How can sales leaders create a positive environment, while increasing results? Create a culture of sales excellence by coaching. Coaching is one of the most important sales management behaviors that one can develop as a leader. This coaching uses strategies such as mentoring, offering feedback and training, role playing, giving sound advice, and providing educational opportunities.

The value of sales coaching

What value does a culture of sales coaching have for your organization? It supports skill development and sets the foundation for the type of business you are building. Outstanding organizations know that investing in people should always come first. Not just financial compensation, but real time spent coaching them throughout their careers. The reasons to coach include acceleration of learning, producing more favorable behaviors, and improving the bottom line results.

Organizations that invest in coaching programs report better leaders and a more proactive strategy of doing business. According to a McKinsey & Company survey of over 1,600 leaders, almost half that were senior level managers, “71 percent of respondents at companies where frontline managers’ jobs emphasize coaching, say training programs focus on developing leadership skills.”

What it takes to be a coaching leader

Sales representatives report that good sales managers are effective motivators. These are the leaders who give encouragement and praise, provide constructive feedback, and create an environment where sales reps feel compelled to give their all. Everyone wants to perform better, and when given the chance to have someone more seasoned to act as a coach, it’s a win-win for all.
Take a moment to look at your own leadership skills. Are you directing and managing others, emphasizing coaching, and developing your direct reports? Or do you spend far too much time putting out fires?

How to create a culture of sales coaching

There are many ways to develop a culture of sales coaching for your organization. Here are some steps you can take.

#1 – Start at the top – Get executive management and top sales leaders engaged in building their coaching skills so they can coach each other down the corporate ladder. Teach coaching skills to all leaders and make sure they understand this is to build people up, not discipline them.

#2 – Commit to people first – While sales results are important in the grand scheme of things, it’s not going to happen if people are not supported along the way. Make the focus of all coaching efforts on setting an example for others to follow, establishing coaching as a core value, and helping individuals achieve their goals.

#3 – Understand learning takes time – Building a culture of coaching requires a long term shift in mindset. Give all leaders time to understand their new role.

#4 – Set goals – Each individual has potential, but this can mean different things to different people. Allow sales people to set goals based on their capabilities and past successes. Set reasonable goals and then coach them to achieve these goals.

#5 – Schedule regular meetings – Consistently holding regular one-on-one meetings are the key to greater results.  See these meetings as development opportunities, not just opportunities to “check in.” Ask and give feedback, perform a goal check-in and plan next meeting.  All of these are a requirement when creating a culture of coaching.

#6 – Teach self-coaching skills – A company dedicated to building a coaching culture integrates this into every aspect of the organization. Moving towards peak performance requires self-coaching as an ongoing learning effort. A Bersin study revealed that, “organizations that effectively prepare managers to coach are 130% more likely to realize stronger business results.”

The above steps can support a culture based on coaching and support, to provide better results. Remember to connect your sales people in a community of coaching and leadership that cares more about people than profits.

“What is your organization doing to help leaders/managers be better coaches?”

To learn how you can make this happen contact Cindy Tomcak today, and be sure to explore the Make Every Conversation Count program, available for sales leaders and others.