Coaching is not managing. Managing is telling your employees what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Coaching, on the other hand, is a way for managers to guide employees toward figuring out these answers for themselves. By doing this, employees feel more engaged, motivated and prepared to handle future projects and problems they may have. Employees progress with coaching.
Coaching is about asking questions. Here are a few example questions to use when coaching.
- "What are you going to do to overcome that challenge successfully and how would you like me to help you?"
- "What will you do to win that deal and what actions do you feel are needed to create such success?"
- "How will you overcome this challenge professionally and successfully?"
Using questions like this lets the employee figure out their problem on their own. Then, when they are faced with a similar problem in the future, they will likely remember what they did before and be able to fix it all on their own. If a manager just gave an employee a solution every time they asked for one, the employee would not learn how to improve on their own, and they would not progress.
One misconception about coaching is that it is time consuming and repetitive. This is wrong, there are many ways to coach, some that take almost no time at all.
One on One: Where a manager sits weekly with reps to discuss, role-play, and simulate performance improvement in one or two key areas of development. The key is to focus on one or two areas to ensure they can apply what is being coached.
Peer Coaching: Pair up sales people and create activities where they discuss, role-play, and challenge one another. The key is to create a well defined activity and then have them report back how the activity went so accountability is ensured. You can even use score sheets where they score one another during a role-play or simulation so management has feedback they can use to coach each employee.
Group Coaching: An area such as cold calling or product knowledge could be the focus. Have staff break into smaller groups where they complete an activity and report back what they did. For example, one group could come up with 3 new creative selling questions and another group could come up with what they feel are the top 3 benefits of the product. This leads to high engagement and sharing of best practices within a coaching delivery model.
Self-Directed Coaching: This is where sales leaders prescribe an activity such as reading an article or book and the sales staff report back what they learned. For example, an article could be distributed and have each sales person email their manager one thing they learned that they feel will help them create success.
Using these different types of coaching can help employees develop in different areas, allows them to receive feedback from people other than their manager, and allows them to build stronger, more positive relationships with their coworkers.
Coaching allows employees to improve and continue improving through out their career. They learn skills that help them to overcome hurdles in all areas of their work and boosts their confidence and motivation. Not only does each employee exhibit progress, but the company as a whole does as well.
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