Filling the coaching vacuum

indian cytotec Since about 2007, leaders and senior executives have been turning to coaching as a popular and proven method of improving performance.

Unfortunately, while companies are enjoying success with business coaching in general, sales coaching is often a major disappointment. There are several reasons why. High among them is that most coaching, especially in professional services firms, is reserved for senior levels of staff and is often outsourced to external coaches. This means that coaching, as an internal capability of managers, is neither valued nor visible as a way to help improve performance especially as it relates to sales/ revenue performance. People are often left to their own devices. So, what you get is a coaching vacuum.

Yet we know that coaching – especially regular coaching in sales and business development – can lead to huge gains personally and professionally and is highly profitable. In an ICF PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Global Coaching Client Study, the vast majority of companies surveyed said they had at least made back their coaching investment. A sizeable proportion reported a ROI of at least 50 times the initial investment, and some 28 per cent saw a ROI of 10 to 49 times the investment.

Getting sales coaching right starts with the realisation that the discipline differs markedly from other popular forms of coaching, such as personal-effectiveness and executive coaching.

While executive coaching can be inspiring and transformative over a long period of time, it is neither directive nor immediate enough to be effective in enhancing sales and business development.

Sales coaching is the process of maximising sales performance in the short and long term by executing the coaching playbook and holding regular one-on-one or group conversations over a sustained period. Effective coaching of any kind aims to make change systematic and best-practice behaviours automatic. Personal-effectiveness coaching can bring motivation, rhythm and helpful action planning to the coaching process, but few habit and personal-effectiveness coaches have hands-on knowledge about selling. As a result, their coaching is often taken less than seriously by salespeople.

Over the years, Barrett has learned that there are five promises typically made by effective sales coaches:

  • that they can help a person responsible for sales and business development define both their personal goals and a path to realising them – that is, that coaching can help them achieve the personal state they most want to be in at some future date;
  • that coaching can assist a person in building and executing action plans, optimising sales efficiency and increasing focus, by using the psychology behind developing habits – so after helping a ‘coachee’ define goals and set a path, a good sales coach will teach them to develop productive habits: automatic behaviours that help increase the likelihood of successful outcomes;
  • that, knowing when to advise and when to allow coachees to problem-solve on their own, good sales coaches give direct advice as appropriate to maximise immediate sales wins, recognising that in a live sales situation, a hands-off approach may mean losing a lucrative opportunity (in contrast to some schools of thought, which contend that coaches should avoid giving direct advice because it is viewed as hindering the coachee’s progress);
  • that effective coaching can help salespeople develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to improve fundamental performance – which necessarily includes giving advice, in some instances, to close particular deals and opportunities, and is focused on helping salespeople improve their capabilities over time; and
  • that good coaching will motivate salespeople to find and sustain their highest level of energy and action over the long term, challenging them and encouraging them to take ownership of their own success, and creating an obvious connection between actions and goals that inspires coachees to put forth maximum effort. Many business leaders and managers do not invest the time to coach their people effectively, let alone learning how to coach effectively, especially in the silo channels of professional services firms. To flourish as a leader in the 21st century, you need to value coaching – especially sales coaching – as a core skill set and enabler of business performance and success.

opciones binarias historia Remember, everybody lives by selling something.

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