Sales Coaching Blog

High Performing Coaches in Athletics and Business

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

January 13, 2017

One of the EcSell Institute’s most renowned summit speakers, sports psychologist Dr. Peter Jensen, has often spoke about how athletics are the best laboratory for sales and sales management. He should know considering he is a coach for the Canadian Olympic team as well as a top-rated instructor in seven programs at the Queen's Smith School of Business, where he helped design the Queen's Executive Leadership Program. I thought about Peter this past Monday when preparing to watch the rematch of last year’s College Football Playoff Championship between Clemson and Alabama.

Allow me to state the obvious, effective coaching and leadership mean everything when it comes to high performing teams at all levels of athletics and business. Growing up and residing still in Lincoln Nebraska, Husker fans have been in search of a great head football coach since Tom Osborne retired many, many moons ago.

During the past decade, the University of Alabama has achieved the pinnacle of success and the linchpin that brought such a storied program back to the top -- and continues to hold their success together -- is their Head Coach, Nick Saban. In his ten-year tenure with the Crimson Tide, Saban has piled up 114 career wins while dropping only 19 games; that amounts to a winning percentage of 85.7%.

Compare those statistics to Alabama’s record in the previous five years prior to Saban’s arrival of 36 wins and 27 losses and a winning percentage of just 57% and you have the value of coaching standing front and center holding four National Championship trophies.

I think teams win. I don't think offense wins. I don't think defense wins. I don't think special teams - teams win.

– 2016 National Champion Coach Dabo Swinney

His counterpart at Clemson, Dabo Swinney, has built an outstanding culture of success himself piling up a record of 89-28 (76%) in his nine-year tenure with the school which is a significant improvement upon the school’s record in the five years leading up to his hire of 40-22 or 64% winning percentage.

These statistics are not unsurprising, but they are enlightening when considering just how much impact coaching has on wins and losses. So then I began to wonder if these trends held steady throughout the other top teams in 2016. With that thought, I started investigating the rest of the AP Top 10 college football teams from this season.

What was the result? Much of the same.

All but one team in this year’s top 10 (Penn State) revealed a coach whose career winning percentage at their current school was significantly higher than the winning percentage when compared with the cumulative record of the school’s previous five years before hiring their current coach.

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Overall, the winning percentage at their current school for all top 10 coaches revealed a winning percentage of 79.7% compared to 62.3% when stacked up against the cumulative five years prior to their arrivals. The numbers are quite staggering and are broken down for you in the chart provided above. 

At the EcSell Institute, our clients believe that nothing elevates team performance more than coaching. Judging from the table above that is straight from the performance laboratory of sports, this above statement holds true. In sales, like athletics, our research continues to prove time and time again, after studying more than 40,000 documented coaching interactions, that nothing impacts individual and team sales results more than the sales coach or “manager”. EcSell research proves that the top 20% of sales coaches bring in $4.1/million/year more in revenue than their lower performing counterparts.

So this year, don’t just hope you are converting your managers into high-performing coaches, ensure it happens and measure your results.

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To learn more about how to create a measurable sales coaching process take a look at this popular Sales Coaching E-Book:

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Topics: Sales Manager Motivation, High performance coach, High performing coaches, High performing teams

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