Becoming an effective coach

Following on from our new Sales Tips 101 column, Bob Apollo presents a parallel series of tips for sales managers, starting with the “Keys to effective coaching”.

Coaching is perhaps the most important task of any sales manager, and the thing most likely to impact their team’s performance. Here are five principles to bear in mind when developing our ability to coach:

  1. Coaching the right things – Coaching isn’t just about developing skills; it’s also about developing the appropriate attitudes and behaviours and encouraging critical thinking.
  2. Understanding our team – We cannot coach effectively if we do not understand the strengths, weaknesses, attitudes, and motivations of each member of our team.
  3. The right environment – In order to coach effectively, we must establish an environment of trust and mutual respect that supports constructive criticism.
  4. Guide, don’t tell – Coaching is significantly more effective (and longer lasting) when we guide people towards the right conclusion rather than telling them what to do.
  5. High frequency, small dosage – According to research by Objective Management Group, coaching is significantly more effective when it is done multiple times per week.