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The 3 Mistakes That Will Get in the Way of a Coaching Session


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  • Be Predictable:
    • Your team member will certainly have some reoccurring issues through out your coaching process, but if you run every meeting the same way, it will get stale, and the interest of you and the team member will take a dive.  Try to mix up where you meet, what time of day you meet, the order of things you discuss etc.
  • Talk too much.
    • Effective coaching sessions are not training sessions.  You’re a manager, not a trainer or consultant so don’t run your meetings as such. (Typically workshop style training doesn’t work well anyways).  Sessions should be about getting the team member to open up about their top issues, and you guiding them to a suitable solution.  If you are talking the whole time how will you know what their issues are?  To get to the root of issues requires LISTENING not TALKING!
  • Not have a plan
    • While we do recommend mixing things up to keep interest and participation up, you must have a plan about what needs to be accomplished during that meeting.  If you aren’t sure what you’re trying to accomplish, how will your team member?  Do you want to discuss issues covered last week?  Is there a particular skill you see them struggling with that you would like to bring to their attention?  Is there something they did you want to congratulate them on?  What’s covered is really up to you, but whatever it is make sure you have a plan written down so you make sure you hit all your topics.


Hi Tim! 
As usual, you have hit the nail on the head with three good suggestions. However, because the same words mean different things to different people, please let me add some comments to clarify. 
1) I agree that it helps to mix up the meeting location and other thinigs to keep it fresh. However, being predictable is a good thing!!! When you are predictable your team lears to trust you. I teach my employees and remind myself that people don't really like surprises. Use the same language for coaching every time. Repeat it so often that even when you don't get the chance to coach, that they use the same language on themselves. This alone will improve their sales skills. 
2) I certainly agree that there should not be much talkiing from the manager during a coaaching session. HOWEVER, a sales manager MUST be a trainer. It's one of the differences between selling and being a sales leader. You don't have to do all the training, there are certainly areas where you want help, but if you are not perceived as a trainer, as an instructor, as a coachh, then what are you? 
3) Planning. When you combine this with the number 1 role of coaching, it is easy to make the wrong choice. You want to plan, don't get me wrong, but the plan is 99% driven by the rep. Why? Because if you can get the rep to agree with one or two things that they do well, and one or two things in which they need to improve, then you have buy in! You have someone who has identified areas to focus on, and instead of being tole, they have freely admitted to these areas and will want to improve it much more then when told. "But Jim, what if those are not the areas I want them to focus on developing?" How long do you think it will take them to improve and use a new skill? The truth is that no matter what the improvement is, it will take some time and coaching on your part. Why not expedite the process by having them name the issus? Next time you might be able to steer the answers better, but never tell them. If you do, and nothing improves, it's your fault. 
Good Leading and Good Selling! 
Coach Hughes
Posted @ Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:39 AM by Jim Hughes
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