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To coach or not to coach is NOT the question

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 3/8/19 1:17 PM


How will you coachThere is just too much evidence to deny the ROI of 1:1 sales coaching on team performance. I could cite the CEB research that shows that salespeople who are coached at least 3 hours a month achieve an average of 7% over quota.

But in today’s highly competitive and fast paced commercial environment, is a 7% return enough for you to scale growth?

If not, then you might be interested in the data analysis of over a million salespeople and the managers they report to that shows that managers who spend at least 50% of their time coaching, AND have been trained on how to properly coach have salespeople who are 49% stronger than salespeople reporting to managers with weak coaching skills who also spend very little time coaching.


I have personally seen salespeople go from on plan to Presidents club and the Million Dollar club because of coaching.

And it’s not just revenue that is impacted by coaching. It also impacts retention of your salespeople and your customers.

It’s not a question of if you should coach, it’s a question of how will you coach?

What exactly is coaching, and how is it different from training?

Training is typically done in a one to many setting, ideally not treated as an event where you try to cram as much information down their throats as possible and leave your team to figure out what is relevant to their day to day activities. That doesn’t work because 90% of that information is lost within a week. Psychologists call this Forgetting Curve, and it’s the reason that billions of dollars a year are wasted on sales training.

Training that is treated as a continuous process and is broken down into micro-learning chunks is better, and ideal when combined with coaching. Training answers the question of whether they know WHAT to do, but coaching answers the question of if they CAN do it and most importantly- if they WILL do it.

If it’s not a question of if you should coach, then how should you start?

First, you have to create the coaching environment that your salespeople will want to opt in to receiving coaching. To do this, start by hiring salespeople who are willing to be coached and will apply it, are optimistic, highly motivated and will take responsibility for their outcomes. They must also be committed to learning not only your product and business, but everything about your buyer.

With these types of salespeople, it should be relatively easy to guide them to set personally meaningful goals that will drive them to step outside of their comfort zones and do what ever it takes (ethically) to achieve sales success.

Next, you have to make the commitment to coaching as a manager. That means getting it scheduled with your reps. If you read that 50% of time should be spent in coaching and thought- no way, then check out this recorded webinar on how to get control of your schedule to make this happen.

If you have given your salespeople an objective evaluation of their mindsets and skillsets, it is much easier for your salespeople to know where they need the most help. A coaching process that is driven by your salesperson is going to feel much more relevant to them than one that is imposed on them without their input.

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Topics: sales coaching, sales management