of Praxis Growth Advisors, is an award-winning sales trainer, leadership development specialist and accomplished sales process strategist. He has more than 25 years of experience leading teams, building businesses and driving complex sales processes.