Sales Coaching Blog

The Best Managers Are Annoying

Posted by Sarah Wirth

February 17, 2017

Sometimes my boss really annoys me.

Don’t worry about him reading this – we have a really great relationship, so I’ve said this to his face a few times. Specifically, he annoys me when I’m working on a new project and I think I’ve come up with the right idea, only to have him ask me a bunch of questions that poke holes in my thinking. Just when I think I’ve arrived at a conclusion, his challenging questions put me back at square one – that’s annoying!

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Topics: Catalytic Factor, sales manager performance, Catalytic Coaching

Excuses vs. Challenges: Helping Reps Overcome Performance Obstacles

Posted by Sarah Wirth

May 11, 2016

All reps are confronted with obstacles as they work to achieve their sales goals. Sometimes they come in the form of a major competitor introducing an innovative new product. Sometimes they stem from an internal change like a territory being split into two. Sometimes they may be self-inflicted like a lack of focus leading to a drop in sales activity numbers. Regardless of what created the obstacle, when it does arise, reps may be tempted to use it as an excuse for not hitting their sales number. As sales managers, the question is "will we let them?"

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Topics: Catalytic Factor, sales coaching, Leadership challenges

Sales Leadership Challenge: Thinking outside the box

Posted by Kathy Collins

March 14, 2016

Sometimes we are all in need of a fresh perspective.  My constant inspiration to think outside of the box most often comes from my son Aden and his band of brothers he calls neighbors, friends, teammates…dudes.  Recently they were all staring at our play structure in the backyard which they had sadly outgrown and said to one another, what else could it be?  And then the craziness really began.  My husband and I let the boys build, and build and build…and build.  After 2 weeks we had quite a mess and a veritable ‘condo’ for 12-year old boys in our backyard.  Wisely, my husband let them build without a plan only to illustrate what happens when you don’t have a plan.  Needless to say, while it looked cool, it was unsteady, sloppy and not build to last. What happened then was a shining example of how good planning, mapping out, measurement, strategy and execution could be the difference between the catalytic factor and chaos.

As sales leaders, we are constantly barraged with new problems-to-solve, challenges and opportunities. The demand on our time is infinite while the pressure to perform in our own positions as well as coach our teams mount every day.  This pace often pushes us into a state complexity.  The desire to create order from complexity may sometimes cause us to react without measuring, planning, executing to the best strategy possible.  In order to effectively counteract this tendency, as a sales coach you must be highly disciplined in how to engage and challenge your team members to not only rise to the occasion when faced with complexity, but to thrive in the face of it. The collective engagement of the group is always stronger than the engagement of just a few individuals.  To challenge and push team members to maximize performance a coach must be able to inject the catalytic factor in a manner that is meaningful to the leader and the team.  In essence, the catalytic factor pushes people to find new ways to do things, solve problems, think in new, innovative ways as well to be able to tackle difficult challenges.

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Topics: Catalytic Factor, Leadership & Management, sales manager, sales management

Don't Be Afraid To Challenge Your Reps: It's What They Actually Want

Posted by Sarah Wirth

October 14, 2015

My 9-year-old son is a tennis player. He absolutely loves the sport and really works hard at it.  Recently, we were talking about his coaches, as has a few different ones at his tennis club. I asked him out of all of his coaches, who were his favorites.  When he gave me two names, I asked him why those were his favorite coaches and he replied, “I like them best because they push me. The other coaches are really nice, but they sometimes let kids mess around in class. I like the ones that make us work.” This answer made me smile because it showed me that even a 9-year-old knows the difference between nice coaches and those that really drive performance.

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Topics: Catalytic Factor, sales coaching, sales performance

Are You in a Mid-Season Slump?

Posted by Kathy Collins

June 27, 2015

I am a baseball mom. 

It's a short sentence that packs a whole lot of responsibility. Our son Aden, age 13, plays between 60-70 games during the regular season and when not in regular season there's post season, then pre-season, indoor practice, lessons...you get the picture. 

What's most interesting about our experience with baseball this year is not necessarily the skill development, or even watching Aden and his 'band of brothers' play ball. What has given us the most growth as a family is the experience of watching Aden go through one of the longest and most painful batting slumps you could imagine. Out of 73 at bats, to date, he has only hit the ball 9 nine times to get on base. Nine.

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Topics: sales leadership, Catalytic Factor, Sales Management, Sales Mangers

Average Leadership...the #1 Threat to Your Company

Posted by Kathy Collins

April 16, 2015

Business leaders spend an inordinate amount of time these days trying to understand how to protect an organization from its own demise.  Is a better marketing strategy needed, new product development, adding to your sales force?  Sometimes the answer is right in front of our face. The best way to strengthen an organization is investing in your greatest asset--your team.

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Topics: Catalytic Factor, Adaptive Leadership, coaching sales people

Leadership Challenge: Pursuing a Fresh Perspective

Posted by Kathy Collins

February 5, 2015


Sometimes we are all in need of a fresh perspective.  My constant inspiration to think outside of the box most often comes from my son Aden and his band of brothers he calls neighbors, friends, teammates…dudes.  Recently they were all staring at our play structure in the backyard which they had sadly outgrown and said to one another, what else could it be?  And then the craziness really began.  My husband and I let the boys build, and build and build…and build.  After 2 weeks we had quite a mess and a veritable ‘condo’ for 12-year old boys in our backyard.  Wisely, my husband let them build without a plan only to illustrate what happens when you don’t have a plan.  Needless to say, while it looked cool, it was unsteady, sloppy and not build to last. What happened then was a shining example of how good planning, mapping out, measurement, strategy and execution could be the difference between the catalytic factor and chaos.

As sales leaders, we are constantly barraged with new problems-to-solve, challenges and opportunities. The demand on our time is infinite while the pressure to perform in our own positions as well as coach our teams mount every day.  This pace often pushes us into a state complexity.  The desire to create order from complexity may sometimes cause us to react without measuring, planning, executing to the best strategy possible.  In order to effectively counteract this tendency, as a sales coach you must be highly disciplined in how to engage and challenge your team members to not only rise to the occasion when faced with complexity, but to thrive in the face of it. The collective engagement of the group is always stronger than the engagement of just a few individuals.  To challenge and push team members to maximize performance a coach must be able to inject the catalytic factor in a manner that is meaningful to the leader and the team.  In essence, the catalytic factor pushes people to find new ways to do things, solve problems, think in new, innovative ways as well to be able to tackle difficult challenges.

Read More

Topics: Catalytic Factor, Leadership & Management, sales manager, sales management

What Robin Williams Taught Us About Complexity

Posted by Kathy Collins

August 21, 2014

I loved being a student, and especially loved my classes where the focus was literature, writing and creativity.  It was my first year of college and I was placed in an honors English class at the University of Nebraska.  I was a nervous wreck on my first day. I was right to be nervous, but once I took my seat I knew I was in for a memorable moment in my educational experience.  We were empowered from the first day to be brave in our writing, in our classroom conversations with one another and in our efforts to create a piece of writing that would raise the bar on our expectations of ourselves.  It was my first experience with complexity within academics and experiencing the catalytic factor, and it would serve me very well in the years to come. It was also the same year Dead Poets Society was released, watching it now is as powerful speaking to my love of learning as it was then.

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Topics: Catalytic Factor, Complexity Theory

Average Leadership...the #1 Threat to Your Company Today

Posted by Kathy Collins

July 24, 2014

Business leaders spend an inordinate amount of time these days trying to understand how to protect an organization from its own demise.  Is a better marketing strategy needed, new product development, adding to your sales force?  Sometimes the answer is right in front of our face. The best way to strengthen an organization is investing in your greatest asset--your team.

Read More

Topics: Catalytic Factor, Adaptive Leadership, coaching sales people

Put Your Team into Complexity: Leadership Lessons from Moneyball

Posted by Sarah Wirth

September 19, 2013

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Topics: sales leadership, Leadership Culture, Motivation, Catalytic Factor, Complexity Theory, Innovation, sales team development, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute

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