In the end, your success as a coach is about both you and your teammates working together with you acting as a guide, and your player doing the hard work of change.

So, the next step is to recognize the difference between effective and ineffective sales coaching approaches.

Effective Sales Coaching Tips

Not all approaches to sales coaching are created equal. Sales coaching approaches fall on a continuum from ‘directive’ to ‘developmental.’

In ‘directive coaching,’ the coach serves as an expert, telling the team member what the problem is and how to fix it. Conversely, in ‘developmental coaching,’ the coach serves as a resource and asks questions to help the team member self-discover and decide on the best action.

Directive coaching methods are less effective than developmental coaching methods because directive coaching is more about telling or evaluating rather than questioning and developing.

Shifting to a more developmental coaching approach requires the manager to change the dynamic of how and when they interact with teammates.

Coaching and teaching goo hand-in-hand.

Understanding When to Coach

A formalized coaching plan is important but equally important is a manager’s ability to find coachable moments in unplanned conversations. Knowing how to balance the two opportunities will ensure that sales coaching becomes a part of your company culture.

To illustrate, here are some examples of formalized coaching opportunities include:

  • Sales team meetings
  • One-on-one meetings
  • Pre-call planning for an upcoming customer meeting
  • Post-call customer meeting debriefs.

By the same token, here are some examples of informal sales coaching opportunities include:

  • There are signs that things are off track or not working
  • Celebrate and encourage successful behavior changes
  • Personal observation of customer interaction or pattern of behavior
  • Feedback received from internal or external sources
  • Teammates asking for help or support
  • Follow-up is necessary to ensure progress.

This is why sales managers and leaders should always be ready to pivot into coaching mode to encourage positive behaviors and proactively seek to improve skills.

Effective Sales Coaching Activities and Techniques

Adopting effective sales coaching methodologies helps teams move towards more self-motivated behavior because it meets their psychological needs for autonomy, relatedness, and competence.

The following seven techniques will help managers become more effective sales coaches:

1. PREPARATION – Managers need to invest a few focused minutes prior to planned coaching sessions to engage team members,
minimize defensiveness, ask thought-provoking questions, then share thoughtful perspectives, feedback, and ideas. It is best to focus on a preliminary assessment of positives, gaps, and desired outcomes, as well as the evidence that supports the assessment.

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