In my last blog and podcast, I need to rethink
a critical caveat to the last bullet in the blog which was:
How a manager can assess whether or not a
person is, in fact coachable and when their coaching simply may not work.
the ongoing joy of lifelong learning! 🙂 That is, the more I train and coach,
the more I learn. And one powerful insight has surfaced, especially as I
continue to deliver more international training. This happened about three
weeks ago, when delivering a management coach training program in Dublin.
But first, a recap. In this last podcast and in prior blogs, I’ve
suggested the following truth when it comes to determining whether or not
someone is, in fact, coachable.
<< It’s one thing if a
manager wants a person on their team to reach their fullest potential which is
BEYOND them simply hitting quota. In this instance, this can be a situation
where the manager wants more for the salesperson than the salesperson wants for
themselves. The salesperson may be happy and satisfied where they are now and
if that’s the case, if they don’t have the desire and willingness to change
supported by conscious effort, there’s little you can do….
final point regarding your ability to coach someone on their desire and
willingness. Sure, you can attempt to pull out what motivates them in an
attempt to instill a deeper commitment and willingness to do their job. And
often times you can successfully turn someone around by enrolling them in the benefits
they will experience when they do make positive change. However, after attempting
to do so and the evidence is still not there that would demonstrate a
measurable change, this becomes a time consuming exercise in futility.>>
I mentioned this in the last training
program I completed overseas. And as a result of my experience, have
repositioned this message. During this last training event, every sales manager
in each training session was onboard and excited to go and start coaching their
salespeople – truly coaching their people based on the new coaching framework they
now have and the revised definition of coaching that was introduced to them.
A week after the training was completed, I received
a report from my internal contact, telling me that out of 50 managers, 48 of
them were enthusiastic and successful in enrolling their team in more ongoing
coaching and further fostering this important part of their relationship between
the manager and salesperson.
But, what about those
Why were their teams resistant to their message? Is it possible that all of the
15 salespeople that each of these managers managed on their teams, where, in
fact, uncoachable? Was it ALL about the salesperson?
Wait, what about the skill of the manager? What
about the manager’s ability to affect positive change? What about their ability
and skill when it comes to coaching and enrolling their salespeople in wanting
to be coached?
Now, I certainly stand behind my initial point
around coachability above. (I actually list seven factors that determine a
person’s coachability index in my book, Coaching
Salespeople into Sales Champions.) I’m not disputing the fact that if the
person you’re attempting to coach (the coachee) does not have the desire and
commitment to change, supported by evidence of action and effort, your coaching
will be ineffective.
However, I am adding another layer of truth
to this observation that needs to be in the forefront of our line of vision,
especially for those coaches and managers who are coaching their sales team.
Think back to the story I just shared about
the managers whose teams was unreceptive to being coached.
The additional truth we need to be mindful
of is, what role is the coach or manager playing in this resistance?
1. Were they not communicating the correct
message to their team and as such, their attempt to enroll their people in
coaching was ineffective?
2. Was the manager sensitive to the timing
of the conversation? Was there some news, (i.e. internal company changes, news
on client retention, a lost account, a change in their salespeople’s compensation,
etc.) that distracted the team from the message
the manager was attempting to send? Timing is critical when coaching and
enrolling people in wanting to be coached in the first place.
3. Maybe the manager simply isn’t a good
coach? Maybe they are lacking in the training, competencies and proficiency needed
to be a good coach and powerful communicator.
4. Was the most important factor for any
coaching to be effective, prior to enrolling them in coaching, even present? TRUST. If there is no trust, if prior negative
experiences have tarnished the relationship, if a manager’s poor reputation
precedes them, if there are some costly assumptions or beliefs, even around
coaching, that are overshadowing the manager’s efforts (i.e. coaching is for
those people who aren’t doing very well, coaching is for the person who needs ‘fixing’
rather than the top performers, I’ve had a bad experienced being coached
before, etc.) then your coaching efforts will never yield its maximum potential
and the impact that it could have.
5. And finally, what if the manager simply
doesn’t want to coach, doesn’t want to invest the additional time into
coaching their people, thinks they’re ‘already’ coaching or doesn’t truly
believe in coaching, even though their company is sanctioning this change from
the top in an effort to transform the culture into a coaching culture?
With all of these additional variables to
consider, lets even the playing field for a moment and keep things equal when assessing a person’s
coachability and assume these five points I mentioned are not current barriers to
effective coaching. Then and only then can you assess with greater accuracy
whether it’s more about the person’s desire and willingness to change and be
coached or whether it’s more about you; the manager.
The important point here is this. Without
taking these additional variables and factors into consideration, you are only
assessing a person’s desire and ability to be coached through a myopic set of
lenses, without providing you the full panoramic, objective view of what needs
to be measured and explored.
So, how has this changed the way I deliver
my program? Now, when delivering my management coach training program, I’ve
omitted the slide in my PowerPoint that can potentially provide a reluctant or ‘non-believing’
manager the out so they don’t have to coach. People often hear the message they
want to hear. As such, I never want to provide a manager a conditional, one
sided case for not coaching their people and an excuse for them to give up on
their coaching efforts. (“I tried to
coach my people. I tried to enroll them in coaching. They’re simply not
coachable and don’t demonstrate the desire to change. Oh, and it has nothing to
do with me.”)
The new message?
is coachable. It’s
up to you to uncover how to create that possibility for coaching to occur. Every
manager possesses the power to do so. It’s up to you to refine that power by
learning how to better coach and communicate with your team.