Editor's Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on August 14, 2020.
Throughout history, leadership approaches have reflected the advancement of different industries as well as societal changes. As new economies develop, management approaches evolve to drive new types of workers. Research continues to shape our understanding of what motivates people to perform at a higher level. Scientific discoveries about how people think and feel teach us how to tap into the need to achieve. Simply stated, as the world changes, so does the way in which we manage, lead, and coach people.
In the last two decades, we have entered a knowledge economy in which capturing and deploying information drives much of the country’s most significant business growth. The “flattening” of our world means the inputs that affect our businesses are numerous, disparate, and ever-changing. In essence, we have entered an era of complexity that is marked by a constant barrage of data and unpredictable consequences.
And as we’ve seen historically, a new type of economy often creates a paradigm shift in leadership approaches. That is why today’s leaders must move beyond just managing processes and engaging employees to now stimulating the intellect of their workforce to find the right path forward in a complex environment. The successful leaders of the future must possess an X factor that allows them to coach their teams to high performance, by embracing rather than fearing complexity.
Now, with the rise of the knowledge economy, leaders must evolve again. In order to deal with the complexity of today’s environment, they also must be able to mine the ideas and intellect of their employees by pushing them to learn and grow like they never have before. This is why we are moving forward to a new concept and a new kind of leader, the sales coach.
Coaching is not merely a component of the job; coaching is the job. And a sales coach has a three-fold purpose: to manage processes and output, to create a collaborative leadership environment, and to navigate between order and complexity to ensure maximum growth. In our newly updated sales performance equation, we examine the key components of sales coaching:
The Sales Performance Equation
Each element of the Sales Performance Equation is essential in coaching a team to achieving the pinnacle of performance. They build upon one another and are interdependent in terms of producing desired outcomes. To perform at the highest level, one cannot merely be great manager, who drives processes but never captures the hearts of employees. Likewise, even the best leaders who can effectively collaborate with those on their teams, but can never push them into the high growth mode of complexity, will not be able to maximize results.
It is only when sales coaches are able to effectively manage processes, lead collaboratively, and coach their teams into complexity that they will truly be able to enter the high performance zone. And after all, isn’t performance what it is all about?