Unsure what to look for when choosing a coach? It’s not surprising, especially when people are turning to this as a profession as it becomes more popular in South Africa – there’s even going to be a TV programme. The disadvantage of popularity, however, is the fact that people set themselves up as coaches with no experience in coaching or business or sales.
Alternatively, they study coaching and then believe themselves to be trained, with no real business experience. Either way, when choosing the person or organisation you wish to work with, make sure you are choosing them for the right reasons. A sales coach is important if you wish to improve your sales management and increase your sales. There are, therefore, key skills required by your sales coach specific to the area of sales.
Beware the great pretender
Before you go shopping for a coach and enter into an agreement, ask the following:
- Can you work with the person? Making sure you know who the person is, and finding out if you will get on with them, is very important. This person will become part of your life and your business. If you feel uncomfortable or don’t like them, no matter how good they are, don’t hire them.
- Do you trust them? It is imperative that you are going to follow their advice. In order to do this, you need to trust and respect them. Do you feel as though they have you and your business’ sales at heart? Are they willing to go the extra mile and not charge when you have a requirement outside the normal, agreed hours?
- Do they have the relevant experience? Check out their background and find out if their experience fits with your requirements. For example, make sure they have worked at the level that you require. If you are a midsized business, you need to work with someone with at least that level of work experience when looking for a sales or business coach.
- Do they understand sales coaching? For sales specifically, make sure they understand not only the principles of sales, but how to ensure that you’ll have an intervention experience. While there are too many trainers trying to be coaches, like anything, practice makes perfect. It is by practicing their skills regularly that great sportspeople become great. The same applies to sales. If they do not intend to practice sales with you, then they will not be coaching you and your team.
The rewards of coaching
I recently watched the film ‘Iron Lady’. It was interesting to see that even the great Maggy Thatcher had a coach leading up to and during her time as British Prime Minister. The late Princess Diana also had a coach for her speeches. If you look at both these great women, you can see they showed awareness for a need to be coached, as well as the changes they made in themselves over the period that they used coaches.
We all have the potential for greatness, and coaching is a way of bringing about that greatness. If you wish to go the extra mile and show the country and world how great you are, and if you are genuine and authentic in your determination to make a difference, then coaching will help you to get there.
The deal breaker
A final, and most important note, is to ask your prospective coach, no matter what kind of coach they are, “have you ever been coached by someone?” If their answer is ‘yes’, check that this was not only during their own training as a coach. This is often insisted on by many coaching programmes, and rightly so, since to be a really effective coach you must have undergone, experienced, and seen the difference it can make in your life.
While a coach is not a necessity, with all the changes in the ways of business, the economic climate, and the performance you expect of yourself, if you wish to get ahead of the game then a coach will enable you to do this. Sales Coaching is available at Sales Partners. www.salespartnerscapetown.co.za