Consistently using the right sales coaching style facilitates the development of a high performance sales culture. The Coaching Style Model examined in the ASTD Sales Coaching for Business Impact Certificate uses two “lenses” to view and evaluate sales rep behavior:
- Ability: Describes the learned and innate selling competence of the sales person being coached
- Motivation: Describes the level of need to help get the sales rep emotionally engaged.
When a sales professional’s situation is difficult to evaluate, focus first on the observed (Primary) emotional engagement in the situation. Then examine the next most observable (Secondary) behavior.
This approach is helpful because it gauges the level of willingness—whether the sales rep is open to being coached. With observation, a clearer picture and a more accurate assessment will emerge over time on how best to coach the individual.
Here’s a closer look at the four coaching styles highlighted in the model.
This coaching style is used with the sales rep with a Low Ability and a High Need to be motivated. With a telling approach, the sales manager or leader should ask fewer questions during coaching but provide more direction.
Your bottom line approach as a coach is to help people in this situation experience success in the task as quickly as possible, so they don’t lose motivation. The important thing to remember is that the coach should stay around to observe how well the individual follows directions. Then the sales manager can provide motivation and feedback based on what he observes. Remember: Simply giving directions to a sales rep and then leaving them alone is not coaching.
This coaching style is used for the sales rep with a Moderate Ability and a Significant Need to be motivated. An explaining approach requires the coaching conversation to be much more two-way. There should be plenty of “give and take” dialogue between the coach and the rep to ensure that success can be sustainable and repeatable.
This coaching style is used for the sales professional with a Significant Ability and a Moderate Need for motivation. An encouraging approach means that the rep is quite able to do the job, but there is a need to increase the sales rep’s confidence and motivation so she can more frequently experience success on her own.
This coaching style is used for the individual with a High Ability and a Low Need for motivation. With an empowering coaching style be sure not to assume that the already high-performing professional doesn’t need coaching involvement just because he is already very accomplished.
Instead, the sales manager should still stay close enough to that high performer to credibly observe, motivate, and provide on-going feedback so that high performer knows you know what they’re up to.
With this approach, the manager should consider actions that help the sales rep identify obstacles to achieve even greater sales success. The sales coach also can focus on creating a more fulfilling sales career path for that high performer.
By using the right coaching style and approach with the right sales professional, a sales leader “wearing the hat of sales coach” can further broaden her ability to motivate and engage a sales team to achieve even greater levels of sustainable results and sales excellence.
To learn more, join us for our next ASTD Sales Coaching for Business Impact Certificate on September 29-30, 2014, in Alexandria, Virginia.