Look at any successful sports team, from giants like Manchester United FC through to your school teams and you will find a sports coach behind the scenes. But what do these coaches actually do and why does it work?
Scared of shooting wide?
At the most basic level all coaching is about unlocking a person’s potential to learn and ability to change. Potential is often limited by fear of failure, lack of confidence and lack of self-belief. In football this might be the fear that you will miss that crucial penalty shot and in sales it might be the fear that if you ask for the order you will be told “No thanks”, or even fear of making any cold-calls at all.
In every form of coaching the purpose is to build self-belief, perhaps to overcome the fear of failure or perhaps to help grow the belief that performance can always be higher. In football, you do not stop coaching your best players just when they become most successful!
Don’t stop me now!
Coaching might happen in many hour-long face-to-face sessions over several weeks but it can also happen in much smaller bite sized chunks. External professional coaches might be involved, which is great if the budget allows for it. Sometimes sales managers will coach, which is great if they have the skills and can make the time to do it. And sometimes, armed with the right tools, the players can coach themselves.
However it is done, it is based on two key principles. The first is awareness – knowing what is possible and knowing what is happening around you. In football this might be knowing that there are only three minutes left to full time and also spotting a likely break in your opponent’s defence. In sales this might be realising that your cold calls get through to more people before 9.30am than at any other times of day and planning your day around that discovery.
The second principle is responsibility, taking ownership of what you do, rather than leaving others to do it for you. In football this might be taking the initiative to force that break in the defence line-up, while in sales it might be persuading your manager to move the daily sales meeting to 9.30am rather than 9am for a week so that you can see if the cold calling success rate goes up.
Quest for the Holy Grail
Motivation, that Holy Grail of high performance, depends on providing people with a way of meeting their own individual needs. Once basic things like food, shelter and looking after the family are taken care of, the emphasis shifts to higher level needs, such as recognition, status, enjoyment, meaning and purpose.
So how can we boost motivation and performance through coaching without impacting selling time (on the road or on the phone) or blowing the training budget?
Stop blowing the budget
This is where technology marches to the rescue. In the same way that digital match systems, with player tracking, technical analysis and so on help players understand what is happening in a match better and fine tune tactics as a result. Advanced multi-media sales learning systems provide a way to capture what happens in the most challenging sales situations, then offering a wider range of options to overcome them.
In both cases the latest technology allows users to analyse what is happening and then leverage proven coaching techniques to increase capabilities and performance in new and exciting ways.
Digital to the rescue
This latest technology saves time, money and provides a consistent approach to learning, whether used stand-alone or alongside more traditional methods. It works for both the top performers and for the rest of the team. It is easily carried out on a day-to-day basis, in bite sized chunks.
It can be used in and around normal selling activities, which is why it is a great, cost-effective, way to learn new, more helpful, selling habits that quickly lead to greater sales success.
About the author: Bryan McCrae is a sales psychologist, sales coach and the founder of Sales-Motivations. For more information visit www.sales-motivations.com