Neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, Nyasha Pitt, writes about the benefits of sales coaching…
The coaching industry has exploded in the last few years.
According to Forbes, the coaching industry is now worth more than $2billion globally. According to the International Coach Federation, the largest professional coaching organisation, the number of coaches has grown by approximately 1,500 in the last four years, taking conservative estimates to around 53,000 coaches worldwide. Western Europe leads the way with nearly 19,000 coaches; North America is not trailing too far behind with more than 17,500.
So, what are the benefits of sales coaching for the jewellery industry?
Ultimately, successful sales coaching delivers positive impacts to the bottom line. It can also motivate employees and improve the working environment for all employees. Motivated employees tend to be more productive and also, crucially, more loyal; so, the investment made in their development reaps benefits for the individual and the business, as you invest in and retain talent. And as your sales team grows in confidence, they are also likely to grow their sales at the same time.
Sales training versus coaching…
The two disciplines should not be confused; sales training, when coupled with effective processes and CRM systems, are critical to the success of any sales team. Sales coaching, however, should be used to reinforce positive behaviours that in turn enhance the practices sales people have been trained in.
How do you create a sustainable coaching culture?
There are some basic principles to bear in mind when considering how to adopt a coaching culture within your organisation. The most important element to remember is that the employee(s) selected for coaching must be open to that opportunity.
All too often, coaching is used as a stick to ‘rectify negative behaviours’. Think about this. Put yourself in that employee’s shoes.
It doesn’t matter how positive something is, if it has been positioned as a panacea for your inadequacies, it is unlikely to motivate anyone to change.
Coaching is about providing a set of tools for an individual to use to successfully navigate personal or organisational challenges.
And, to successfully create a coaching culture, everyone must be on board. Again, this is the same whether you are considering coaching for your sales team or your executive board. When it comes to coaching, one bad apple can absolutely spoil the barrel. Which is a shame as often this negativity can be avoided if the sell to the team is handled in the right way.
Coaching should be seen as the reward that it is.
Effective coaching can often improve attitudes and behaviours in more areas of an individual’s life, than just the area they were initially focusing on.
How coachable is your team?
Recruitment is expensive. Sales success relies on a positive mindset and the ability to adapt and respond to new audiences, changes in the economic environment, and emerging competitor products. If your business has or wishes to have a coaching culture, then its critical that you recruit sales people that will thrive in this environment.
The right individual may well be attracted by the proactive message that your business continually invests in the development and wellbeing of its staff. And though aptitude is important, attitude is critical.
In terms of coachability, recruiters should look for certain traits including curiosity, proactivity, positivity, reflection and openness. Highly coachable candidates will also demonstrate high levels of respect and a willingness to step outside of their comfort zone.
Highly coachable individuals are also likely to be passionate advocates, who will champion the coaching culture through both words and action.
What does a coaching culture look like?
Whether you choose to bring in external coaches or train up in-house talent, the ethos of a coaching culture starts in one place. From the top.
In fact, it may well be worth investing in executive or performance coaching for the business owner or leader, prior to or in tandem with the investment in coaching for the wider team.
Not only is it extremely powerful for the team to witness the investment in self-development at the top, leaders may well have their own epiphanies about the business and the team, which in turn may feed into the coaching requirements for the business as a whole.
True coaching cultures do not rely solely on external consultants. Coaching companies live the philosophy with coaching undertaken at all levels, at all times; including structured 1-2-1 coaching with managers, ‘corridor coaching’, collegiate coaching and ‘upwards’ coaching.
Where external consultants can be especially powerful is in helping an organisation to kickstart the culture; providing coaching at senior levels, disseminating that ethos across the business, and also training managers to be able to effectively coach their team; ensuring that the entire team has the tools and approaches to maintain the coaching culture when the consultant has long gone.
The most critical factor in all of this is that performance is continually monitored. Coaching should not become a vanity exercise; measurement should consider both quantitative and qualitative results. Increases in confidence should be noted, as well as increases in leads or sales.