Effective Sales Coaching

Hey Steven coming at you right again with my next Executive Briefing I am going to talk about effective sales coaching.

Last time I spoke to you about coaching and the quantity of coaching.  How many days should a manager spend in the field?  I found this old presentation that I did when I was the vice president of sales at Alcon, and we did some learning, and many of you may have seen this on video, it’s by Stephen Covey, I like Stephen Covey, and it is called The Big Rocks Presentation.

Really what it speaks to is if you want to fill your day with important things you have to put your big rocks in the bottle first otherwise there is no room for them and to me, the time you spend coaching is one of those big rocks that you put in to your bottle or to your day.  We talked about spending 60% of your time at least out in the field but looking forward to seeing what other people have to say and what other companies are doing across industries.

Effective Sales Coaching = Asking Effective Questions

Socrates

Today I want to talk to you about the quality of coaching, and I will tell you what coaching is not.  It is not managing, it is not giving feedback although it could be a little part of it, it is not telling.

Coaching comes from the Socratic method of asking questions.  Socrates who was a philosopher hundreds of years ago, I don’t know how many years ago but let’s say a hundred years ago (actually 399 BC, close LOL!) and he created the Socratic method which is about asking questions – getting people to think and vocalize as opposed to telling them what to do.

Great coaches start with what I call a coaching mindset.  A coaching mindset is about asking effective questions, thoughtful questions.  It is about being curious as opposed to being judgemental.  It is a different mindset.  When managers look at how can I be a great coach well great coaching starts with effective questions.  Interestingly enough, great salespeople start with effective questions.  It is not about showing up and throwing up as a sales rep nor is it as a sales manager.

If you want to be a great coach you need to start asking as opposed to telling.  It is about being curious because if you are judgemental with your salespeople they are going to back off and not want to do anything.

effective sales Coaching

The other key thing about asking questions is assuming you are out with your reps once a month or more, that means 18 days or 19 days out of the 20 in a month.  They need to be asking themselves the same questions when they are self-evaluating.  Because the best reps are self-aware and they self-evaluate.  The best way to evaluate yourself is by asking the same questions your manager ask you.

The first step in becoming what I call a STAR sales coach or STAR sales manager is learning how to ask effective questions.  It is hard.  It is hard not to want to tell, and it is easy to observe so the key to coaching is slowing down and asking and listening and being curious.

If you can combine being great and being out in the field more frequently and be able to ask great questions, you are going to kick ass.

My message today is great coaching starts with effective questions.

Have a great day.

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