The Death of Management
BECOMING AN EXECUTIVE SALES COACH
"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
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.
BUT I'M ALREADY COACHING ...
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
The response I hear most often is "Oh, I've never been formally
I then ask, "Well, have you worked with a coach yourself? Have you ever
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.
MAKING THE SHIFT FROM SALES MANAGER TO EXECUTIVE SALES COACH
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.
THE MISSING DISCIPLINE OF SALES COACHING
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
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
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.
DEFINING THE ROLE OF A SALES COACH
The following is an overview of a coach's role and core
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
4. Requests change and growth, as well as informs and guides.
5. Has the right questions, not necessarily all the
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
* 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
A COACH VERSUS A MENTOR
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
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.
NINE BARRIERS TO COACHING A SALES TEAM
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.