Sales Coaching Habit #4 – Pick a Sales Coaching Model and Follow It
Most sales organizations focus on a sales coaching model that is simple and effective for its sales managers to learn and use. However, most coaches will incorporate more than one model as their skill and experience grows.
The methods used by coaches to work with the salesperson are still largely based on the counseling and coaching methods used in other areas and have been adapted to coaching salespeople. A coaching model helps by providing structure and a process for helping your salespeople achieve results.
Most are based to some extent on the Socratic Method, where the coach asks stretching questions and the salesperson endeavors to find answers from their own logic, intuition and creativity. One that is often used in sales coaching is the GROW coaching model, which is a very simple, yet powerful and effective tool. GROW is an acronym:
- Goals — Setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic goals that can be achieved in a defined timescale.
- Reality — Where are you now in respect of your goals?
- Options — What are the many possible options you have for solving a problem? Among these possible options, which one would you choose?
- Will — Committing to specific actions.
These steps aren’t sequential; they’re not meant to be followed one after the other, rather, the key is to remain flexible so you can make adjustments and fine-tune things as needed.
There are also many other coaching methodologies in use, such as STEPPA and PAUSE and coaches tend to use a variety of methods, depending on the situation and their experience. Coaching shouldn’t be looked on as a series of events, but rather as an ongoing, individual dialog that develops the salesperson’s skills and the coach’s abilities.
Most coaching situations will be “tactical coaching” at the deal level, which will involve the coach sitting in on meetings and conversations, but not intervening unless the salesperson gives untrue or misleading information. Afterward, the coach gives feedback and directs an analysis to generate insights as to how the salesperson could improve the outcome in the future.
From these deal-based meetings can come an assessment of the long-term skill requirements of the salesperson and lead to higher level skills coaching/training.
The tactical coaching usually follows a Five-Step model that is used by numerous sales organizations as the basis for successful sales coaching programs:
- Plan a coaching visit. Establish clearly defined coaching objectives based on an assessment of the salesperson’s knowledge and skills to identify areas that need development.
- Perform a pre-call briefing. Discuss the salesperson’s call objectives and the roles the manager and salesperson will play during the sales call.
- Observe the sales call. Managers should focus their attention on the limited number of objectives discussed in Step 1.
- Conduct a coaching session. Managers should praise skills that the salesperson did well, and then allow them to analyze the call and use questions to help them “discover” strengths and weaknesses.
- Follow up. Establish a follow-up mechanism to ensure that the coaching suggestions are being successfully adopted by the salesperson.