Yesterday, I started answering the question, “I’ve heard various opinions about the importance of coaching. I’ve even heard some philosophies that argue sales managers shouldn’t be coaches at all? Where should “coaching” fall as a priority for a sales manager and why?”
As I’ve mentioned, failed coaching initiatives certainly do happen frequently in many organizations for a variety of reasons. The main reason is that, quite frankly, coaching is more difficult than most managers realize. Granted, there are a many moving parts and variables which come into play that would determine how effective the coach is, how valuable the coaching is, and whether or not all sales managers or even a specific sales manager needs to, or for that matter, has the opportunity to transform into more of a coach.
In this post, I’ve listed fourteen questions that every company needs to address in order to ensure the long term success of any coaching initiative.
1.How is coaching introduced and rolled out within the organization? Is coaching being positioned correctly? (Is coaching positioned as a perk to better support each person at every level or is it viewed as more remedial for the underperformer and “broken wing?” (I.e. “You’re broken and you need some fixing!”)
2. What type of coach training will the managers receive? This is another topic altogether, that is, how to choose the right management coach training program that will produce a measurable return on your time and monetary investment.
3. What is the company’s definition of coaching? What is the universal definition of coaching that each manager will be embracing? Ultimately, coaching is a language, a new way of communicating and engaging at a deeper, more meaningful level. This is why managers always have an opportunity to coach in every interaction.
4. What is the level of buy in and commitment from the top? Are senior leaders fully onboard and supportive of this initiative? Will they be coaching as well? In some companies, I’ve seen senior leaders actually pull their people out of a management coach training program! (Hmm, now what message is being sent here?)
5. Building off the commitment of senior leadership, has coaching been made a priority as reflected in the manager’s new daily responsibilities? Has more room been made in the manager’s schedule, have certain activities or tasks been removed or their workload decreased to make room for coaching, has more support been given to management so they can offload some of these activities that have now been marked as less of a priority in relation to coaching?
6. What is the commitment each manager has to their team around how each person wants and needs to be supported based on their individuality?
7. Does the manager have the right team to be coaching?
8. How willing is the manager to develop this new skill of coaching in order to make their people more valuable? (This is management’s primary objective.)
9. How effective is the manager in enrolling their salespeople around being coached? Did they uncover and shatter negative assumptions, faulty thinking and costly perceptions around coaching?