someone, The Gap is the space that exists between where the client or coachee
is today and where they want or need to be. It’s the void that exists between the
person and their goal. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to identify and
fill in this gap. The question is, what exactly do you use to fill in this gap?
Part of the reason why identifying the gap is such a critical starting
point in coaching is this; you must first determine whether the issue at hand
is, in fact, a training issue, a coaching issue or an advising or consulting
issue. If you have a salesperson that’s never been trained in the art and
discipline of selling, then how can you coach them? In essence, The Gap in this
scenario is the lack or absence of a personal selling foundation and core
ideology which training would have provided this person.
As such, a solution to this situation and what you would fill into this
Gap initially would call for a training component first before coaching can
come into play. After all, there’s a clear difference between training,
coaching and consulting. For example, training and consulting often provide
solutions, offer answers or show you how to play the game. Coaching is then
used to refine your game, challenge your thinking and remove any obstacles. That’s
why it’s so critical to be able to identify when it’s suitable to use each of
these distinct approaches to professional development, continuous learning and ultimately,
when building an exceptional team.
In the following three scenarios outlined over the next three blogs, I’ve identified when each competency
and approach would be appropriate by first recognizing The Gap that you need to
uncover and assess in every coaching situation.
Situation: Tim, a new rookie salesperson has been hired to
generate appointments on the phone for the outside sales team.
The Gap: Since this is Tim’s first sales job, he’s never cold
called before nor has Tim ever been trained in how to cold call effectively.
Therefore, The Gap is the training, skills, knowledge as well as a step by step
tactical approach and dialogue needed to perform his job effectively.
Training Solution: This is a training issue, as this person first needs
to develop some strong habits to solidify a healthy foundation to build upon.
Learning how to do something such as how to sell or cold call, a new
discipline, skill or task, is not coaching but more training, consulting or
advising. They need to be shown best practices, the “how-to’s” and the
mechanics as well as the philosophy behind effective appointment setting.