Sales coaching is essential for improving revenue, personal development and other desirable outcomes. However, it’s often hard for sales leaders to balance coaching with their other priorities. While one-to-one coaching is ideal, team coaching can save time while allowing people to work through things on their minds.
When you create a coaching culture in your team, you position coaching as an integral part of your sales operation. As you improve your coaching ability, you create a foundation for your team to build coaching into its operating rhythm.
In this article, we will explore three types of team coaching that sales managers can implement to help their team fulfil their true potential.
Topic-led coaching is an effective way for sales managers to coach their team members together. In this type of coaching, the manager comes to the session with a topic and some coaching questions around that topic. The team then works out solutions by answering the questions. The manager's role is to sit back and facilitate the conversation, keeping the team on track by asking the right questions.
To implement topic-led coaching, come with a variety of coaching questions that focus on specific areas you want to improve in your team. For example, if the team needs to improve their demo delivery, the manager can ask questions like:
"Think about the purpose of the demos"
"How does this purpose affect how we think about the demos we deliver?"
"Reflecting on the demos we’ve done recently, how did you prepare? How did you deliver? What did you struggle with?"
By asking open-ended questions, you encourage your team to think critically and develop solutions.
During the session, let the conversation flow and follow where it goes. For example, if someone mentions something they struggle with, follow the thread and let the team focus on specific things they have noticed. Your goal is to facilitate a conversation where team members can help each other and work out solutions.
One benefit of topic-led coaching is that it lets team members learn from each other. When team members work together to solve problems, they can share their experiences and insights. This type of coaching is also less formal than one-to-one coaching, making it more accessible to some team members.
It's important to note that topic-led coaching is different from training. While the manager provides the topic and the questions, the team members work out the solutions themselves. This type of coaching is about helping the team discover the answers rather than telling them what to do. By asking the right questions and facilitating the conversation, sales managers can help their team improve their skills and reach their true potential.
Discussion-led coaching is another effective way for sales managers to coach their entire team in one session. Unlike topic-led coaching, there is no agenda for discussion-led coaching. Instead, the goal is simply to start a conversation and see where it leads. This type of coaching is excellent for tactical work, as you give team members the opportunity to coach each other.
One benefit of discussion-led coaching is that it can be less formal than topic-led coaching. Sales managers can even call it a team meeting, making it accessible to junior team members who may feel intimidated by the idea of coaching sessions. By empowering team members to coach each other, sales managers create a supportive environment where everyone learns from each other's experiences.
To implement discussion-led coaching, formulate conversation starters that encourage their team members to think critically. For example, you could:
Play a call recording
Display or read out an email to a prospect
Ask, "What are the top 3 things we’ve experienced this week that we’re struggling with?"
These conversation starters provide a starting point for the discussion, but the team members determine the direction of the conversation.
During the session, your role is to facilitate the conversation, keep the team on track, and ensure everyone participates. Encourage team members to share their experiences and insights, and ask questions to clarify and expand on their ideas. By fostering an open and supportive environment, you help your team members develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Discussion-led coaching can also help sales managers identify areas where team members need further coaching or training. By listening to the conversation, you spot gaps in your team's knowledge and identify areas where you need to provide more support. This type of coaching is an excellent way for sales managers to stay informed about their team's progress and help them improve their skills.
Multi-voice coaching is another effective way for sales managers to coach their whole team together. In this type of coaching, the manager brings other voices to the coaching session. This could be someone from outside the team or someone within the team who has expertise in a specific area. Multi-voice coaching has several advantages, including providing the team with a fresh perspective and making coaching even less about the manager than it was before.
To implement multi-voice coaching, identify areas where your team members need support and expertise. For example, if some of the SDRs in your team want to get promoted to AE, you could bring in someone who has made that progression. The expert can then run a discussion-led session about what makes a great AE. During the discussion, your team members can ask questions and share their experiences.
During the session, your role is to facilitate the conversation, ensuring everyone can participate and that the discussion stays on track. Encourage your team members to ask questions and share their experiences and insights. By fostering an open and supportive environment, you help your team members build critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
One benefit of multi-voice coaching is that it gives the team a fresh angle. Sometimes, team members can become stuck in their ways and struggle to see things from different perspectives. When you bring in an expert, you get new insights and show your team new ways of looking at things. This helps your team members think differently and identify new solutions to problems.
Like discussion-led coaching, multi-voice coaching can also help you identify areas where your team members need further coaching or training.
Effective team coaching is a key component of any successful sales operation. By utilising the three types of coaching discussed in this post, sales leaders can help their teams discover solutions and reach their full potential.
Topic-led coaching allows team members to work together and learn from each other. In contrast, discussion-led coaching is a great way to provide tactical coaching and create a supportive environment. Multi-voice coaching can give the team a fresh perspective and identify areas for further coaching or training.
Whether it's one-to-one or team coaching, the key is to keep the conversation focused, facilitate an open and supportive environment, and help your team members discover the answers for themselves. With the right approach to coaching, sales leaders can create a culture of continuous improvement that helps their team succeed.
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