The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    One-to-One Meetings: Why they matter and how to do them effectively

    by Sarah Wirth / July 10, 2018

    Editor's Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on June 3, 2020. Photo by Hattie Kingsley Photography. 

    According to EcSell Institute research, one-to-one meetings with your reps may be one of the most critical factors in helping them perform. In The Coaching Effect Survey, we see strong relationships between team members that rate their one-to-one meetings with their managers as effective and team members that rate their managers as excellent leaders, coaches and effective at motivating them to greater sales importance or impact. 

    These relationships indicate that one-to-one meetings are one of the most critical activities you can do with your reps.  So how do you make them effective? We encourage you to use a consistent format. You can make your one-to-ones much more efficient and still create a positive impact if you know what you want to accomplish.  EcSell Institute has found that the following topics should be covered in a good one-to-one meeting. 

    Topics to cover in your next one-to-one meeting:

    1: Personal updates 

    Letting your team members know you care about them as a person, not just a job title is important to establishing trust with them. Take five minutes at the beginning of your one-to-ones to talk about what’s going on in their lives. Listen to what they did this weekend. Hear about their family. Ask about their hobbies. Just get to know them better.

    2: Activity/goal/pipeline updates 

    Discuss the performance data you have. Look for trends with them. Talk about areas where they are doing well.  Talk about what can be improved. Staying on top of the execution of activities drives accountability, as well as ensures that you are dealing with any performance issues as proactively as possible.

    3: Customer/prospect updates 

    Many managers and team members spend nearly their entire one-to-one on this topic.  While that is too one-dimensional, it certainly is important to talk through issues and opportunities regarding current and potential customers. When talking about customer/prospect issues, your main purpose should be to ask questions to help your reps learn how to diagnose and solve these issues on their own.

    4: Questions/where they need your help 

    This last category is basically an open-ended discussion. Give your reps the opportunity to ask questions about anything that’s been weighing on their mind. And be sure to ask them how you can help them in their work.  Creating an open forum encourages them to feel comfortable discussing needs and issues with you and works to strengthen the trust and partnership between you.

    Overall, one-to-one meetings can be a highly effective coaching activity with just some minor tweaks in how you spend this time with your team members.  Try using the above format with your team and see if you are able to create a better dialogue that ultimately leads to better results.

    You can also download our one-to-one meeting template for your next meeting. And if you'd like to dig deeper into this topic, download our most popular best practice on one-to-one meetings here

    One to one meeting best practiceOne-to-One Meeting Best Practice Resource

    Why do them and how to do them effectively 

    In this resource you will learn about the relationship between effective one-to-one meetings and increased team member motivation. You will also learn how to effectively execute an effective one-to-one meeting, the topics and questions to ask, and how often to hold them. 

    Download this resource.

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    Tags: Best Practices for Leaders & Managers One-to-One Meetings

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    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth is the president of Ecsell Institute and has over 20 years of experience in employee assessment, leadership development, sales executive coaching, and customer service. She has presented to executives from across the globe with organizations such as Mercedes Benz, Estee Lauder, Ritz Carlton, Cheesecake Factory and many more.