Is coaching the critical sales management skill?
10th January 2022 | Bob Apollo
It’s all about time, skills and mindset.
Successful sales managers must master a range of important skills. They need to make sure that they recruit the right people and help them to realise their potential, encourage their teams to follow and contribute to the organisation’s learned best practices, ensure that opportunities are well-qualified, that pipelines are well managed and that forecasts are consistently accurate. I’m sure you can think of more.
But perhaps the overriding skill – if sales managers are to get the very best out of every member of their sales organisation – is their ability to coach, and their willingness to commit the amount of time required in the coaching process. I addressed some of these concepts in an earlier article “Establishing the Foundations of a Coaching Culture” in issue 7.3 of the Journal, and I now want to expand on some of the themes introduced there.
In particular, I want to focus on three areas:
- devoting the appropriate amount of time to coaching;
- acquiring the skills necessary to be an effective coach; and
- developing the mindset needed to be an effective coach.
What coaching is and isn’t
Perhaps it’s best if I start by defining what I mean by coaching. Coaching is not about telling salespeople what to do or (even worse, from a long-term performance perspective) taking over the salesperson’s responsibilities: for example, stepping in and “closing” an opportunity instead of enabling the salesperson to win the opportunity for themselves.