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Stop Trying to Fit Sales Coaching in a Box

Believe us, it won’t fit.

For decades, sales training and sales performance companies (ours included) have tried to define sales coaching. Time and again, we/they have attempted to put parameters on it and stuff it into its own, tidy little box.

But in reality, sales coaching is a discipline that can take many forms – and it can be successfully delivered using many different techniques. It’s not so much that it’s a moving target as it is an expanding one.

Here are just a few of the effective forms and ideas of sales coaching that we have identified:

  • Ongoing and continuous dialog around what sales professionals hope to accomplish and how they are going about achieving it
  • Providing resources to sales professionals that allow them to achieve better performance
  • Genuine concern for the whole person, not the numbers produced
  • Helping each sales professional get better
  • Building on strengths
  • Minimizing weaknesses

As you can see, this is far from an inclusive list and it leaves many things open for interpretation…which leads us to perhaps the most important variable in sales coaching: the individuals who deliver it.

Different strokes for different coaches

As individuals, sales managers have different personalities, approaches, preferences and demeanors, all which combine to create their own, unique sales coaching style. And it’s not just a matter of style, but of technique – trying out new tactics and finding different, creative ways to connect with sales professionals on every level.

Take, for example, Phil Jackson, former NBA coach. Nicknamed the “Zen Master,” he was the first to integrate spirituality into his coaching practices. No one before had thought to bring Eastern philosophy to the basketball court, but Jackson’s .704 winning percentage (best in NBA history) suggests that it wasn’t such a crazy idea after all.

What we’re suggesting, is that maybe we should stop worrying about defining what proper sales coaching is or isn’t, and instead work on developing the individuals who deliver the sales coaching.

When organizations invest in their most valuable asset (hint: their people) they foster and develop individuals, giving them the confidence to find their stride – and discover their own coaching style.

As long as your organization has a defined sales process and mutually understood objectives, does it matter how those objectives get accomplished?

For more on how we can help you develop sales coaching professionals at every level of your organization, take a look at our sales coaching programs.