Sales coaching – let the sales rep keep responsibility

Sales coaching

In a recent post by Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) we spotted a theme with which we’re very familiar: One of the key components of a coaching mindset is a determination to let the person coached keep responsibility for the solution. So, how might a sales manager respond to a sales rep without taking over the problem? Use questions, like: “What have you done so far to solve this?” could be a good opening. “What else could you do?”  “What do you know about why your colleague is not delivering?”

According to CCL – questions like these enlarge the range of actions that sales reps can consider. They take about the same length of time as giving advice or issuing an order, but they create the possibility that the person being coached will take a new tack, try a different approach, and keep at it. They reduce the chance that sales managers will make it worse by jumping in and intervening. More importantly, they imply that the sales manager has confidence in the intelligence, good intentions, and capability of the sales rep – more clearly than just saying it.

We strongly support the points Doug Riddle is making in the CCL blog. If you’ve haven’t yet had a chance, take a look one of our most popular blog posts – Dispatching three myths of sales coaching – the first myth we mentioned was: Sales coaching is about teaching sales people skills to improve their performance. This may sound right initially, but it turns out that effective coaching is not so much about teaching people, as it is about helping them to learn … The sales manager’s job is to facilitate, provide direction, and hold individuals accountable vs. telling them what they should or should not do. This alternative model helps explain why top coaches ask more than tell – and listen more than talk. 

And, if you’re looking for questions to ask when sales coaching, you’ll find some in our post: Eleven questions for sales coaches.

Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection. 

©2011 Sales Horizons™ LLC

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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One Response to Sales coaching – let the sales rep keep responsibility

  1. Pingback: Sales Management – It’s All about the Time | SOLDSM

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