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Most Valuable...Coach

Now that the NFL has officially laid claim to the first Sunday of each February, the SuperBowl has for many become The mid-winter holiday to get excited about. But whether you prefer chocolate hearts to buffalo wings or vice versa chances are that you’ve heard of and may even have an opinion of one of the biggest names in the sport, who while having a major impact on each game his team plays in, will do so without ever taking the field.

Whether you root for or against his team Bill Belichick’s reputation and
skill as a coach carries as much dominance, cache and mystic as even the most prominent players. And whether he’s compared to today’s contemporaries such as Riley, Carroll, Harbaugh or Saban or to others 
who have gone before him; such as Lombardi, Bryant, Summit or Wooden, Belichick’s predictable side-line demeanor, trademark (un)dress code, and memorable interviews define him as much so as does his team’s results. And while different in style and approach, one thing all prominent coaches are knownfor is their ability to consistently raise and sustain the performance and execution of those on his or her team.

When you consider the proven relationship of amazing players and legendary coaches, it would seem that incredible talent may make one stand-out but rarely do even the most gifted players sustain 
the highest level of performance without having their talent and effort consistently directed, refined and elevated by an equally talented coach.

The same is true in business, the really excellent sales leaders and representatives that I know will tell you that much of what they achieve is attributable to a leader or boss who didn’t just manage their 
production or output but who refined their skills, helped them recognize and address weaknesses and gave them the practical and consistent direction, insight and motivation to both do more of the right 
things, and to do those things even better. In other words these talented people weren’t just managed, they instead were coached.

But unlike in sports where the coach is immediately recognizable and their importance is clearly understood, too often when leading a sales team the how, when and what of sales coaching and even who the coach is can be misunderstood or even missed entirely in the hustle and frenzy of day-to-day team, process and pipeline management. But what many Sales leaders don’t realize is that if done right sales coaching can be a sales team’s greatest motivation and their most important competitive advantage.

Is Your Sales Coaching Really Just Sales Training?

Perhaps the most common reason organizations don’t coach effectively is that they interchange and confuse the process of training with that of coaching and by extension they see trainers in their organization as replacing or duplicating the role of a coach. While adjacent and strategically complimentary in function, execution and impact, sales coaching and sales training are distinct competencies and shouldn’t be viewed as interchangeable. Yet many sales leaders confuse training their 
teams with coaching their teams and believe that if they are doing one they are actually doing both.

Back to my comparison to athletic coaching; sports organizations invest in highly specialized and distinctly skilled personnel devoted to excellence in both training and coaching and never would a professional sports team confuse, supplant or exchange the role of their trainers with that of their 
coach. Consider the following when evaluating if your team is really being coached vs. if in reality they are mostly or only receiving training.

Distinctive Elements of Training Distinctive Elements of Coaching
“Event Based” - Episodic in nature. “Routine Based” – Frequent in nature.
“Stand and Deliver” – Group or classroom dynamic. “Sit and Discuss” – Individualized Dynamic.
“Commonly Outsourced” – often not conducted by a rep’s direct manager or coach. “Insourced” - Should typically conducted by a rep’s direct coach (manager).
“Designed to Inform” – May include skill development but often focuses on products, features, tools, technical updates, market conditions, etc. “Designed to Improve” – uniquely focused on developing and leveling-up an individual rep’s skills and competencies.
“Instructor Paced” - Trainee rarely sets agenda, schedule and priorities. “Collaborative” – those being coached should help determine agenda and priorities
“Test” - to evaluate knowledge. “Apply” – to measure outcomes.

The best team and individualized outcomes are achieved when training and coaching is an interwoven and collaborative process, each led and conducted by distinct experts with a clear understanding of their role in facilitating team and rep performance. Sales organizations who consistently maintain a culture and operational discipline significantly improved employee engagement* and a 4X increase in productivity vs companies who only provide sales training**

About Xvoyant:

Xvoyant helps sales organizations develop and maintain effective sales coaching as a scalable, consistent and replicable process. Our Sales Coaching Technology helps to identify and qualify sales coaching 
priorities, automates scheduling, manages coaching sessions and goal setting and tracks, quantifies and communicates the impact of sales coaching.

*CEB 2015

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