Making the transition to more effective coaching typically involves changing the conversation. It’s not about having more conversations. It’s about changing the dynamics of the conversation from telling and directing to collaborative problem solving, where you help team members self-assess and self-discover ways to leverage strengths and improve performance.
Let’s begin with the core tenets that underpin Richardson’s sales coaching methodology:
- Salespeople should be involved and responsible for their own performance and development.
- Every person has blind spots that cannot be seen clearly or completely. To see a full, sharp picture, everyone needs an outside perspective.
- A successful coaching interaction opens perspective for both the salesperson and the sales manager.
- The sales manager’s role as coach is to be a thought partner and resource — to ask questions, listen, and learn — and to offer perspective with the goal of helping the team member gain insight and inspiration to grow and strengthen performance.
- Trust is essential. While the focus of the conversation is on the business issues, the essence of a coaching interaction can be deeply personal and emotional. The salesperson must trust that the sales manager’s intent is to help and support, not criticize, judge, or control.
- A key opportunity for performance improvement lies in turning routine management inspections into coachable moments. Coachable moments exist everywhere in our daily interactions and routines. Taking advantage of planned and unplanned coachable moments is the cornerstone of a manager’s success in creating an engaged team that meets and exceeds goals.
- Learning is accelerated by continuously focusing on incremental growth. Focusing on one thing at a time allows coaching to happen in targeted, quick, efficient bursts.
Understanding and embracing these beliefs is the first step towards changing the conversation and becoming an excellent sales coach.