Just Put Me in Coach!
I’ve been in sales for years, why would I need a coach?
As we wrap up the college basketball season, let’s take some time to reflect on all the time and effort the players put into their skills to be at the championship game. Years and years of grade school basketball, travelling teams that single sported kids join, camps and clinics; all before they ever even get into high school. Then it’s four years as a starter on the varsity team, followed by scouting trips and video clips sent to the different colleges. Congratulations! They are now part of a championship team. Now, it’s 20 hours minimum and maximum per week of practicing, mandated by the NCAA. Each and every week for four years, it’s 20 hours to the minute, followed by regular classroom requirements.
At 22 years old, the seniors on a championship college basketball team could have as much as 14 years of continuous training, practicing and preparation for the game.
Do you think any one of the coaches of the 64+ teams in the bracket said, “Guys, you’ve been doing this for a long time and I don’t think you are really going to learn anything new?” “Let’s just take this month off from practice”? Not likely.
Do you think a single player on any of the 64+ teams in the bracket said, “Coach, I’ve been doing this a long time and I don’t need to practice or prepare? Just put me in the game.” Not likely.
And neither should you! You have way more at stake than they do. Yes, they are on TV and it’s a big deal, but for you, it’s your livelihood, your career and your financial success at stake.
What does a coach do?
- Help to establish accountability: Even when we know what to do, we often don’t do it. The coach helps to call out this behavior and how it holds us back.
- Connect the dots: We are stuck or don’t see a way forward past the walls we run into. We don’t see the connection between our behaviors and the results we get from those behaviors. The coach holds up the mirror so we can see ourselves.
- Help us be our authentic selves: We come to work and painstakingly try to be someone we are not. The coach draws this struggle out into the discussion and holds you accountable to deal with it.
- Take us from good to great: Given enough time, all of us get good at something. Then we level off or possibly decline or become obsolete. The coach keeps us moving to get out of this rut and towards greatness.
- Find the answers from within ourselves: Good coaching is not telling, directing nor giving the answers. It’s about getting the individual to come up with and see the answers for themselves.
- Get us from where we are, to where we want to be: Like a good GPS, coaching involves a discovery process of first establishing where you are, where you want to go and the possible routes you can take. And just like a GPS, there are several ways to get from point A to point B. Some faster. Some easier. Some riskier, etc. You choose which, and a coach reminds you to make your choice and keep moving.
Why does it matter?
It works. Following the launch of a coaching program, companies feel the investment is worth it. In a 2013 study by the Richardson Company, they surveyed companies that invested in a coaching program and found 86% affirmed they had a positive ROI from their coaching program. You can ask the people who received the coaching and you hear similar responses. All three generations in the work force (Baby Boom, Gen-X and Millennial) felt the impact from coaching was very effective. You can look at their actual performance and again, you see improvement. Across all three generations, their actual performance improved as well.
From the Ken Blanchard Company to the ICF (International Coaching Federation), the below results were consistent. Coaching helps employees:
- Establish and take action towards achieving goals
- Become more self-reliant
- Gain more job and life satisfaction
- Contribute more effectively to the team and the organization
- Take greater responsibility and accountability for actions and commitments
- Work more easily and productively with others (boss, direct reports, peers)
- Communicate more effectively
So, whether it’s your 1st or your 21st spring planting in your agribusiness career, consider getting a coach to improve your already good performance in sales.