Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives

Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives

by Keith Rosen

ISBN: 9780470142516

Publisher Wiley

Published in Business & Money

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Book Description

Sales training doesn¿t develop sales champions. Managers do.

The secret to developing a team of high performers isn¿t more training but better coaching. When managers effectively coach their people around best practices, core competencies and the inner game of coaching that develops the champion attitude, it makes your training stick. With Keith Rosen¿s coaching methodology and proven L.E.A.D.S. Coaching Framework¿ used by the world¿s top organizations, you¿ll get your sales and management teams to perform better - fast.

Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions is your playbook to creating a thriving coaching culture and building a team of top producers. This book is packed with case studies, a 30 Day Turnaround Strategy for underperformers, a library of coaching templates and scripts, as well as hundreds of powerful coaching questions you can use immediately to coach anyone in any situation.

You will learn how to confidently facilitate powerful, engaging coaching conversations so that your team can resolve their own problems and take ownership of the solution. You¿ll also discover how to leverage the true power of observation and deliver feedback that results in positive behavioral changes, so that you can successfully motivate and develop your team and each individual to reach business objectives faster.

Winner of Five International Best Book Awards, Coaching Salespeople Into Sales Champions is your tactical, step-by-step playbook for any people manager looking to:

Boost sales, productivity and personal accountability, while reducing your workloadConduct customer/pipeline reviews that improve forecast accuracy, customer retention and uncover new selling opportunitiesAchieve a long term ROI from coaching by ensuring it¿s woven into your daily rhythm of businessDesign, launch and sustain a successful internal coaching programTurn-around underperformers in 30 d...


Sample Chapter

The Death of Management


"What is that guy doing?" It was just an odd maneuver. Something out of the ordinary from what would have been a typical everyday experience at the drive-through of a Burger King. I was heading home from a day at the beach, unaware that I'd be having a break-through that would lead to the development of the concepts and strategies in this book.

I watched as the customer in front of me drove from the ordering to the pickup window of the drive-through, but it was closed. "How odd," I thought. Instead of the usual routine, the cashier came outside to deliver the food, headset intact and bags of food in hand. The customer then drove off.

As I pulled up, I wondered if I too would have the same experience. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a digital timer mounted on the wall above the cashier's head. At that moment, the manager at the drive-through window waved me forward, without my food. "We will bring it out to you. Just pull up, please," he requested.

The manager sent a young man out to my car who handed me my food. I had to ask: "I'm curious, why did we have to pull up, especially when there was no one behind me?"

"The timer," he replied. "That's how the manager is rated in performance. We're supposed to serve each customer within a certain period of time. By moving everyone ahead like this, he can manipulate the results of the timer."

It is a scientific fact that human beings have not tapped into their fullest potential. People drive growth and innovation. This applies to our business, our company, our managers, and, subsequently, our salespeople. Taking on the burden of management and the responsibility for increasing the value of each person on your team is a noble undertaking. This unique class of people is referred to as our manager, our brave and fearless leader, our CEO, our president, or our senior executive VP. It is unfortunate, in many cases, this role has been taken on by people who are untrained for it.

This book evens the playing field by giving managers the practical hands-on tools that sales coaches can use every day when they're in the trenches.

Management, coaching, empowerment, accountability, motivation, leadership. These noble words have become so diluted in meaning and so irrelevant in business that many managers mistakenly believe that they actually know how to manage and coach their salespeople. They even think they do a good job.

In this first chapter, I will introduce you to the missing discipline of sales coaching in leadership. A new breed of managers is taking the helm, the executive sales coach, that is changing traditional management strategies. I will dispel the myths and misconceptions of traditional management and explain why it simply does not work. I will also introduce you to a new, more powerful approach to developing your salespeople into sales champions. Finally, I will describe the characteristics of the world's greatest sales coaches and the obstacles that must be conquered in order to become one.


At least once or twice a week, I talk with managers about their leadership styles. At some point during the conversation, a manager will mention that he coaches his team. I ask, "Really, that's great to hear that you're using the coaching model. Where were you trained as a coach?"

The response I hear most often is "Oh, I've never been formally trained."

I then ask, "Well, have you worked with a coach yourself? Have you ever been coached?"

To my surprise, the answer is usually "No."

Most managers don't understand that they can't just change their title from manager to sales coach without changing their skill set. They don't understand the difference between being a manager and being a coach.

Let me explain. Calling yourself a coach without the proper training is the same as me waking up tomorrow morning and saying, "Today, I'm going to be a doctor (or a lawyer or a CPA or a professional athlete)." I can say it, but I can't be it.

A sales coach must be proficient at coaching and that requires ongoing study and training. This book will guide you through the process of developing and mastering your coaching skills.


Management is dead. This is a pretty bold statement to make, I know. Yet, the thousands of managers I've worked with throughout my career are testaments to the truth of this statement.

I ask managers, "What exactly is it you manage?" Although they say they manage people, the truth is that managers today spend most of their time managing processes, projects, data, problems, and information. If you do not have a defined process that moves your people forward so they can achieve greater results, then what is it you are managing? You're managing the status quo. You're managing a ledger entry in your company's P&L statement. You're managing sales reports and activity. Ultimately, under this antiquated model, when it comes down to your people, you are managing the mediocre and the underachievers.

The ultimate problem with management inefficiency and failure is that the leadership principles taught today are just that, principles, devoid of specific measurable actions. Most leadership training programs concentrate on ideology rather than on developing a core competency or skill. Nothing more gets accomplished other than identifying another great concept in leadership or an attribute the greatest leaders possess. Status quo is managed, and life goes on.

The Executive Sales Coaching model discussed in this book fills the void between management philosophies and execution. Coaching translates theory into tactical, measurable actions.

I remember a story about a young boy who found a butterfly cocoon. Each day, the boy went to visit the cocoon, until one day a small opening appeared. The boy watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole.

Suddenly the butterfly stopped trying to make its way out of the cocoon. It didn't seem to be making any progress. The butterfly was no longer moving. With good intentions, the boy felt that he needed to help the butterfly. He took a pair of scissors and very slowly with surgical precision, snipped the remaining bit of cocoon being careful not to hurt the butterfly. The butterfly then easily emerged.

Except something was strange. The butterfly's body was swollen, and its wings were all shriveled and deformed. Nevertheless, the boy continued to watch the butterfly, expecting that, at any moment, the wings would expand to support the body, which would contract in time. Unfortunately, neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly.

What the boy in his kindness and impatience did not understand was the natural evolution of life. The restrictive cocoon and the struggle through the small opening of the cocoon is nature's way of forcing fluid from the butterfly's body into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight after it emerged from the cocoon.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives. If we went through life without any obstacles, both our minds and bodies would atrophy. There would be no opportunities for us to learn and grow from each experience. We would never be able to spread our wings and fly on our own. The premise of coaching is to develop a safe place to co-create new possibilities with people so they can reinvent themselves and who they are at their very core. Coaching provides the opportunity for people to generate solutions and solve problems on their own, while bringing out their very best.

I'm reminded of a conversation between two people who met at a networking event. When talking about what each did for a living, one person said, "I love my job. I'm the director of a camp for young children." The other person replied by saying, "That sounds like fun! I work with children, too." When asked what type of work he did, the person responded, "I manage a team of salespeople."

The point is, let your employees solve their own problems or you will wind up managing a team of salespeople that is fully dependent on you.


What Is Coaching?

The coaching model is based on the belief that the question is the answer. The coach is responsible for people finding the answers themselves and developing their own problem-solving skills.

Coaching uses a process of inquiry so that people can access their own energy or inner strength to reach their own level of awareness. Tapping into a person's previously unused strengths and talents advances personal growth and learning, which challenges people to discover their personal best.

Coaching builds accountability by providing a safe forum for people to honor the commitments they have made. These commitments advance personal and organizational growth.

Coaching is collaborative as well as interactive. Coaching is like a dance rather than a premeditated or prescripted process. The shared experiences, insights, and solutions generated during meetings move the person forward, which also allows the coach to grow even more.

Coaching is about having clients grow on their own. Coaching helps people become more observant so they can better respond to the events, problems, or situations that arise.

Coaching isn't about giving information. It is about responding to the needs of other people. People will resist if information is forced on them.

Coaching consists of motivating people to reach their highest levels by offering them opportunities and possibilities, not obligations. Coaching is the art of creating new possibilities that didn't exist before.


The following is an overview of a coach's role and core responsibilities.

Overview of a Coach's Role

1. Focuses on strengths, not weaknesses.

2. Facilitates, which is defined as "Making things easier."

3. Brings out the best in people by supporting, assisting and maximizing people's strengths.

4. Requests change and growth, as well as informs and guides.

5. Has the right questions, not necessarily all the answers.

6. Empowers people to be accountable for their success and failures.

A Coach's Responsibilities during a Coaching Session

* Helps people uncover their true passions and orient their lives around them.

* Assists in discovering and leveraging people's natural strengths, skills, and gifts to bring out their best.

* Works with people to create what they really want out of life, personally and professionally.

* Co-creates new possibilities that didn't exist before as well as an action plan and a path to help people achieve their goals.

* Provides guidance, support, insight, structure, accountability, encouragement, and tools people can use today.

* Provides a constructive, safe environment and becomes an unconditional partner during people's personal evolutions.

* Challenges people's thinking, attitudes, and assumptions about things in order to increase their awareness of the truth, enrich the quality of their lives, and boost their effectiveness as salespeople.

* Builds the momentum people need to reach their goals or generate the results they want in half the time it would take for them to do it on their own.


Many people use the words coach and mentor synonymously. The fact is there's a clear distinction between the two.

Coach An expert on people and personal development. Typically a skilled specialist regarding a certain topic, competency, or industry. A coach's role is to provide structure, foundation, and support so people can begin to self-generate the results they want on their own. Learning and growth are achieved by both parties involved. In coaching, the relationship is objective, and the focus is not only on what the person needs to do to become more successful but also who the person is and how he thinks. A coach works on the whole person and is multidimensional, rather than focusing only on what the person is already doing. The coaching relationship is built on choice rather than necessity.

Mentor An expert in a field, industry, or at a company who typically acts as an internal advisor. Usually this is done on a professional level to advance the mentored person's career. Often mentors have their own approach already in mind and use the system that has worked for them in the past, without taking into consideration the style, values, integrity, or strengths of the people they mentor. Mentors may also have something to gain professionally and, as such, have their own personal agenda. Often, mentors are not trained, and their guidance is based more on their experience rather than the skills or proficiencies needed to mentor. Often, the mentoring relationship is need-driven rather than driven by choice.


For any executive sales coaching initiative to be effective and long-lasting, there are important obstacles that a manager or internal sales coach needs to address.

Barrier One: No Coach the Coach Program

One of my clients recently called me with questions about building an internal coaching program. It seems the person who was spear-heading the initiative was having a difficult time putting the processes and procedures together as well as getting the managers to embrace the new philosophy and approach. Since the company felt they could build the internal coaching program on their own, they didn't hire an outside expert or consultant. The person in charge of the initiative wasn't even a coach but someone in HR. Without a coach training program to develop coaching skills and competencies, you can change your managers' titles, but not their essence, their thinking, or their skills.

Barrier Two: Coaching Is a Choice-Not an Obligation

The coaching relationship is a choice, not an obligation. The relationship between the coach and the people who are coached is a designed alliance, a collaborative partnership, and more. As such, remedial or sanctioned coaching is often met with resistance rather than with open arms. How is coaching being offered to your team or to your employees? A perk, an incentive, an option, an obligation, or a remedial response to underperformance? Are you offering it to your entire team, to a select few, or to just one person?

Barrier Three: Surrender Your Agenda When Coaching

What if your boss walked up to you today and said, "Your career, your bonus, your position in this company, and your salary will depend on how well your team performs. That said, I want you to start coaching all the people on your team, one on one. Hold them accountable and be unconditionally supportive, while surrendering your agenda and maintaining objectivity." Could you do it?

My clients consist of a myriad of companies and professions, all shapes and sizes, selling products and services in practically every industry and profession. Yet, the one truth I share with them is this: "When you work with me as your coach, this will be the only relationship you have where it will always be 100 percent about you."

If you're an internal coach, this may be a stretch to fully surrender any agenda or attachment to your sales team's performance, especially since their performance directly reflects on you. In such cases, there's an inherent challenge for you, as the business owner or manager, to separate your agenda from theirs and have no personal expectation from the relationship other than your unconditional commitment to their continued growth and success. It's going to take some adjustment on your part to develop an unconditional and authentic relationship with your salespeople. We tackle this in much greater detail in Chapter 2.


Excerpted from "Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions: A Tactical Playbook for Managers and Executives" by Keith Rosen. Copyright © 0 by Keith Rosen. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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