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WHEN to coach

The majority of inside sales leaders and managers I speak with haven’t had any formal training on coaching as a skill (ok many of them haven’t had management or leadership training either, now that I’m thinking about it). Which doesn’t mean you aren’t masterful at coaching, managing, or leading with out training.

Perhaps a better question would be – is the salesperson coachable?

August Turak, author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity lists five traits that someone needs to be coachable; humility, action bias, purity of purpose, surrender control, and faith.

Here is the translation into deciding if an inside salesperson is coachable:
• Humility – start by determining if the salesperson even willing to admit that the Won’t is holding them back. Without the humility to admit something isn’t working, coaching will not be effective.
• Action Bias – once you determine that the salesperson has the will to make a change, you have to see them taking action. Without making the change and putting in their own effort nothing will change.
• Purity of Purpose – with an inside salesperson, this means they are working on their Won’t because they want it to change. The reverse might be that they are working on the Won’t so you leave them alone. Another example of the wrong purpose is to work on something because you, their manager, tells them they have to.
• Surrender Control – until an inside salesperson is willing to let go of “their way” and try something different, no amount of effort put into them by their coach will have any affect.
• Faith – translates to the belief that the effort of changing is worth the gain they will receive by putting in the work. Inside sales doesn’t have much instant gratification. It will take consistent sustained work to change that Won’t.

One key to knowing if coaching will be effective is to answer this question for yourself: are you putting more effort into their career success than the salesperson is?

If you are, STOP.

Once you’ve determined the salesperson IS coachable; the Can’t – Won’t – Don’t Know How model is very clear to differentiate when coaching will help.

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. have you determined if there are organizational roadblocks in the way of achieving the result you’re looking for? (if yes there are roadblocks… fix those – if no move to question 2)
  2. is the individual capable of achieving the result? (if yes – move to question 3… if no get them out of the role they’re in)
  3. do they have the skills needed to get from where they are to where you need them to be? (if no TRAIN them… if YES – it’s time to coach!)

Yes, I’m telling you to ONLY put effort into coach sales people who are coachable to begin with AND only coach them when they’re can do something and know how.

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