HARDISON’S TIPS – DECEMBER 6, 2021 – Why Sales Managers Don’t Coach-1
The evidence for the benefits of coaching is compelling. Not only can it help develop your reps and improve selling skills, but high performing sales teams tend to have managers who spend more time coaching, as evidenced by the 2017 Sales Management Research Report. It’s a bit like flossing or going to the gym—we all know we should do it, but for various reasons, it doesn’t happen as often as we might like. So why is that?
We’ve asked this question on numerous webinars and workshops over the past ten years and have collected the following reasons that sales managers may not coach:
#1 Managers Don’t Have Time
The most popular response to the question of why managers don’t do more coaching is that they don’t have time to do it. Coaching takes time and doesn’t have a “due date.” Often coaching is too easily postponed or rescheduled to complete other time-sensitive management activities. Typically, frontline sales managers have way more than 40 hours of “work” to do each week and coaching just adds to that workload. Managers tend to get sucked into urgent tasks that aren’t necessarily the most important or strategic.
Remedy: Try offloading, delegating, or pushing back on activities that aren’t a top priority. Schedule time to develop and execute coaching plans and don’t let other priorities override this critically important job of developing people.
#2 Managers Don’t Know How to Coach
Many managers were promoted to the position because they were great salespeople, but they don’t have previous management experience or aptitude to be managers. They’re often left to figure out on their own how to coach and develop their people— and that’s an expensive way to train managers.
Remedy: Implement a sales specific coaching program to develop the manager’s skills around coaching. Execute the coaching activities that will improve the performance of the sales team.
#3 There is No Consistent Coaching Process
Managers are often reluctant to coach because there hasn’t been a clear process laid out for how to plan, execute and follow-up on coaching. The word “coaching” is used generically to mean any conversation the manager has with a direct report, as opposed to a systematic process for determining coaching priorities, observing behaviors, and engaging the participant in a meaningful coaching conversation that includes follow-up activities. The first ninety days are the most Important.