A client of mine, the owner of an executive recruiting firm, emailed me a question after our coaching call regarding some confusion around the difference in approach between coaching and training and when exactly do you use each discipline, especially when it came to new hires who typically went through a structured training program.
Here’s what the email read:
“After reflecting on our conversation I have a couple thoughts I wanted to run by you. You mentioned I need to tap into people’s own wisdom and strength, and let them come up with their own solutions and along the way I should sprinkle in questions along their vision line that cause them to think, and I can then add truths to their solutions vs. telling them they are wrong or how to do it or what the answer is, etc…
I do believe this is a more mature approach in coaching sales managers and senior sales associates. However; this is a bit contrary to how we initially train new associates.
We only hire entry level and train from within. We tell new associates that they need to subscribe to the “blind faith” model as they are learning the job. We do this because the trainers and managers have to literally walk new associates through most of their initial phone calls so they can not only achieve measurable success quickly but help us in determining whether they have what it takes or will disqualify themselves from this position. We want them to implement our sales model because we know it works. We have a very in depth and hands on training with new associates, but it doesn’t leave a lot of room for creativity when they are being walked through how to prospect and cold call, how to deliver effective presentations, how to close the sale, how to speak with customers, how to make a proper phone call, etc. We believe this is such a difficult job to break into, we want to do everything in our power to get them performing to our expectations, so they can eventually learn how to do the job on their own.
Although it is necessary for new associates to go through this type of training, it does not seam effective for Sr. Sales Associates or Managers. It seems that if I truly want self reliant and self motivated salespeople and sales managers, I need to coach them towards the right solutions and let them get there on their own rather then tell them what the answer is or what to do.
Ultimately, my question is, am I thinking along the right path and how do you determine whether the situation requires more of a training approach where I need to show them how to do something or more of a coaching approach where I rely more on their ability to find the solution within themselves?”