The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Lessons from Mothers for Sales Managers Part 4

    by Kristi Shoemaker / May 18, 2011

    Written by: Kristi Shoemaker, VP Marketing, EcSELL Institute

    "3 Rules To Help You Avoid Becoming A Helicopter Boss"

    Have you heard the term "helicopter parents"?  These are the moms that micro-manage all details of their child's life.Kristi Shoemaker, EcSELL Institute They swoop in and fix it. The child never has to do anything.  I certainly try very hard not to fall into that category as a mother and neither should you as a Sales Manager.

    Let me share a short example with you.  My 14 year old came home the other day and told me that he has lunch detentionbecause he argued with his teacher about a situation that he thought was unfair and unjust.  I applauded him for sticking up for what he believes in and not being afraid of sharing his opinions with authority but suggested that he still needs to work on his technique a bit. Boy is that an understatement!  I asked him to think about different ways he could "share" his opinion without coming across as a sassy kid. I gave him some language to try and then said "have fun eating your lunch with the office ladies!" 

    What I didn't do is TELL him what to do or drive over to the school or get totally bent out of shape. 

    As a Sales Manager you can apply these same ideas when managing your sales reps. First of all, remember that they are going to mess up sometimes.  Rather than tell them what to do, coach and guide them to the solution so they can learn from it. 

    Here are 3 simple rules that can help you avoid becoming a "helicopter boss".

    1. Establish the full circle rule. Tell your employees that they shouldn’t bring you a problem without also offering at least two possible solutions. Identifying the problem is the easy part. Coming up with solutions is hard. Asking them come up with some options give you a teachable moment. Together, you can figure out why their ideas will or won’t work, and work to fine-tune it.
    2. Own your problem rule. If they make a mess, they need to clean it up. Deliberately making yourself less available to your employees forces them to think things through themselves.
    3. Count to 10 rule. Next time you find yourself ready to jump in and do something for your employees, hold your tongue and count to 10. Chances are it won’t take much longer than that for your staff to arrive at the answer all on their own.

    I would love to hear from you. What are lessons you learned from your mother that you use in your business life? 


    For a more scientific viewpoint on sales coaching, I invite you to subscribe to our Sales Coaching Newsletter. EcSELL Institute hand selects the best research, best practices, and strategies on this topic from our Resource Libraryand emails it to you 6X a year.  Enjoy it with our compliments as you move forward on your professional development journey !

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    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi Shoemaker

    Kristi is a marketing communications and public relations expert with over 30+ years of experience in a variety of industries. She was an integral part of EcSell's go-to-market strategy and execution from 2008 - 2012. Kristi enjoys taking a holistic approach by integrating all the key marketing disciplines to create synergies that generate maximum results. She is currently the president of KLS Consulting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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