While being a good coach might not be a bad thing, a positive trend that I’m seeing in the sales managers with whom I work is an aspiration for greatness. Here are five key traits that separate a good coach from a great one.
1) External focus – While a good sales coach has a strong internal drive to succeed, a great sales coach recognizes that it’s all about helping each salesperson become the best version of themselves that they can be. While reaching team quota is a notable accomplishment for a good coach, a great sales manager especially cultivates their team’s passion, improvement, and culture of success.
2) Empathy – A great sales coach is one who works to understand his or her individual team members, because he or she knows the team is only as strong as its weakest member. This includes sensing team member’s needs, giving every individual the coaching and opportunity needed to succeed, and listening to what team members have to say. By showing their team this level of consideration and respect, the great sales coach knows that such will be returned in kind.
3) Connection – A good sales coach will know their field well, possessing a keen understanding of sales and new account development. However, a great sales coach also has the ability to convey this information effectively to their team. As I point out in my sales coaching training, it is not only empathy that can be learned by knowing the individual members of your team. Knowing your team members also means knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and how they learn, while having that connection means being able to present your knowledge in a way that each individual team member will understand and desire to apply.
4) Enthusiasm – To put it simply, a good sales coach likes their job, while a great sales coach loves it. There is simply nothing that can replace the positive energy and influence that comes from being truly enthusiastic about what you do. Not only that, but it’s an almost contagious phenomenon. Such a positive attitude serves to help make the job positive for the entire sales team. Though, conversely, a bad attitude or negativity regarding the job will inevitably bring your whole sales team down. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the concept of those around us picking up on the vibes that we put out. As the leaders of our teams this phenomenon is especially true for each of us, making positivity and enthusiasm on our part especially important.
5) Authority – A great sales coach has a strong ability to know what is needed from them. These are the leaders that will have the right guidance to offer to aid team members in reaching individual sales and performance goals, will know when their assistance is needed, and will have the ability to lead a group of individual contributors that functions as a team. From setting a positive example for those around them to follow, through to having a consistent understanding of where each team member stands in meeting the Company’s expectations, a great sales coach is, above all, the personification of a true leader.
Kevin F. Davis is the author of the forthcoming book, “The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness: Ten Essential Strategies for Leading Your Team to the Top,” now available for pre-order from Amazon here: “Guide to Greatness” book