By Grant McKenzie
Sales Trainer and Advisor, Key Business Advisors
In my own experience and from what I’ve seen in my work colleagues, great salespeople are motivated by the successes of other great salespeople. Staff members help drive the success of a business, so their development must be in line with the business’s goals. Celebrating and building on one another’s success can only benefit a business, and to do that, leaders need to build a coaching culture that supports each worker to achieve personal and business goals. More importantly, having a coaching culture also builds future leaders of the business.
Take note of the following five tips to create a coaching culture in your business:
- Have a well laid out coaching plan or program that includes objectives, measurement tools, and actions required to achieve goals or results.
- Coaching must be done in a collaborative rather than a directive manner – both the coach and the staff member receiving the coaching must agree on a set coaching plan, including the goals outlined in it.
- Always base coaching on a combination of observation and performance metrics.
- Publicly recognise your staff to motivate and reinforce great sales behaviours. Give warranted praise often and set challenges rather than give criticism.
- Coach often and be ready to adapt to new coaching strategies, if required, to drive performance. An effective coaching program includes regularly scheduled formal, one-on-one sessions as well as daily or on-the-spot coaching.
What is coaching, and why is it important? The answer to these questions may sound simple to some, especially those who’ve had a great sports coach, business coach, or maybe even a life coach.
Coaches focus on supporting and driving an individual or a team to achieve specific results. A sports coach will analyse the skills needs of an individual or team, then structure a training regime that will close any skill gaps and ultimately achieve the desired results. How the sporting coach determines the coaching needs is determined by not only what he observes at game time, but also by a collection of data. The training will then be targeted, structured, and consistent, and those receiving the coaching will, as a result, improve over time.
However, in business, we often become far more focused on the sales data and reactionary to our shortfalls rather than having an ongoing process to keep our team on target. To be a great Sales Coach, you need to understand the different roles you have as a leader and what counts as coaching. In my experience, a leader’s role is threefold:
- Manager – you can’t manage what you can’t measure (what are your measurement tools?)
- Mentor – someone who has been there and done it before, who leads an individual or a team to the right path and shows them the way with lots of recognition and praise
- Coach – someone who engages with their staff often and early, and drives a person or a team to achieve results
All three elements are relevant to each other and are important to the success of a business. As a leader, you need to have a strong relationship with your team and understand their motivations, personality and learning styles. It is critical that staff members expect and want to be coached. Should a staff member not want to be coached, then be prepared for short-term results to keep you happy until that staff member goes back to their old ways.
Salespeople in general live in the moment, so the most effective time to deliver your coaching is always NOW! In a sales environment, the leaders are the ones who build the culture and set their staff on the road to success, working towards a common vision and mission.