Of all the things that a sales manager needs to do, the most important is clearly coaching. Honestly, it has the biggest impact on sales success. This isn’t just my opinion, we have data that supports it (see below).

Lots of Coaching, Not Necessarily Effective Coaching

What’s most important is the amount of coaching, not how good it is. This is surprising but the data backs me up. However, the combination of coaching frequency and effectiveness is simply amazing.

Sadly, many managers are uncomfortable coaching. Frequently it is because they don’t want to “micro-manage” individuals. Or sometimes it is because they just don’t know how to do it effectively. They don’t actually coach, rather they tell. “Say this. Do that. Next time be sure to remember…”

How to Coach

True coaching is helping the other party internalize what they did either good or bad so they can learn from it. It’s helping them practice and improve so they are excellent when they are in the real situation.

Here’s a video clip from the movie “Imagine That.” It’s of Eddie Murphy coaching a young girl to sing. While not specifically about sales, it is a great example of how to make coaching fun and effective.

Coaching should absolutely be fun. But another key component is practice. An article I wrote back in 2013 about Nick Saban expands on this point, but it’s worth mentioning again. Practice does not have to be extended role plays. Rather it can be snippets of conversations. Just like football practice. Break it down into chunks and have salespeople practice what they are going to say with you.

So even if you aren’t perfect as a coach, just do it and do it and do it. And be certain to make fun and practice key components.