We were recently presenting at an industry conference, and someone from the audience asked a simple but consequential question. She said: “You know, we constantly tell our sales managers that we want them to coach their reps, but I’m not sure that the managers know what that means. In your opinion, exactly what is ‘coaching?’
Her question was actually quite insightful. There is no textbook definition for coaching, and there’s certainly no consensus as to what the term means. We all know that coaching is distinct from training, and most would accept that it’s done interpersonally at the individual level. That’s about where the agreement ends. Well, since she asked, we’ll take this opportunity to share our view of the term ‘coaching.’ Our perspective is that it’s all a matter of… ahem… perspective. Let’s examine what coaching means to three different stakeholders in the organization – the VP of sales, the frontline manager, and the sales rep.
Most vice presidents of sales we work with say that they expect their front-line managers to be coaching their sellers. If we press them for more detail on their expectation, they respond with some variation of, “I expect my managers to proactively work … Read the rest