The Coaching Effect Blog

Sales Coaching: Another Reason It Matters

Posted by Stacia Jorgensen

March 23, 2016


This past month, I learned a valuable lesson. It’s quite a simple lesson. It’s so simple, in fact, that I think its sheer simplicity makes it easy to overlook.

Here’s the quick back story:

Each February, my children’s elementary school puts on a reading competition. Kids, classrooms, and grade level compete to read as many pages as possible. There are prizes when collective goals are met, raffles for participation, and an overall festive air. While most kids just go along with this program for the roughly three weeks of the competition, my son looks at it as the Olympics, Super Bowl, and World Cup all combined. For the past three years, he entered each reading competition with one goal in mind: top reader (most minutes read) in his grade. He becomes consumed in this competition. He gets up early to read. He turns down playdates. He passes on going to the movies. It’s an intense month.

My daughter, on the other hand, just doesn’t approach life the same way. She happily participates but the competitive desire to win just isn’t part of her happy-go-lucky DNA. She’s more interested in the spirit of the process than an ultimate win.

Now, I serve a distinct role during this competition. I support my son's drive to succeed. Before the completion, we sit down and talk about the goal number of minutes he wants to read. During the competition, I keep him supplied with reading material. Working with him, I track the number of minutes read each day and complete the associated paperwork. I help with unfamiliar words. Do I do the reading for him? Nope. We do some reading aloud as a family at bedtime (Harry Potter Book 5 – check), but the vast bulk of the work is done by him. My job is to support his success, not make his success.  

At the end of the competition, my son met his goal of 7,000 minutes read in 22 days. He even surpassed his goal by 320 minutes and claimed the top reader spot in fourth grade. All in all, his hard work paid off.

But there’s a plot twist!

To our surprise, our daughter was named the top reader in her grade, too. The effort that my son put forth, and that I put forth to support him, had impacts beyond simply him. Because of our interactions, my daughter was influenced.  She achieved more than she probably would have had she not been exposed to my son’s desire to achieve and my efforts to facilitate his and her reading.

The moral of this story: 

Making purposeful coaching investments in any one rep on your team can have significant and lasting impacts beyond that particular individual. Let’s say you have one rep that could use some role play. Why not include other team members? Do you have a highly driven individual on your team? Be vocal about your work with them and their accomplishments. Your coaching doesn’t need to be secluded or exclusive. By engaging your team more collectively, your coaching efforts can have multiplicative effects.

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