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Styles of coaching for
differing performance levels

Coaching through a Slump

One challenge of coaching is that your team members are at different performance levels at different times. Who do you coach, when do you coach, what coaching style do you use for different performance levels? When a team member is in a slump they will be sure to get attention, but what about the players who are doing OK? What about your star performers? Don’t they need some form of coaching as well?

The common belief among sales managers is to leave things well enough alone when things are going well. Don’t mess with what’s working. “Leave Mary alone…she is doing fine” Wrong!

When to Coach

  • If a rep is below expectation, you should counsel them.
  • If they are meeting expectations you coach them.
  • And if they exceed expectations you develop them.

When a rep is underperforming and not meeting expectations, everybody knows you coach them. But why is it that many managers don’t bother to coach the reps who are meeting or exceeding expectations? Those are the reps you hate to lose...yet often these are the reps that want the attention but won’t tell you. If fact they reject attention usually, depending upon how you approach them. The question is do you, as a manager, know how to coach a rep who consistently exceeds expectations? Probably not, that’s why you don’t do it...and that’s often why they leave.

Think of it this way. When below expectations, the manager should use authority to take charge of remediating the situation. When a reps is meeting expectations, the role of the manager should refrain from using authority and let the rep take control of their growth.

When the rep is exceeding expectations, the manager should shift their coaching to development which requires some experimentation and possibly some risk taking. The focus is on the future. “You’re doing great as a territory rep...I wonder how you’d do as a key account rep?” The focus for the “exceeding expectations” rep moves from the current job to a potential future orientation without building expectation. Building bench strength is the focus. More about this in a future Viewpoints article.

Are You Up For the Challenge of Coaching?

No matter what the performance level...each poses a challenge for you to maximize their productivity. And your approach to them is based on your performance level as well.

Watch for more on your job as a sales manager in coming issues of Systema Viewpoints.

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