In talking with hundreds of sales managers, there are many reasons why they don’t spend more time coaching their sales teams. Sometimes they don’t know how to coach effectively. Sometimes they don’t know which coaching activities to do. Sometimes they don’t enjoy coaching as much as they enjoy other aspects of their work. Yes, there are certainly lots of reason for not coaching more. However, there seems to be one reason that I hear most often… “I don’t have enough time to do all this coaching.”
I know many sales leaders that have jam-packed calendars. These folks are very, very busy, so I definitely understand why they sometimes say they don’t have time. Heck, I know I’ve been guilty of saying the same thing before when my own calendar gets packed. But, this comment also frustrates me because it takes away the leader’s responsibility to make a choice in how they spend their time. When I’ve told people “I’m sorry, I just can’t fit it in right now,” what I’m really saying is that I have other things that I think are more important to do. And that’s a key distinction.
When I recognize and accept that I am the one making choices about what goes on my calendar and how I spend my time, I take more responsibility for making the right choices. I’m more thoughtful about which things really need to go on my calendar immediately, which things can wait until later and which things do not need to go on it at all. When I accept responsibility for my time, I start evaluating different opportunities and choose the ones that align with my goals, the goals of my organization and the goals of my family.
Ultimately, we all have 24 hours in a day. We have to spend at least some of that time eating and sleeping, but it is our choice how we fill the remainder of those 24 hours. And when I step back and realize that, it’s both sobering and empowering. I can’t make excuses that I don’t have time to coach my team because I do have time. It’s my time and I need to take responsibility for how I use it.
So, ask yourself, if you’re not coaching your sales reps as much as you think you should, is it because you don’t have time or is it because you’re not taking responsibility for how you choose to spend your time? And if you believe the coaching your sales reps is crucial to helping them perform, then don’t use your calendar as an excuse. Make coaching a priority. Put coaching activities like one-to-one meetings, joint sales calls and career discussions on your calendar. Don’t let less important activities crowd out what you believe to be a crucial way to drive more sales. Put simply, take the time to coach.