My Coaching Promise

6th September 2023 |   Donald Howieson

Developing a contract between coachee and coach works to improve virtual sales coaching.


Gettman (2019) highlights contracting “as a best practise” in coaching; however, it appears to be missing in sales coaching. In a CSO Insights (2019) survey of over 900 participants worldwide, the study breaks down sales coaching approaches into four categories, random, informal, formal and dynamic. “As vital as sales coaching is, the majority of organizations (62.9%) said they follow a random (coaching is left up to managers) or informal (coaching guidelines may exist, but no formal implementation) approach.”

Following the pandemic, the opportunity for face-to-face coaching conversations between a sales manager and salesperson are restricted to virtual platforms. In the book The Promise that Changes Everything Kline (2020, 218) highlights that “meetings held in a thinking environment… are miles better… than their usual meetings.” The purpose of this paper has been to research whether a specific form of contracting, and use of Kline’s “Promise”, could be used for virtual sales coaching.

A contract was developed and used in experiential action research with ten experienced industrial sales leaders, to determine the components of a contract to apply in sales coaching and whether Kline’s “Promise” can be included. Semistructured interviews were recorded, transcribed, and the results analysed to facilitate a discussion about how a sales coaching contract can be used in a virtual setting to develop yourself, others, and the business.

The product of the research “My Coaching Promise” (Figure 1) is reflected upon with three external sales coaches and conclusions made that contracting is not pulled out as a stand-alone tool since it is inherently the job description for a sales leader. Recommendations are made to management for further research including utilising “My Coaching Promise” for supporting a move to a coaching culture within the organisation