Coaching for Sales and Business Professionals
Whether you are a salesperson, business manager, or a private business owner, coaching will bring an added dimension in the form of focus, direction and checkpoints.
Consider the analogy of piloting a commercial aircraft in getting the passengers to their intended destination. The pilot maps out a flight plan. The pilot has to take into account fuel consumption, weight of the aircraft, and weather fronts that may be encountered. The plane is controlled by air traffic controllers as the plane is pulled from the gate to the time it pulls into its destination gate. The controller knows the flight plan of the aircraft and can guide the plane to its destination with a general perspective of what is going on in the air space. Similarly the business professional is the pilot of its operation and the coach acts as the air traffic controller. The pilot maps out a business plan and proceeds to execute the plan. However the plan may encounter some bumps and turbulence. The professional can work with the coach to help them maintain their focus as the flight plan is modified. The coach has a broader perspective than the pilot and can help the professional stay on course.
Perhaps there is no other profession that tests the character of an individual than sales. Whether you are in retail and trying to make a sale in a store or an account manager for a large firm, the challenges are similar. They are in the front lines of dealing with customers and have to adjust themselves constantly as no two customers are alike.
The training of a sales professional usually involves acquiring product knowledge and knowing how to use company resources. Beyond this, it is up to the individual on how they will go out and ‘fly the plane’. Because it is a profession where self discipline is paramount and a lot of detail follow-up is required, often the sales rep can lose their sense of direction in trying to juggle many balls with their day-to-day grind. Coaching will provide discipline and accountability to the sales professional and help them in developing the right work ethic to be consistent and effective. This has the added benefit of relieving the sales manager of having to work closely with each of the sales reps.
In addition, sales professionals can go through emotional highs and lows as they work the accounts. Coaching can help dampen out the emotional peaks and valleys so that the sales professional maintains stability in working with customers.
Business managers for a large corporation and private business owners have similar challenges in that they have to pilot their business toward a destination. The difference may be in the type of planes they are flying perhaps a 747 versus an Embraer Jet. Details are important in flying both types and the challenges in reaching the destination are the same.
Consider that running a business requires the manager to gather resources, utilize them efficiently, and motivating the direct reports to carry out their functions effectively.
Coaching business leaders and entrepreneurs to remain effective in their positions starts with them fully understanding what their roles are. Leaders have to properly delegate and empower the right people to carry out certain tasks. It also requires the leaders to set the vision and objectives that fit their business culture and system. They have to maintain discipline but also keep an open mind to new ideas, particularly in the face of competitive threats or changing technologies.
Coaching can be the ‘air traffic control’ that can help navigate the business manager through ‘air turbulence, storms and engine problems’ to their objectives.