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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14824

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: news

Wayland M.
Delivering The Ultimate Coaching Outcome 2008 Dec 4

Full text:

I start my sales coaching program by asking the group of sales managers,
“what would you like answered during this workshop?”

The typical answers are: “what can I say to win my point?” or “how can I get
my sales representatives to do things my way?” or “how can I convince my
sales representatives to do it the right way?” or “how can I get them to
understand …?”

When I ask why those particular questions, the managers explain that
typically sales coaching centres on some aspect of “improving” a sales
representative’s ability to sell. The manager notes some “deficiencies” in a
sales call and afterwards, they sit down with them to rectify the situation.

And I ask, “tell me more?”

They then talk about the pressure they are under. And it comes from a
variety of sources.

On one level sales managers need to drive the interests of the company and
on another, the interests of the sales representative team. And always, the
pressure of achieving sales goals. Add to those limitations in doctor
access, following the industry code of conduct and the competition from
other bigger, stronger and wealthier pharmaceutical companies. Plus the
competition between time spent coaching and the other tasks associated with
sales management. Phew!

Sales coaching then, occurs in a context of expediency or urgency in getting

This creates a tendency for sales managers to coach by “jumping to
solutions”. Coaching sessions contain a lot of talking, telling and offering
of solutions. Getting them to “understand”

After all, the manager was once a sales representative and has “been there
and done that”, experienced the challenge so is full of solutions.
“Coaching” to them is akin to “passing on my wisdom”.

What’s surprising is that they then report that performance improvement by
the representative is slower than expected. Often that need to “get them to
understand”, etc comes from the coach’s perspective and can drive the
discussion into a dead end. Why?

Peter Drucker, a business thought leader, addressed this kind of dilemma in
a Harvard Business Review article, “What Makes an Effective Executive”.

He wrote that the best managers he has worked with had a huge variety of
personalities, attitudes, values, strengths and weaknesses. “They ranged
from extroverted to nearly reclusive, from easygoing to controlling, from
generous to parsimonious.” So it wasn’t their personalities that determined

The thing that Peter saw was a shift in CONTEXT. The particular context they
had for the sales coaching after, or before, a sales call was established by
asking 2 simple “big picture” business questions:

“What needs to be done?” and “What’s right for the business/ enterprise?”

In other words, they establish a business context for the coaching
conversation first. A context that focuses on the business issues rather
than their personal issues. Jumping to solutions never happened. They talked
“big picture” before they talked about implementation.

Excellence in sales coaching starts with an agreed context of the
representative’s performance; the “why” before the “what”.

You know you’re getting there when the representative asks, “How do I get
that?” “Will this work for me?” “Is that really possible?” “Who else has
done it?” “How do I start?”


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