Do this now: Go to one of your people and ask them for one thing they need help with, and then spend 3 minutes coaching them on that thing.
When you’re done, ask them how you did. Ask them about your coaching style. Ask them how useful those 3 minutes were and how they will use the information you shared to fix the thing they needed help with. Do you like the feedback you’re getting?
If you won’t let your people fail, you’re a rescuer. What message are you sending if you’re the No. 1 producer on your team? You’re saying that you’re No. 1 and you’re necessary to getting deals done. Good coaches never close any business on their own. If they do close business, it’s with someone watching them sell and using that opportunity to learn.
Think this is silly because it's what you do today? Imagine a coach in the NBA Finals running out in the last 30 seconds of the game to “get it done!” You have a role as a manager, and it is not to rescue.
Too many managers focus on criticism, which gets them nowhere because they’re too busy telling people all the ways they’re failing instead of leading them to discover how to succeed. If you’re being a critic instead of a coach, you’re missing opportunities to help people realize what’s wrong, why it’s wrong and how to get better. A good sales coach can do these things in one conversation. You’re more of a critic than a coach if you:
Tell your people what to do and how to sell
Point out failures and not wins
Spend more time on accountability than coaching. Accountability should be a maximum of 15 minutes a week per person.
Think about being a little kid playing on a basketball team. Let’s say you miss a shot, and you look at your coach. Instead of either shaking his head like you’ve disappointed him or just telling you it’s ok to make mistakes, he tells you to keep taking those shots. He says you’re going to get there if you keep trying.
"Coaching is about helping others see things on their own. It is a process to make them think. It is not telling. It is not teaching."
As a sales coach, you make your people want to make you right. When they don’t close a deal, they want to get out of their slump, keep going and start closing deals because you said they can. As a coach, you can take your people to a different level of confidence in their skills and abilities, motivating them to realize things about themselves they aren’t going to realize on their own.
Coaching is about helping others see things on their own. It is a process to make them think. It is not telling. It is not teaching. It is a guided discovery process. If you are not coaching your people in a similar manner that you taught your kids to ride a bike, something is not working.
The most effective sales managers are great coaches. If you are not a great coach, get the training to become one.
Brian Kavicky is Vice President/Owner at Lushin, Inc. He has spent his entire career in sales, sales management and operations management in high growth companies. Working with Presidents, CEO's, Entrepreneurs and their sales teams, Brian helps them strategically achieve sustainable growth through challenging their current beliefs and behaviors. To contact Brian, send him an email.