Overhead view of two men in chairs meeting

Behaviors that separate the most effective sales managers and coaches from the rest

Most managers agree that regular coaching helps their salespeople apply what they’ve learned in training, maximize their performance and reach their goals. But just because someone’s an effective manager doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an effective coach.

Giving feedback on ride-alongs, conducting quarterly performance reviews and laying out a corrective plan when someone falters—these are all important activities, but there is much more to coaching.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the behaviors that separate the most effective sales coaches from the rest:

Effective sales coaches set the stage for two-way communication by understanding and adapting to the employee’s Behavior Style and starting the discussion with what’s important to the employee.

Ineffective sales coaches coach in their own image, directing and telling what’s worked for them without regard for the salesperson’s needs, beliefs and motivations.

Effective sales coaches don’t come to the table with all the answers. They know how to fully engage people and tap into their creativity, viewing coaching as a catalyst for helping the best get better.

Ineffective sales coaches confuse coaching with corrective action or a performance management discussion, making salespeople view coaching as negative and something to be avoided.

Effective sales coaches are consistent, committed and fully engaged, protecting coaching time and staying focused on the salesperson throughout. As a result, people feel that they are valued and that their success is a high priority.

Ineffective sales coaches are “too busy” to maintain a consistent coaching schedule, often cancelling sessions and sending the message that coaching—and by extension, the individual’s success—isn’t important.

Effective sales coaches believe in their salespeople and see the possibilities that they may not see in themselves, encouraging a self-belief and achievement drive that pushes them beyond self-imposed barriers.

Ineffective sales coaches have limiting beliefs and low expectations about the potential of their people. Because these beliefs manifest themselves in the manager’s coaching activities, they ultimately become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Through our work with clients in more than 130 countries around the world over the past 45 years, we’ve seen it time and again: coaching skills are important, but values and a genuine belief in people are often far more influential.

If you’re thinking about whether or not you need to develop your sales managers’ coaching effectiveness, this quick self-assessment is a good starting point. Consider how confident you are in saying “yes” to each of the statements below.

All of our managers:

  1. Are using a consistent coaching process.
  2. Understand the coaching role.
  3. Have excellent coaching skills.
  4. Lead and build their salespeople rather than push them.
  5. Coach their salespeople on a regular basis.
  6. Know what motivates each individual salesperson.
  7. Coach their salespeople to goals rather than only activities.
  8. Place a high priority on coaching rather than allowing less important distractions steal their time.
  9. Are results-driven rather than process-driven.
  10. Believe in a customer-needs-focused, consultative selling process.

For more tips on developing effective sales coaches, download our white paper, The Players Won’t Play if the Coaches Don’t Coach.

About the Author
Derek Roberts

Executive Partner & Board Member

Derek Roberts has built, trained, and coached sales teams and sales leaders for nearly thirty years. He is an executive...
upward point of view on skyscrapers

Insightful Perspectives and Tips to Help You

Serve Your Customers Better
Don't Miss Out