Effectively coaching a sales team is a crucial skill to master. Not only will this enable you to pass on coaching skills to the next level of sales management but you’ll also be able to positively influence your team’s results and develop their abilities and confidence. There are a number of key steps involved in effectively coaching a sales team.
Move from manager to coach
Coach is a very different role to manager and the first step is to be able to effectively put down the management baton and pick up the coaching one instead. Coaches are listeners who react in a non-judgmental way when staff are open about key issues. Once you’ve established trust in your team about what your coaching role entails you’ll be much more effective in it.
Master the use of effective questions
As opposed to giving instructions, learn how to ask the kinds of questions that will allow individuals to arrive at their own solutions. Questions that stimulate thinking and inspire results will encourage ownership of outcomes and can be much more motivational than simply telling people what to do.
When you’re in your coaching role, work with staff on one particular area for improvement at a time. Trying to focus on multiple areas can not only feel dispiriting to the employee but is also likely to dilute efforts and make them less successful. Work on the basis that helping your sales team to individually improve one area per year is a measure of success.
Give your team choice for greater buy in
When it comes to selecting that one area for improvement you are much more likely to get buy in to it if you allow the individual to choose this for themselves. You may think you have the right idea when it comes to what that area should be but if you allow a suggestion made by the employee instead their commitment to change is likely to be higher.
It’s all too easy to provide your feedback from a management perspective. However, in a coaching role your goal is to give people the confidence and space to self assess. When employees are able to recognise their own achievements and also identify themselves what they can do to improve leads this inevitably creates greater confidence and commitment.
Put a plan in place
It’s essential that any planning is put into writing and it should be the individual who takes responsibility for this process. This will not only provide the opportunity for the employee to consider what they are committed to but also how they plan to achieve it.
Follow up is essential
We all tend to be more focused on a task if we know we are going to be held accountable for completing it so it’s crucial to follow up with an employee once you’ve gone through this process. Use the questioning method to do this in a coaching style, for example by asking what success they have seen with the plan they created, as well as identifying obstacles and solutions to those challenges.
Being able to effectively coach a sales team is a crucial skill that can be a transformative experience for those you lead.
Find out more by booking onto our Coaching Skills for Sales Managers