If you read my last blog when I explored the need for coaching within sales teams you’ll remember that there were several issues discussed. And one of those was that while we hear a lot about the need to coach our teams –who has the time? More importantly, most sales leaders are not coaches – and so, who has the ability? As with most expertise that you need within a business, you can either spend time and money learning it yourself, or bring in an expert.
There is another nuance to this – we believe that coaching your team isn’t always something you should outsource. What you need is to build a strong team that supports itself in a way that gives ‘permission’ and encourages positive change from within. External coaches will at some point leave when their contract ends. What then? Then, the accountability, reinforcement of new behaviours and motivation to improve ends too. Then, stagnation can easily set in again.
A better way is to embed behavioural change into the team by the person who leads the team – the sales leader. They are the ones that have a vested interest in the teams’ success, they have the motivation to ensure their people are supported, nourished and successful in the role. If this is achieved, it creates greater trust between the leader and their team. The culture that is reinforced is one of positive change, as a group as well as individually.
For this to happen in an emotionally safe and psychologically safe way, one must make people feel safe. There is only one way to this – for them to actually BE safe.
An example would be if I invite people to come and talk to me about any problem they are having, declaring an open-door policy. But, because I’m under pressure I might show impatience, frustration at them doing so. Even if I answered a question, I feel like I ‘fixed’ a problem for them – but maybe they just needed reassurance. Maybe, they felt like they shouldn’t have approached you after all. Then I might mention it and bring that up as a weakness at appraisal time, confirming they were right to feel worried that they showed ‘weakness’.
This totally undermines what I said would happen and it’s unlikely my team member will trust me again. They’ll tell me what they think I want to hear, not the whole story. Moreover, they’ll probably confide in other team members and before long I’ll have a ‘them vs. me scenario. If I’m deeply unaware, I’ll likely blame them for the lack of transparency. The team culture will quickly become toxic. Let’s guess what will happen when a deal isn’t going to happen when they’ve forecasted it to. Will they feel comfortable enough to tell me? To tell me early enough to salvage the situation?
What do we do instead? We believe that the foundation for team trust, coachability and connection starts with the sales leader and it is them that we offer support to. We equip them with a framework to coach effectively, that doesn’t take up much time, that embeds behaviour change and creates accountability and data evidence.
A framework for opening up conversations that can go deep within oneself, to look for the answers creates structure, accountability a frame of reference and common language. Everyone, including the leader goes on the journey – but the leader, leads the conversation.
When this inclusive scene is set it starts to open us up to positive changes that are allowed, encouraged and offer insights that, when received in a supportive way, breeds trust. They lead to greater self-awareness, that is then present when having client conversations. This leads to improved qualification information, greater results, deeper relationships, and a better reputation. These three ‘R’s provide the key metrics for measuring the success of the programme.
Because these improvements are human in nature, they go deeper in connection and content, they are greater in impact than similar amounts of time spent in other meetings. We are working with human chemistry, dynamics and energy. We are working with information and creating a culture that leads to something much more valuable and elusive, alchemy.
Note: The programme referred to above is called Communication AlchemyTM from Aurate. We would love to share more with you if you want to get in touch for a discovery call