In this series we will give you our top tips to get the most out of your coaching and your sales people, in step one we look at laying down solid foundation with a coaching contract. This will save you a lot of heart ache with lack of buy in and resistance what ever your role.
Part one – how to set up a sales coaching contract
Whether you are coaching as a manager or as a peer, clear contracting is vital in any sales coaching/mentoring relationship. Setting specific targets also increases the likelihood of success. So here are some suggestions for clarifying the coaching contract
Whilst the following process sounds very structured, you can do it in your own way. It will provide the basis for building a successful coaching relationship.
Talk them through your motives and goals for the coaching
You may start by having an informal conversation with the person. This may be face-to-face, on the phone or even by email. In my own work, for example, I do a lot of coaching via Skype. Before our first meeting I explain what I can help with and, sometimes just as importantly, what I can’t.
A lot of my work is with managers wanting to improve their self awareness and awareness of others so below is an example of what I might set out in terms of how I can help or not help
The topics I can help with include:
- How to clarify your picture of success.
- How to build on your strengths and manage the consequences of any weaknesses.
- How to pursue practical strategies for achieving your goals.
- How to find solutions to particular challenges you face when understanding yourself and others.
- How to continue to do your best to achieve your picture of success.
It is important to establish your role, are you a manager wanting to help and develop them by giving them feedback and advice because of your experience, or are you a peer wanting to help them set goals and offer advice and feedback from a different perspective.
You can meet with the person to explore the coaching contract
Step 1 – Start by talking through your motives and intentions and get feedback from them about how they see these sessions so something like –“Thank you for your time today. I am sure that we are both prepared to work hard to achieve the goals. Before we start the coaching I want to talk honestly about why we are doing this and what my aims are and what you also would like to get out of these sessions”
Step 2 – Ask some curious questions to understand their expectations some examples are below:
- What are results you want to achieve?
- What are your reasons for these goals and the benefits of achieving them?
- Tell me how you feel about these sessions?
- How do you like to receive feedback?
Encourage the person to talk honestly. You can then have a similar conversation regarding the mutual responsibilities and the specific measures.
You can finalise the coaching contract and, if appropriate, embark on the actual coaching
Ask them how they now feel about the coaching to enable the person to reflect and make any comments around your contract. Make sure you are both agreed on the specific goals, the mutual responsibilities and the measures.
In each call clarify the specific goal the person wants to achieve so you can use this in the debrief and check what role they want you to have (or what role your will have) for example will you stay out of it totally or do they want you to jump in and help. Its useful to set up in advance how this happens so it doesn’t look strange to the customer.
Watch them in action and focus on:
- The specific things they are doing well and how they can follow these principles more in the future.
- The specific things they can do better in the future and how.
- Offer practical tools they can use to achieve their picture of success.
Remember to stay honest and human and react in the moment.
Different coaches use different models for helping people to achieve their goals. Whichever model you use, however, it can be useful to start by making clear contracts about the specific goals the coachee wants to achieve. This helps to improve the chances of success. Good luck!
Keep an eye out for Part 2 – “How to give feedback as a gift”