The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Is Coaching Your Sales Reps Like Eating Your Broccoli?

    by Sarah Wirth / December 11, 2014

    Sarah-Wirth_2014_sIn our constant interactions with sales managers, one of the most frequent topics of conversation is the demand on their time. They are pulled in so many directions – tackling customer issues, meeting rep needs, completing administrative work, attending meetings, etc., etc. In spite of their busy schedules, the majority of sales managers agree that coaching their reps is a key priority. Yet, when you look at how sales managers actually do spend their time, coaching sales reps takes a backseat to other responsibilities. The reasons for this may be numerous, but regardless, there is a disconnect between sales managers’ beliefs regarding the importance of rep coaching and the actions they take.

    When there is a disconnect between our beliefs and our actions, it can be for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common is a lack of enjoyment in that particular activity. For example, I believe that eating a healthy diet is important. I believe it can not only give me more energy and keep me well, but can actually prolong my life. However, I often choose to eat greasy foods or sweet desserts rather than grilled fish or steamed broccoli. If I really believe in the importance of healthy eating, why do I do this? It’s simply because I enjoy the taste of the greasy food or sweet desserts more. For many sales managers, spending time coaching their reps is like eating their broccoli. There are simply tasks on their plate that they enjoy doing more.

    So, how can a sales manager who doesn’t naturally enjoy coaching their sales reps make it more of a priority? The answer is simple - by trying new ways to do it. The same way that preparing broccoli differently can make it more palatable for me, trying different techniques can increase enjoyment of coaching reps for sales managers. And ultimately, by learning how to find greater enjoyment in rep coaching, sales managers are more likely to do it regularly.

    We encourage you to consider the following questions and recommendations to find more enjoyment in your own rep coaching:

    1. What type of coaching activities do you enjoy doing the most? Do you like holding one-to-one meetings with your reps? Going with them on joint sales calls? Conducting team learning events? Find the different coaching activities that work well for you and spend more time coaching in this way.
    1. What is your preferred coaching style? Do you enjoy asking questions and helping your reps make self-discoveries? Does a structured process for feedback make it easier? Do you like to have informal conversations and make suggestions as different issues arise? Figure out the coaching style that makes sense for you and use it.
    1. What are your greatest strengths as a coach? Are you a great listener? Are you good at delivering candid, but supportive feedback? Can you create effective growth experiences for your team? Consider what you do best as a coach and leverage these strengths.

    For some sales managers, spending time coaching reps may always be like eating their broccoli. But most of us can find ways to enjoy it more if we do it the way that works best for us. Figure out when you like to coach, how you like to coach and what you do best as a coach. This will help you derive more enjoyment from coaching your sales reps so you will want to spend more time doing it.


    Come to our Spring Coaching Summit and learn more techniques on how to effectively coach your sales team.

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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.

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