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Who is a Sales Coach?

Updated: May 29, 2021

Upon reading a good job description for a Sales Coach, one might think of the Coach as a highly involved, mindful and supportive Sales Manager. Reflect upon it some more, and what emerges is the description of a person capable of looking beyond his/her own functional boundaries, and becoming an agent of personal and professional transformation for the entire team. And in the process, sales performance soars!

Though a Sales Coach engages with the sales team as a whole and the interactions are often team-based, the real impact is quite personal, as the coaching aims to improve each individual performance.

Here are the FIVE most important things that a Sales Coach does to get the best out of every individual sales person on the team:

  1. The Coach helps the sales person define challenging goals and strategies that will tap deep into their motivations (not always money alone!), and lead to high sales energy, focus, and effort, even when faced with obstacles.

  2. The Coach makes the sales person draw connections between their actions and goals, and define what they will (and won’t) do, and thereby prioritize their time effectively to achieve their goals.

  3. The Coach supports the sales person in developing powerful habits that enable them to move towards their goals, by being consistent with creating and executing on action plans.

  4. The Coach guides the sales person by asking exploratory questions and allowing them to find their own answers. They also offer direct advice when required. Based on the sales person’s expertise, the Coach determines to direct (“do XYZ”) or facilitate (“let us explore together”).

  5. The Coach assesses the sales person’s needs for skill or knowledge, or behavioral change, and encourages them to work on those development needs. By knowing their capabilities and how they could possibly reach to their potential, assessing the developmental gaps, the Coach recommends additional development goals and resources.

In my assessment, being a Sales Coach is a in fact definite step towards becoming a Sales leader. Yet not every sales leader can coach. Outstanding sales leaders quite visibly embody the qualities of a Coach, and they get talked about it (mostly with affection and sometime with reverence) even after they have moved on, for having brought out the best versions of the sales people they led.

The Purpose of Coaching and Coaches

Coaching help open up the mind, explore motivations and address inhibitors and mental roadblocks. Astute leaders and top professionals lean on a Coach to help them navigate the journey of self-discovery and change. The Coach helps create the space for the client to totally accept any situation, followed by an energetic exploration of new possibilities, and then the emergence of clarity for the way forward.

An effective Coach understands what the leader wants to do, and then focuses totally on the who of the leader – takes the leader through a process of self-discovery and learning, to find their own answers, while holding them accountable throughout.

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