When your people feel understood and appreciated, they will be intensely loyal to the manager who has demonstrated
care and interest in their development.
When you hear the word “coach”, what comes to mind?
We often associate “coach” with a sports analogy. However, the origin of the word speaks to a different level of understanding. Historically, a coach was a horse-drawn carriage that transported important people from where they were to where they wanted to be. Isn’t that what you want to do when coaching?
The Business Case for Coaching
First and foremost, consistent, quality coaching improves business results. Studies from the Sales Executive Council, Gallup Research and Harvard Business Review has shown that employees who have had manager coaching:
– Outperform peers (+27%)
– Are significantly more engaged (+25%)
– Apply more discretionary effort (+18)
– Are 11% more promotable
And our own research also clearly shows the impact of coaching on sales teams. We found a 15% gap in sales revenue achievement between firms that are effective at coaching their salespeople vs. those who are ineffective. And time spent coaching matters as well. In our survey, firms saying they coached 9 or more hours per manager per week – regardless of coaching effectiveness or quality – realize more than 12.6% better sales performance compared to firms coaching less than 2.5 hours per manager per week. Also worth noting is that coaching is not just for marginal or underperfoming sales reps. Firms we polled that provide sales coaching to their high-performing salespeople realize 10% higher sales goal achievement.
Retaining Top Talent
In First Break All the Rules, Buckingham and Coffman state that when high performers leave organizations, they do so as a result of the relationship with their immediate supervisors. They leave managers who don’t care about them as people, or recognize their innate need to be understood and valued. We’ve all heard this frequently- people don’t leave jobs. They leave managers.
Turnover rates are not only costly from a recruitment and training standpoint. High levels of sales team turnover impacts your ability to serve your customers well, consistently grow and simply be productive as an organization.
The Personal Case for Coaching
In addition to the business case, there is also a compelling personal case for coaching. We’ve all had someone in our lives who helped us recognize our potential and see greater possibilities. You can become this person for those you coach. There is personal fulfillment that comes from seeing people you have coached be more engaged on the job, expend more discretionary effort to get the job done and ultimately reach their goals.
When people feel understood and appreciated, they will be intensely loyal to the manager who has demonstrated care and interest.
So, Why Don’t People Coach?
As you can see, there is a business and personal case for coaching. So the question becomes – why don’t people coach? It is often not a case of skills, as much as it is a matter of honestly looking at your own beliefs and confidence about coaching. In a Sales Management Association research report on Hiring Top Sales Management Talent, coaching ability (not surprisingly) ranked among the top 5 competencies companies consider when evaluating a salesperson’s qualifications for a management promotion. But firms in the study rated their effectiveness at developing managers’ coaching ability at just 50 on a 100-point scale.
Take a look at findings from our own research on coaching. It’s no wonder sales managers feel left to fend for themselves when:
Our Coaching Congruence Model can provide some valuable insights for self reflection.
An important point to remember is that coaching is as much about your own development as it is about developing the performance of the people around you.
Although coaching skills are important, values and a genuine belief in people are often far more influential.
The Coaching Congruence Model describes five key dimensions that impact coaching effectiveness. The dimensions are:
View of Coaching. Do I see coaching as an investment in helping people achieve their fullest potential, or telling them what they did wrong?
View of Abilities. Do I believe I have the necessary talents and abilities to coach based on my View of Coaching?
Values. Do I exhibit positive values such as sincerity, honesty and integrity when interacting with my people? Positive values are more likely to build trust and engagement.
Commitment to Activities. Do I understand the activities necessary to be a successful coach and am I willing to consistently practice them?
Belief in People. Do I believe in my people and see possibilities they may not see in themselves? Do I understand how these beliefs are communicated through words and actions?
Your beliefs and expectations about people often become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Gaps Decrease Coaching Effectiveness
The arrows between the circles above represent problems or lack of alignment. When gaps occur, conflicts are created that diminish coaching effectiveness. For example:
- You may have high Values, but see coaching as only providing corrective feedback. Therefore, you will almost certainly be less likely to coach except during a performance appraisal or after observing a call.
- Perhaps you have a positive View of Coaching, but simply don’t allocate scheduled time to conduct developmental coaching sessions.
Either of these gaps will create an internal conflict that will diminish coaching effectiveness. Alignment (or congruence) results in greater engagement, less turnover and high performing teams.
Alignment Increases Coaching Commitment
When these dimensions are in congruence or alignment, there is an increased commitment to incorporate coaching into daily activities.
To self-assess, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I believe that coaching is developing potential in people?
- Do I believe I have the ability to be highly successful as I coach?
- Do I live by and model values of integrity, honesty, and sincerity?
- Am I willing to do all the activities required to be a successful coach?
- Do I have an unwavering belief in the potential of my people?
Honestly assessing strengths and gaps will greatly impact your own job satisfaction and the performance of your team.
The starting point is to recognize your strengths and leverage them to improve performance. Then, identify gaps and set goals with specific actions to bring them into alignment.