Beware the Defensive Walls when Sales Coaching

I’m travelling through South Wales on a train at the moment, and I’ve been looking at the many castles that sprinkle the countryside here.  Built to withstand the cannon blasts and explosions of attacking armies, many are still in pristine condition.

People also have alarmingly strong defensive walls and this is no more apparent than when coaching people in a high pressure, sales environment.  This is where performance coaching really works.

The coach has just got to get to the point.  I observe many coaches who skirt around the issue, dangle leading questions at the salesperson, and play games.  Sales people see through this and put up their thick concrete walls and no benefit will come from the coaching session. You see, salespeople bristle with emotions and beliefs about their performance, it goes with the trade.

Say what you see and invite a comment, what could they do differently. Don’t accuse of low performance, get to the point, help them be aware of how they are performing and allow them to see the way forward, not you, is the key. As soon as you see a trace of the defensive wall going up, examine how you’re making them feel and get to the point.

Just passing the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, now that’s a fortress modelled on Welsh castles, no wonder the Welsh are so good at rugby when playing at home.