Coaching is not problem solving. But what does that have to do with CRM?
In the early years of my career, I learned from coursework, managers, mentors, certified coaching colleagues and my own experience that coaching is not problem solving. Sounds simple, yet most people find it difficult to separate the two.
Advice is a one-way street (not always a bad thing), you can post advice on the whiteboard or write it on a sticky note, but coaching requires individuals to engage in the conversation and work through the problem. The impact of a coaching approach is way more beneficial in the learning process than solving someone’s problem and giving them advice. Here are a few ways to improve your coaching tactics, and how you can leverage CRM data to ensure you’re making the most effective impact.
Help them remember what they already know
When a rep comes to you and asks for help, pause for second and determine whether they need advice or coaching? The answer depends on the question being asked, but it also depends on the skill or experience they have.
Ever hear the term "never stop learning". As a leader, you should always coach first and give advice second. Ask them questions that will help them work through the information available, as well as your organization’s best practices. The goal is to guide them through what they already know, and encourage them to apply it in the context of the situation.
Teach a man to Fish
The next step is helping them arrive at a conclusion. By asking questions about the situation, the individual will have to think methodically and out loud with the coach. Hopefully by doing this, a course of action will become apparent. If it’s a unique situation, this may be a good opportunity to insert your advice. But by walking them through this exercise your reps will learn to assimilate information better and faster and will ultimately learn to work through their problems rather than lean on you, their coach, to solve them. They will also implicitly commit to action because they came up with the solution or the next step.
So how does all of this relate to CRM? Imagine having full insight into the opportunity’s context before you meet with your rep who needs coaching. How much more strategic and impactful could your coaching would be?
What if your CRM, could makes inferences from the data, automatically to connect some of the dots, and then ask the rep a few of those preliminary questions to guide them toward a solution? Not only could you ensure that every rep who needs help gets it, but you could save time on some of the more standard cases so you could truly focus your expertise on the unique or challenging situations.
With your CRM using Accent Technologies’s analytics engine, sales leaders can do just that. We ask questions of the data and surface automatic responses with recommended next steps (advice). Additionally, sales leaders can take what they see as an experienced leader and easily coach in the context of the opportunity. Utilizing Coaches Corner they can insert key questions or recommendations directly into the rep’s opportunity engaging a healthier, more productive conversation They can also learn more about the opportunity without talking to the sales rep improving overall efficiency.
Understanding what coaching is versus problem solving is key to having better conversations between reps and leaders. If you’re a leader only giving advice, you are not really leading, so you may as well do the reps job. Leveraging your experience as a sales leader and an analytics engine to get simple questions asked for more context can really help everyone focus on the right things. We'd love to share more with you, contact us for a demo!
- Andy Quintana, Senior Vice President