The Coaching Effect Blog

Do more and meet less

Posted by Sarah Wirth

October 10, 2013

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”  This adage was first
written by Cyril Northcote Parkinson in a 1955 essay, so it has come to be known as Parkinson’s Law.  It’s a relatively simple concept – that work will take as long as you allow it to take
– but one that is profound when you consider how true it is.  And I don’t think that there is any activity where Parkinson’s Law is more evident than business meetings. 

We all know the grind of having a calendar full of meetings.  There are so many important things on our to do lists – coaching our reps, responding to customer needs, putting together plans to grow our sales, etc. – that the last thing many of us want to do is sit through yet another hour long meeting.  Typically, that’s not because the information shared or things  discussed in business meeting are unimportant.  On the contrary, the content shared is typically very relevant to us and our work.  No, what frustrates us and makes us dread the meeting is that we also know that much of the time will be wasted on unnecessary discussions, debates and redundant information. Meetings per se are not bad, but how they are conducted often is.

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Topics: Best Practice, New Leaders, Planning, sales leadership, Motivating Sales Team, Performance Review, Motivation, Teamwork, one on one meetings, Adaptive Leadership, Success, sales rep peformance, Leadership & Management, collaboration, professional development, assessment tools, top performing sales organizations, time management

5 Ideas that Add Energy to Sales Meetings

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

March 28, 2011

It pays off to spend some time planning for your sales meeting. Here are a few ideas that will spark some interest and may even lead to some increased sales through the discovery of best practices.
  1. The Daily Huddle is a 20-minute call first thing in the a.m., during which each team member or participant has two minutes to list their biggest accomplishment from the previous day, what they wanted to accomplish that day, and what they needed from the team leader or someone else on the call. The secret to getting the most out of the Daily Huddle: “Keep it short. Keep it focused. And try to have it at the same time every day – first thing in the AM.”
  2. Appreciative Inquiry - select one sales rep to share the story of a recent success ahead of time. They should come prepared to share an overview of the sales process from beginning to end. Listeners question the sales person from a "what's working" frame of reference, and from an unconditional postive stance. The idea is that discoveries and best practices will be made. For more on AI, visit The Appreciative Inquiry Commons (more)
  3. Rattle Some Cages - pick a brainstorming question that will shake things up a bit. For example, "What unwritten rules within our team make it difficult to get things done quickly, efficiently, or profitably?"  For more cage rattling questions visit the Human Capital League (more)
  4. Evaluate the meeting. Make sure that you take the time to step back occasionally to have meeting attendees provide feedback. Ask “what is working?” and “what needs improvement?” This will enable you to continuously improve your meetings.
  5. Invite a Guest. You don’t want to do all the talking, and besides, it’s impossible for you to know everything all the time. Invite professionals from related fields or within your company to talk about their area of expertise and how it relates to the sales team. Be sure to save time for questions. Says Robert Aigner, a team leader for Keller Williams Beverly Hills, who frequently invites guest speakers to his sales team meetings: "It’s not that I don’t think I would bring value on my own, but having a lender talking about condos seems to shed new light."

Have you implemented any of these? How did it go? Did it catch on? What other ideas have you tried?  We'd love to hear from you!

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Topics: sales producer, Best Practice, New Leaders, Engagement, Employee engagement, goals, Motivation, Teamwork, Creativity, Accountability Coaching, sales team, sales coaching, sales coaching, Sales Management, collaboration

Leadership and Sales Coaching Lessons from Women Golfers

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

July 26, 2010

Posted by: Bill Eckstrom, founder and president, EcSELL Institute

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Topics: Best Practice, sales leadership, Teamwork, sales team, sales coaching, coaching

Strategic Sales Planning Retreats

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

May 13, 2010

   EcSELL's fiscal year begins July 1 and it is time for us to get out of the office and spend a day envisioning and mapping our future.  By the way--every team leader, Sales Manager, Sales Executive, etc., should sit down with their respective team a minimum of annually and plan the following year. 

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Topics: Best Practice, sales planning, Planning, goals, Teamwork, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Sales Management, sales management skills, collaboration, collaboration, coaching, Resources for sales managers, sales performance

Preparing A Sales Team to Win the Gold!

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

February 21, 2010

Posted by Ken Eiken, Advisory Council Member of the EcSELL Institute  

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Topics: Best Practice, Career Development, Engagement, Teamwork, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Sales Management, coaching, professional development, Strengths

Sales Coaching in the Field: Customer Visit "Ride Alongs"

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

February 12, 2010

Guest Blog by Ken Eiken, Advisory Council Member of the EcSell Institute 

One of my favorite activities as a sales leader (second only to writing commission checks) is visiting customers with members of my team. Getting out in the field is an excellent time to build relationships with your employees, help them improve their skills AND get valuable "face to face" time with customers.

Too often, we get trapped in the office and all of the activities that come with it - meetings, report writing, etc. So getting out on the road is ALWAYS a welcome event!  Today, I want to present some thoughts on how to use Customer Visit "Ride Alongs" as a coaching tool you can use with your team members.  As usual, I welcome your thoughts and best practices! 

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Topics: Best Practice, Career Development, Engagement, Teamwork, sales coaching, Leadership & Management, Sales Management, sales management skills, coaching, professional development, sales performance, Strengths

The Role of the Sales Coach

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

December 9, 2009

bill eckstrom

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Topics: New Leaders, Teamwork, Sales Management Summit, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Pillars, Executives, Sales Management, coaching, sales leadership conference

5 Steps to Lead a Change in Strategy & Questions to Begin the Process

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

October 27, 2009

1.  Clarify aspirations and business strategy

  • Does your organization have a compelling vision and clear mission?
  • Does it espouse values that people accept and embrace?
  • Is there a clear understanding of your organization’s strategic drivers and business strategy?

2.  Identify capabilities to implement business strategy

  • What are the new organizational capabilities needed as a result of changes in your competitive environment?
  • Will you need to practice leadership differently as a result of those new competitive challenges?
  •  How will you support ongoing organizational change and the individual, team, and organizational learning it requires?

3.  Assess those capabilities

  • Are there changes needed in your organization’s culture because of new competitive challenges?
  • Are you able to identify and minimize aspects of your structure that undercut the ability of individuals and teams to implement your strategy effectively?
  • Do you have mechanisms in place for maintaining a strategic perspective amid tactical, day-to-day demands?
  • Does your organization have adequate systems for attracting, developing, and retaining the talent needed for success?

4.  Make leadership development a key component

  • Which competencies are most critical to the success of your organization and its business strategy?
  • Does your leadership development strategy incorporate multiple types of experiences: training, coaching, mentoring, action learning, and developmental job assignments?
  • Have you created a feedback-rich environment that includes regular opportunities for 360-degree leader effectiveness feedback from bosses, peers, direct reports, and other key stakeholders, as well as periodic self-assessments?
  • Do you provide opportunities for developing not only individual leaders, but also strategic teams?

5.  Get top leadership support

  • Does the top see leadership as a strategic competitive advantages?
  • Are members of your senior team willing to be public champions of leadership and leadership development?
  • Do you have a communication plan for making the link between your leadership strategy and business strategy understood throughout the organization?

From Richard Hughes and Katherine Beatty (2005, December) 5 steps to leading strategically. T+D, p. 46-48.  


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Topics: New Leaders, sales planning, Planning, Research, Teamwork, Creativity, Innovation, Leadership & Management, Executives

How's Your Team's Morale?

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

October 5, 2009

Would you be suprised to learn that research has found that salesperson morale is a defining characteristic of sales productivity? 

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Topics: Best Practice, Engagement, Research, Teamwork, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Sales Management, collaboration, Wisdom

Big Ideas: A Sales Management Book List

Posted by Jaime Davis-Thomas

September 28, 2009

Here's just a simple list of some of our favorite books on Sales, Management, Leadership, and other interesting topics.

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Topics: New Leaders, Career Development, Engagement, Teamwork, Creativity, CEO, Innovation, professional development for sales management, Leadership & Management, EcSELL Institute, Executives, Sales Management, sales management skills, collaboration, collaboration, coaching, Wisdom, sales management resources, Strengths

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