Using data to drive effective coaching

17th May 2018 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

Organisations understand the power of coaching and the importance of data to inform this activity. But could it lead to a zombie sales force?

What is the difference between coaching and training? This is often poorly understood. As a starter, we might consider that training is about transferring knowledge while coaching is about enhancing that knowledge and developing people and their skills. As such, it is more often used with experienced salespeople and tends to have a practical dimension:

  • It is usually one-on-one.
  • Coaching is often unstructured, informal and conversational.
  • It tends to depend on asking participants to explore potential solutions rather than telling them what to do.

The insights, tips and experience shared by a seasoned coach will help take even an established salesperson to the next level, provided they are prepared to be flexible and keen to improve – because coaching is an interactive process. Sales managers seem to instinctively understand the value of good coaching (though whether they are doing it right is another matter): in terms of enhancing sales performance, they value field or on-the-job coaching ahead of peer learning, classroom training, self-directed learning, and online learning courses.
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