A sports coach relentlessly trains players to improve, with the aim of making them better every day. S/he works on enhancing the best players’ strengths rather than on removing weaknesses. According to Nathan Jamail, in his book The Sales Leader Playbook, “The best players do not necessarily win because they always execute the most difficult plays. They simply practice the basics, and get winning results. Focus on strengths and practice the basics until your players are great at these basics.”
In a similar vein, a Sales Coach enables sales teams or leaders development, improve job performance and reduce learning time. They also help retain top performers by getting them to understand themselves better and seek more possibilities to reach to their potential. Coaches in fact make already high performing sales people become even more effective and successful.
Sales Coaches find each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and learning capabilities. They draw from and leverage their own experience, and are also data-driven and analytical. They ask for accountability and commitment from the sales person, and use hard data to measure progress, impact and improvement after coaching sessions.
Keith Rosen said in his book Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions, “Coaching uses a process of inquiry so that sales people can access their own energy or inner strength to reach their own level of awareness. Tapping into a person’s previously unused strengths and talents advances personal growth and learning, which challenges people to discover their personal best.”
The focus on individual goals and aspirations is key to Sales Coaching, as it gives the sales person a future to work towards. It ties and aligns their own personal development goals with achievement of company goals. This ensures that their performance benefits both the individual and the organization. This alignment makes Sales Coaching so potent.
Do Sales Coaches need to know sales in order to be a good coach? The answer is a resounding yes. Sports and Sales are clear cases of applied coaching which demands an understanding of the subject in order to be able to connect and engage with the client. Gordon Lord, head of Professional Coach Development at Rugby Football Union in 2017 said, “I believe that anybody helping someone else has to possess a feeling for what it is they’re trying to achieve; and I think you need to have lived to an extent within the sport, not necessarily competing at the highest level, but you have to have a feeling for the sport and a feeling for people, if you’re going to be a coach.”