Be A Sales Coach, Not A Manager
Sales coach and leadership expert, Jane Gentry explains the difference between coaching and managing, and discusses the essential ways leaders should be coaching their employees and sales people. Managers lean on numbers and quotas, while coaches shift their focus to the behaviors behind the numbers. Being a coach instead of a manager means adjusting your definition of progress, giving more attention to developing your people and creating space to course-correct.
Here are some tips on how to start coaching instead of just managing:
When should you coach an employee?
Coaching needs to be a consistent part of your leadership style; not a one-time initiative for employee development. The best leaders coach on a regular-basis, in a timing that their team can expect. How often should you coach? That’s up to you and the process you are coaching to, but it’s important to maintain a regular cadence regardless.
What should you coach employees on?
Success is not defined solely by your results; a coach knows what behaviors increase your chances of success and coaches to those behaviors specifically. A good manager would provide coaching from the very beginning of a process, helping to ensure needs are met and questions are answered at each step. From discovery and strategy to implementation and tactics, a great coach will add value alongside the process instead of interrupting it.
How Do You Coach?
To be a better coach, you should rethink feedback as Feedforward (check out Marshall Goldsmith for more on this topic!). Coaches should look at what can be done now and in the future to solve the problem, rather than focusing on past mistakes or errors.
A great coach is an active listener; asking questions instead of telling an employee what to do. They get to know their team and help them play to their strengths. When you coach in this way, you’re giving your employee space to self-realize and helping the learning to stick long-term.
Coaching will always be relevant – for any job or industry. When done right, coaching will only benefit the leader, the team, and the organization.