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© 2012 by Tim Hagen
All rights reserved. Published in 2012
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without
permission from the publisher; exceptions are made for brief excerpts used in
published reviews.

Printed by
W222 N625 Cheaney Dr, Waukesha, Wisconsin 53186

ISBN: 978-0-9887921-0-4

Printed in the United States of America

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Table of Contents
Foreword ......................................................................................................... 8
Acknowledgement ........................................................................................... 9
Introduction .................................................................................................... 10
Chapter 1: The Coaching Concept .................................................................... 13
Why Coaching? ............................................................................................. 14
How I Started ................................................................................................. 16
How Coaching will be Successful .................................................................. 18
Managers Already Coach Everyday ............................................................... 19
Seven Habits of Successful Coaching ........................................................... 19
Seven Mistakes Managers Make That Erode Employee Performance ........... 21
Why Organizations Need to Coach ................................................................ 22
Why You Will Love Coaching ......................................................................... 24
Chapter 2: What has Research Taught Us? ...................................................... 25
CSO Insights Research ................................................................................. 26
Our Own Research ........................................................................................ 27
Chapter 3: Coaching Instructions ...................................................................... 30
Four Stages of Building a Coaching Program and Culture ............................. 31
Keys to Coaching Success ............................................................................ 33
A Manager’s Two Greatest Skills: The Power to Engage and to Build Trust .. 35
Your First Look before Coaching ................................................................... 36
How to Start a Coaching Program ................................................................. 38
General Coaching Types ............................................................................... 41
Additional Types of Coaching ........................................................................ 45
Specific Tiers of Learning Coaching Methods ................................................ 46
Coaching Questions & Strategic Interactions ................................................. 47
Managing the Coaching Process ................................................................... 51
How to Reinforce Specific Training with Coaching ......................................... 53
Sample Coaching Plans................................................................................. 56

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Chapter 4: Asking Questions ............................................................................. 59
Types of Questions ........................................................................................ 60
Chapter 5: Does Coaching Really Work? .......................................................... 64
An Active Listening Nightmare ....................................................................... 65
The Need to Breakthrough ............................................................................. 67
The Apprehensive Manager ........................................................................... 68
The Tough Demographic ............................................................................... 69
The Down Economy ...................................................................................... 70
A Rough and Tough Crowd ........................................................................... 71
Melinda Curtis ................................................................................................ 72
The Gen Y Challenge .................................................................................... 73
My Son .......................................................................................................... 74
Real World Case Studies That Depict the Evolution of the Coaching Stages . 75
Pierce Manufacturing ................................................................................. 75
Milwaukee Brewers .................................................................................... 76
InPro .......................................................................................................... 77
Shannon..................................................................................................... 82
Matt Byrnes ................................................................................................ 83
Summary.................................................................................................... 83
Chapter 6: Coaching Stories ............................................................................. 84
Coaching Story # 1: Seth Bergerud: Customer Service Manager at Douglas
Dynamics ....................................................................................................... 85
Coaching Story # 2: Shannon Gburzynski: Social Media Engagement Analyst
at 7Summits................................................................................................... 93
Ron Lloyd: National Agronomy Lead at Monsanto ......................................... 98
Brad Russell: Signage and Wayfinding Sales Representative at InPro
Corporation .................................................................................................... 99
Connie Kadansky: President/Owner of Exceptional Sales Performance ...... 100
Dan Wolfgram: Personal Lines Vice President at R&R Insurance ................ 101

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Janet Marotz: Sales Support Specialist at Manitou-Group (aka Gehl Company)
.................................................................................................................... 102
Monty Crandon: Regional Sales Director at InPro Corporation .................... 103
Tom Walley: Former VP of Sales and Marketing at Oshkosh Corp .............. 105
Craig Sippel: Technical Service Advisor Manitou Group (aka Gehl Company)
.................................................................................................................... 106
Dave Stevens: Director of Coaching and Development at InPro Corporation107
Brian Thomson: Director of Training at Atrium ............................................. 110
Jonathan Mensch: Project Manager and Training Director at Qiagen .......... 111
Charles Flad: Senior Sales Representative at InPro Corporation ................. 112
Melinda Curtis: Customer Service Manager at Holt Dental .......................... 113
Zoren Krecak: Education Market Manager at InPro Corporation .................. 114
Chapter 7: Coaching Thoughts and Quotes..................................................... 115
Let Your Mind Expand ................................................................................. 116
Inspirational Quotes from Pat Riley (Los Angeles Laker’s Coach) ............... 138
Inspirational Quotes from Vince Lombardi (famous Green Bay Packer Coach)
.................................................................................................................... 140
Inspirational Quotes from Tommy Lasorda (World Champion Los Angeles
Dodger Manager)......................................................................................... 142
Summary ..................................................................................................... 143
Chapter 8: Coaching Blogs.............................................................................. 144
Important: Training and Coaching ................................................................ 145
4 Coaching Tips for Employees About Ride-a-Long's with Reps .................. 146
Coaching Employees with Bad Attitudes ...................................................... 147
Why Coaching Programs Should be Focused on the Future ........................ 148
The Most Effective Coaching Tool is Engagement ....................................... 149
The Coaching Diet ....................................................................................... 150
7 Reasons Your Organization Needs Business Coaching ............................ 151
Coaching and Challenging Sales People ..................................................... 152
8 Key Attributes to a Successful Coaching Culture ...................................... 154

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Reasons to Coach Your Employees in this Economy .................................. 155
Engage Your Way to Better Employees and More Sales ............................. 156
Shut Down The Management Machine ........................................................ 157
Office Projects Made FUN...well, as fun as possible! ................................... 158
4 Sales Training Techniques to Give You a Competitive Edge .................... 159
5 Time Management Tips ............................................................................ 160
Positive Coaching = Sales Progress ............................................................ 161
Even Ron Artest (Meta World Peace , Forward for the Los Angeles Lakers)
Can Teach Us a Thing or Two about Coaching ........................................... 162
Hazards of Coaching Your Weakest Performer ........................................... 164
How to be the Doc Rivers (Head coach of Boston Celtics) of the Sales World
.................................................................................................................... 165
Training is leaving the classroom ................................................................. 166
Chapter 9: Resources ..................................................................................... 167
3 Tiers of Learning ....................................................................................... 168
Coaching Types ........................................................................................... 169
Coaching Techniques .................................................................................. 170
Additional Coaching Techniques.................................................................. 171
Factual Score Sheets................................................................................... 172
Performance Area Ratings ........................................................................... 173
Presentation Score Sheet ............................................................................ 174
Sample Scoring Report to Drive Coaching ................................................... 175

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Until a few years ago I had never heard “coaching” applied in a management
setting. When I heard “coach” I instantly drifted back to little league baseball and
the memory of my dad throwing me pop ups till his arm nearly fell off. “Use two
hands!” “Get in front of it!” Dad was a great coach, I learned a lot. His style was
simple, he showed me, explained why, and then had me demonstrate the skill.
He displayed patience, engagement and enforced a strong work ethic.
Hmmmm… now how does that translate into a business environment? The
answer is… easily.

Five years ago I may not have seen the parallel. I was new to my position at
InPro Corporation and I was registered for a workshop in the Progress Coaching
System hosted by Sales Progress and Tim Hagen. “Coaching? I thought I was
going to receive management training.” Settling into the workshop I suddenly
realized I had so much to learn. Now this was something new and exciting but it
really was pretty intuitive. Thinking back upon my childhood I found myself
remembering those days in the yard playing catch with my dad. Wow, I was
being coached throughout my entire childhood and right through adulthood. It
was sometimes direct and obvious and sometimes it was subtle. My dad focused
on knowledge, skills, creativity and behavior. These are the same Tiers of
Learning that were discussed at the workshop. I was hooked. This was a skill set
I had to learn in order to become a successful manager.

While working with Tim Hagen and the Sales Progress coaching system at InPro
Corporation, I learned why coaching is an important component of becoming a
successful manager. So much of what I discovered was based in positive
communication practices and it appeared that coaching was one of those skill
sets where you never reach your zenith. It is a practice of continuous
improvement. In my mind my dad keeps throwing me pop ups and grounders.
“Use two hands.” “Get in front of it.” “Keep working, keep practicing and you will
get better!” In closing, it’s not about you, it’s about them, the employees. Sales
Coaches don’t ever become perfect, they just become better. This book and the
Progress Coaching System will help you learn, listen, and give. You will be
successful manager. You can bank on it!
Dave Stevens, Director of Coaching at InPro Corporation

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I wish to thank my friends, colleagues, and clients who have contributed to this
book. This book was fueled by the many coaching opportunities that I have
experienced through the years. Each coaching story has made a unique
contribution to this coaching book by giving different views of the coaching
experience. Thanks to all! I would like to really show my sincere thanks to the
Inpro Corporation who has not only adopted Progress Coaching but truly made it
their own. Through coaching they have become like a sister company to us and
one we cherish!

Special appreciation is offered to our editors Caitlin Robinson, Seth Bergerud,

and James Haferman, who’s time and efforts were invaluable in the creation of
the final book. Graphic designer Jennifer Walth for capturing the coaching look
we needed for the book. Thanks to ScanGroup for the advice and printing of the
book. I appreciate all the hard work of everyone.

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Coaching is corporate America’s number one weapon, but what exactly does that
mean and why is it important to you? In today’s business climate, times are tough
and the pressure to perform is really heating up. I wrote this book to hopefully
inspire you and get you thinking about helping your organization to become a
Coaching Culture. I live coaching every day and see first-hand its impact on
organizations, people, and equally as important leaders. Coaching drives
performance. Coaching drives engagement between the manager and employee.
Coaching drives a culture of change. Coaching drives employee’s willingness to
get better. Coaching drives so many aspects of an organization. Here is the best
news for you. Most will find excuses to NOT coach; therefore, if you and your
organization adopt coaching you will gain an immediate advantage in the

Companies are searching for new ways to draw in business and stay
competitive, but from firsthand knowledge, managers are overlooking the best
way to stay competitive: coaching. It’s simple. Managers have to coach their
employees, or performance and results will continue to falter. End of discussion!

I believe in that statement because, as any internal or external training

professional can tell you, managers can make or break an employee’s
development process. From the learning stages of an employee’s career to their
performance in the field, a manager plays a significant role in their overall

There are five major reasons coaching works to help an employee’s performance
and an organization’s bottom line:

Engagement- Throughout this book, research will show that we are not a very
engaged work society. As one study will show, more than 70% of workers in
corporate America feel disengaged from their boss; and from the engaged 30
percent, 85 percent of those employees are likely to stay with their current firm.
Companies with low turnover rates really get it. Instead of only communicating
with employees to reprimand, they encourage managers to recognize, reward

and stay in touch with employees. Through continuous engagement, they
develop loyal and long-standing workers.

Performance- People will not get better simply because you tell them to do so. I
have attended countless meetings that involve managers telling their employees:

“We need to work together.”

“We need to get our sales up.”
“We have to have positive attitudes.”
“We cannot let angry customers bother us.”

These messages may be appropriate at times, but the message alone will not
produce better performances. In order for an employee to have a positive attitude
or increase their sales, typical training needs to be thrown out the window and
managers need to start coaching. Practice, reinforcement of product knowledge,
and behavioral shifting are all areas of coaching that managers should focus on.

Recruitment- There is no greater tool for advertising how great your product is
than word of mouth. The same rule applies to your business. When companies
are engaged and driving employee performance, it elevates staff awareness of
what it could do for others. There is no greater tool to recruit than current

Retaining Employees- This book will drive home the fact that employees who
are engaged and progressing are more likely to stay at their current place of
employment. Retaining and growing employees saves organizations money and
headaches. The company can then focus on the job at hand rather than the
constant replacement and training of new people.

Culture of Participation- Organizations that encourage participation have

employees that care about more than just their individual success. They
genuinely want to see others succeed as well as the company itself. Engaged
employees will feel the freedom to share constructive ideas that can help a
company’s bottom line.

I’ll share with you one quick story about the importance of engagement and
coaching before we jump in. I sat in on manager/employee meetings to gauge
just how much coaching was happening at one client site. An employee came
into the manager’s office with questions about one of her customers. Instead of

actively engaging with his employee, the manager quickly dismissed her and
asked her to set up a meeting for later. Did I mention he said all of this without
looking up from typing on his phone? I stepped out of his office to go see how the
employee felt about what had just happened, and I walked up to her desk and
found her complaining with four co-workers about their manager. After about 30
minutes of this, I saw how 20 seconds worth of poor engagement could lead to
loss of productivity and motivation.

Situations like this one happen much too frequently in our organizations and
culture. Employees want to be challenged, rewarded, recognized, and engaged;
but most of all, they want to get better at their jobs. Poor management and lack
of engagement are huge barriers to seeing better performance. If managers can
learn how to combine training and coaching to give their employees a sense if
progress then they will finally begin to see results.

Chapter 1: The Coaching Concept

Why Coaching?
You may be thinking to yourself, “I manage a corporation or a small business not
a sports team. Why do I need to coach?” I’ll tell you why. There are certain steps
that every successful company and person takes to assure success. They
pursue their goals and make the necessary changes to hit the bottom line. They
dedicate time to their goal, and they measure results along the way. These steps
are made possible through the continuous efforts of dedicated coaching.

When was the last time an employee came into your office asking for a new task;
one that was significantly more challenging? Let’s be honest, there is a slim
chance that this situation has happened. In order to get better and improve our
skills, we need to change something that we are doing, and this is where most
people become hesitant. Managers that coach their employees can help them
make those necessary changes. Not only does coaching inspire positive change
but it also encourages people to improve their performance. If managers
schedule time to make a dedicated effort to work with employees, then morale
will certainly soar. Furthermore, the time managers devote to coaching will allow
them to get closer to employees and their work, which opens up communication
and guarantees that future management mandates do not rely upon assumptions
or perceptions.

One of the greatest benefits that coaching provides is the engagement it brings
to both an employee and a manager, but all too often management seeks to shift
that responsibility to outside sources. Typically, employees will be sent to
workshops or seminars to learn new skills or new information about an industry,
but only a manager can make sure that that information is retained and practiced.
By engaging with their employees, managers can produce better performing
employees which, in turn, provides a competitive edge in the marketplace.

If coaching can give companies a competitive edge then why isn’t everyone
doing it? The first answer to that question revolves around the difference
between managing and coaching. Most companies see them as one in the same,
but they are different. Coaching is the means to driving better performance, while
management is the leadership role one takes to direct others. If an employee is
constantly missing deadlines, the management way of handling the situation
would be to direct the worker to do better or try harder. A manager who knows
how to coach, though, would see this as a lack of time management skills, and
they would sit the employee down to go over ways to solve the problem. See the
difference? Coaches ask what they can do to aid in solving the problem and
better an employee’s performance. The biggest challenge for managers is to
understand the difference between management and coaching. Below is a table
that depicts the high level differences:

Managers Coaches
Tell Ask & Listen
Number Makers People Makers
Re-Active Pro-Active
Like to Maintain Like to Develop
Take Charge Lead by Following &
Getting Out of the

The second reason most companies do not implement coaching involves fear.
Either managers fear they do not have time to invest, or they may feel as though
coaching makes them look vulnerable to employees. Both of these fears are
unfounded. It takes less time to dictate to employees, but you will never see the
results you want. If roughly 50% of your sales staff is not hitting their quotas,
dictating solutions will do nothing to solve the problem. Just talking about
problems instead of implementing solutions to enhance performance does not
make you appear vulnerable; instead, it makes managers look unknowledgeable
and no one will see progress. By getting involved with your staff and coaching
them, you will have better foresight into where and when problems will occur, and
you can easily communicate with your staff members to come up with
resolutions. Dictating can’t do that!

Coaching is a tool that can promote greatness in all of us and in our companies.
You may not initially know how to coach, but by the end of this book, you will
have all the skills and knowledge to drive your employees. Our Progress
Coaching™ guidelines will help you understand the difference between
management and coaching, and will give you the keys you need to enhance your
staff’s abilities.

I had an epiphany at a client site when I walked into a building about 6 years ago
and noticed the culture was very quiet, almost weird with silence. I asked a
manager with whom I was working what was going on. He told me all the
managers’ end of the year evaluations were due in the Human Resource
department by 11:00 am. I walked around the building and noticed every
manager was writing vigorously. I thought, “Wow, how unfair to the employees.”
Managers rushing to get a document done within minutes that covered the last
year. I also knew the company had no coaching program. The employees were
being evaluated by managers who were generally not engaged with them or
challenged with proper coaching that would enable them to perform better to
ultimately receive a good end of the year evaluation.

After managers understand the difference, the key is implementing management

and coaching at the applicable time. The high level guideline is to use
management when directing, guiding, providing vision, setting expectations, etc.
Coaching is about driving better performance to often meet the management
imperatives. It involves, again, increasing knowledge, and skill development, as
well as improving behaviors for maximum performance levels.

How I Started
Before we jump too far into the fundamentals of coaching, let me give you a little
background on myself. Like most consultants and trainers, I began my own
career thinking my stuff was way better than the next persons. Wow was I wrong!
There are so many talented trainers out there, I really paled in comparison, but
after dedicating myself to honing my craft, I realized that I had a couple things
going for me that I could really be proud of. First, I worked hard and really wanted
to see my clients succeed. I constantly think about solutions to each client’s
problems. Second, I inherited the creativity gene. My passion is building new
individual programs and services to meet my client's needs. I can honestly say
that I have never been labeled as someone who sells a canned or generic
product. This has served me well because all problems are not the same, and
what may work for one company, may not work for another. Finally, I truly believe
in what I am doing. People do need that push towards change and towards
improving their performance, and I believe that I have a great method for
managers to do just that. These three attributes have helped me create a niche
in the consulting business, and they have made it possible for me to help
organizations like yours.

I was not always a training consultant, though. About 10 years ago, I worked as a
project manager at Evinrude Johnson, which sold recreational boat motors, and
you could say this is where it all began. It was here that I worked with Tom
Walley, the Director of Sales and Marketing, and we worked so well together that
he hired me on when he moved to another company. He hired me to manage a

department, and it was this job that made aware that it is necessary to coach if
you want to see success. Keep in mind that I did not have a coaching model in
place just yet, but my management style naturally leaned towards listening to my
staff, focusing on their strengths and working with them to improve their

The defining moment that re-focused my career path happened with the staff that
I was managing for Tom Walley. It was a great team and really fun set of people
to work alongside, but like most people, they were reluctant to change. I was
brought on to raise sales and customer satisfaction levels. The sales were
average when I joined, and we began to work towards improvement. However, I
was met with resistance. Throughout multiple team meetings, one woman would
always raise the same point when I implemented a change in the regimen, "Tim, I
understand and appreciate what you are asking us to do, but this is not in our job
description." Finally after what seemed like the millionth time, I went to HR and
asked for the job descriptions of the team. Right there at the bottom of the paper,
it read, "And any other assigned duties." Bingo. At the next meeting, I began to
present ideas that would help our team get back on track and raise the numbers,
and like clockwork, I was interrupted with that same statement. With a smile I
responded, “I am so happy you brought that up again because I went to the HR
Department and got the job description." The woman looked stunned and worried
as I read the line, “…and any other assigned duties." She came back with, “But
Tim that’s a little vague don’t you think?" I said, “Yes, probably for situations like
this. You can either join us in this improvement or not, but it’s your choice." As I
looked around, two people put their heads down and were smiling. Two other
people looked right at me and smiled. This was another “Wow” moment for me. I
had assumed all along that this one woman was speaking for the group, but now
that I knew people were on board with the changes we needed to make, we were
ready to begin improving.

Within a short period of time, both our sales and customer service satisfaction
numbers began to climb. We were role-playing and practicing every day, and as
we began to improve, the morale throughout the group saw a drastic raise. After
18 months, sales went up 22%, then 33% and then an astonishing 74%. Our
customer satisfaction levels went from the 74th percentile to the 95th. Needless
to say, we were blowing people away internally with our success. The key
ingredient for this group was practice. We worked every day to facilitate skill
development, and everyone was involved. The formula was simple.

Step 1- I met with each individual weekly in a structured coaching session.
Step 2- Each person met for 15 minutes weekly with a partner to practice. This
came to be known as peer-to-peer coaching.
Step 3- I listened in on sales phone calls and would then either recognize an
employee for a great call or go over areas that they could improve.
Step 4- We made it fun. Change won't be fun unless you make it fun. Tom and I
offered to serve our staff lunch and act as their waiters if they made our
suggested changes and hit their numbers. Boy did that group kick it into high

The pivotal moment of this work experience was when I met with Tom after my
work was done. He complimented me on my work, and we got to talking about
what I was going to do in the future. The consultant in me would be thinking that I
had a client for life, but I wanted to expand and take on other business that I
could direct my focus. So instead of leaving my client behind, I spent the next six
months building the first versions of The Progress Coaching Training System™,
which teaches managers how to coach their own employees. Rather than limiting
my business and focus on client sites, I developed a program that would ease
managers into the training process so they could become coaches as well, and
now I will impart that knowledge to you! You will learn a variety of methods and
means to developing powerful performing employees through the art of coaching!

How Coaching will be Successful

Coaching success is measured by the amount of progress each employee
makes. Everyone learns and develops at a different pace, but there is
tremendous gain when managers are willing to be patient and to participate in
the development process. Both the manager and the employee need to work
together to see results. Together they need to set expectations, define the
desired results, and create mutually beneficial goals. Working together helps to
build engagement and team cohesiveness.
Here’s a recap of the keys to successful coaching:
1. Create an understanding of the desired performance improvement
2. Structure a coaching program that is consistently scheduled
3. Promote the simulation or practice of the desired performance
4. Recognize and reward effort because results will only be attained when effort
is put forth
5. Make sure the employee completes a learning assignment. Not completing
an assignment can be seen as a lack of interest by an employee.

Managers Already Coach Everyday
You might be thinking that coaching is going to take too much time, but guess
what: you are probably doing it right now without even realizing it. Coaching is
about helping employees perform better on a day-to-day basis. A core objective
of coaching employees is to create conditions and triggers that promote better
performance. The fact of the matter is that we condition employee’s behaviors
every single day whether we know it or not. However, it is critical that managers
recognize whether they are coaching using positive or negative triggers. Go back
to the story of the unengaged manager on his phone. That would be an example
of coaching with a negative trigger. So, now you know that you have been
unknowingly coaching all along. It is important though that the next step you take
is becoming aware of your interactions and using proven coaching techniques.

Let’s look at an example of negative versus positive triggers. If an employee

came into your office to seek assistance with a particular issue and you began
yelling or were dismissive, the employee would remember this interaction in the
future and would try to avoid coming to you. This could lead to problems down
the line and will ultimately diminish performance. Now, if that same employee
walked into your office and you took the time to sit down and go over the
problem, an issue would be solved and both you and your employee would leave
work happy that day.

Every interaction you have with an employee is an opportunity to coach, and it is

how you handle the situation, either positively or negatively, that determines
whether an employee will continue to want to engage with you.

Seven Habits of Successful Coaching

The best coaches know that demanding improvement in performance and skills
is not the way to see results. Most managers ask for change and provide
examples that worked for them. The problem is that not everyone learns the
same; so, change for the better is not a guarantee. A truly great sales coach will
ask questions and decipher why each sales person is either successful or
struggling, and he knows that there are several habits that can encourage

1. Engage, Engage, Engage.

Engagement is the ability to mutually interact with other people. Listening and
sharing are two great ways that managers can engage with their employees. By
working together, managers and employees can figure out the best tactic to
improve sales or performance, and this benefits everyone involved.

2. Ask great questions.

Asking great questions is one way to instantly change the relationship between
managers and employees. Questions help managers avoid assuming an
employee's strengths and weaknesses. It also helps a manager understand the
steps that should be taken when coaching a certain employee. Does he need to
better understand product information? What fears does he have that are
prohibiting him from doing his best? These are frequent problems that can all be
better understood and fixed by asking questions.

3. Demonstrates great active listening.

Most managers believe that they are good listeners, but they can barely define
what that means. Listening is about hearing the words; whereas, active listening
is having the ability to repeat verbatim what someone said. The minute we
demonstrate a lack of listening, an employee will immediately begin to

4. Consistently inspire and motivate consciously.

Employees today typically do not make a conscious effort to inspire and motivate
themselves. That's why so many exceptional people that work to improve
themselves stand out. A manager must realize the opportunity he has by
inspiring and motivating employees to perform beyond even what they feel is

5. Scheduled coaching sessions.

Coaching must be scheduled. Coaching is not a spur of the moment activity. If
coaching is scheduled and consistently applied, performance will change along
with the organization's culture. You will begin to see a more engaging and
inspiring workforce.

6. Develop practice sessions.

One of the biggest challenges managers have is comprehending how important
practice is to developing a skill. Skill development does not just happen
overnight. For example, we can show someone how to deliver a speech in front
of 1000 people, but without practice, the speech will never be successful.
Managers must facilitate practice sessions in order for any skill to truly improve.

7. Leverage the relationship of coaching to retain and gain.
Great coaches work to develop a meaningful and open relationship with their
employees. An employee who receives constant coaching and has a manager
that will actively listen is more likely to stay and produce than one who does not.

Seven Mistakes Managers Make That Erode Employee

Now that you know several habits that make managers successful coaches,
there are several mistakes that you need to know to avoid if you are going to help
employees improve. We are all guilty of making these mistakes, but the more you
familiarize yourself with them, the less likely you are to bring them into the

1. No Time
I hate the “no time” excuse. If you possess the title manager, it is incumbent upon
you to realize you are managing people. If you are managing people, you are
already engaging and interacting with these people at some level; therefore, why
not make those interactions successful? Yes, as today's managers, you are
busier than ever, but it only hurts the company and the bottom line when you say
you do not have time to develop and coach your employees. Higher performing
employees help you offset your own work challenges.

2. Being Too Distracted

One of the biggest mistakes managers make is letting their own work get in the
way of relationships with their staff. Managers wear many hats, but their
employees are doing the same. Management interaction can help employees
manage their own workload and produce the best results. Moreover, an
interesting side is that the interaction can benefit you the manager.

3. Negative Language
The way we speak to each other is so critical in shaping the reactions we get
from our employees. We are, in a sense, a very knee-jerk society with quick terse
responses so we can move onto the next task. The problem is that these
responses create long-lasting perceptions for the people who are on the
receiving end of them. A common example of this is when an employee may not
be performing at a level the manager deems acceptable. If a manager
immediately responds to an employee’s shortcoming by simply telling him he did
something wrong, an employee may immediately shut down and will certainly be
less likely to listen or take advice. On the other hand, what if the manager
opened up conversation with an employee by saying, “I see this as an
opportunity to look at the situation a little bit differently, and I have some
suggestions and changes that I think will help you”? That sounds much better,
and it positively steers the employee down the path to improvement. The way we
speak often defines if someone will become approachable and coachable.

4. Lack of Scheduling
Coaching must be scheduled! If you do not schedule coaching; often, it will not
occur. If a manager creates a schedule and sticks to that schedule a strong
commitment message has been sent to the employee(s) being coached.

5. Not Asking Questions

If you do not ask your employees questions, then you are not likely going to find
out what is really causing their failure to improve. Providing workers with possible
solutions to a problem may work sometimes, but you can’t really know what will
help an employee unless you ask specific questions. This also helps managers
gain perspective about individual employees, which will make coaching more

6. “Do It My Way” Syndrome

As we just stated, managers will often gravitate to telling employees how they
would do it when a performance issue arises. The problem with this approach is
that it never allows the individual to share how he would address the situation,
thus cutting them off from individually owning the performance issue.

7. Not Smiling
This may seem like a silly mistake, but managers who smile and present
themselves with an upbeat attitude create engaging and productive employees.
Staff members will look forward to coming into work and applying themselves if
they know they will be interacting with a friendly manager all day.

Why Organizations Need to Coach

We have stressed that managers need to coach, but they cannot be the only
ones that push for change. Organizations need to encourage coaching and
provide a supportive program. However, this is not always the case. More often
than not, companies either put coaching on the back burner or they don’t
consider it at all. It’s difficult to pinpoint just one reason why coaching fails at an
organization. Many managers and higher-ups believe that as long as they are
clearing the bottom-line then no work needs to be done with employees. What if
you could double or triple those results, though? Then everyone would jump on
board with coaching! You can see growth in your company both financially and
internally if you dedicate time to improving your staff. One such client I personally
coached and challenged her inability to listen to customers. She was a very
verbal person who needed to break her behavioral habit of talking too much;
within six months her sales had risen 105%. Instead she focused on listening.
This became very appealing to the team members who all saw the benefits of
coaching and began to participate openly and without apprehension.

Typically, organizations do not require managers to change how they interact

with employees. I have gone into countless staff meetings and listened as a
manager spoke to his staff and demanded results. One time, I observed a client
yell at his employees for an hour. At the end, he told them they needed to get
their numbers up, but he did not give any support or ideas as to how to do that.
He did not even allow them to work together to brainstorm ways to improve. As
we walked out of the office, he turned to me and began talking about how well
that meeting went. I just stared at him and responded, “Yeah, it went well if your
goal was to get them to start sending their resumes out.” Managers today are too
used to telling their staff what to do, what they expect, and when they expect it.
There are certainly times when this is necessary, but it usually has nothing to do
with performance improvement. Managers have many responsibilities, and one
of those should be to retain and grow staff. Organizations need to implement
programs to teach managers how to coach because there are numerous benefits
that can be gained.

There are so many fundamental reasons why organizations need to coach, and it
is stunning that we do not have more organizations with a formal coaching
program. Here is a brief list of reasons why organizations need to coach:
1 Employee retention.
2 Allows managers to get close to employee’s work and solve real world
3 Better succession planning due to talent growth.
4 Creating organizational energy.
5 Builds coaches within the leadership circles. The more coaches an
organization has, the more “performance improving” employees they will

6 Business requires employees to get better. Organizations that have
managers who are not coaching their employees do not have a competitive
7 Employees who experience an increase in skills and overall work
performance become more open to change and challenges. This in itself is
enough to start an organization-wide coaching initiative.

Why You Will Love Coaching

Training departments, much like marketing departments, have often been
misdiagnosed as not being effective. For example, when sales are low company
leaders are often overheard saying, “We need to improve our marketing,” but
maybe the sales force needs to improve their selling skills. Training departments
often possess true professionals who are passionate about their craft. The major
challenge training departments have is when employees leave the session. Soon
after employees are done with their training, they will begin to forget what they
have learned. Most managers do not implement any sort of practice sessions
that help team members. Managers have an opportunity to take the learning
process forward after training has commenced.

Let's take a look at a rough example. A training department conducts a half-day

workshop on handling angry customers for a customer service department. After
the employees leave the training, managers of the employees who attended the
training are given a coaching guide as to how to continue the process of getting
better at handling angry customers. The guide is filled with questions to ask
employees, ways to use various coaching types to facilitate better handling of
angry customers, and strategies to maintain the learning process associated with
the topic of handling angry customers. In essence, this makes coaching seem
less daunting for managers, and it provides employees with the future training
they need to retain information.

During the course of this book, I hope you will gain insight and learn some
information that will help drive coaching in your organization. We will show you
different tools for coaching and steps that work to help both employees and
managers improve. Coaching will help your organization reach its fullest
potential, and who doesn’t want that?

Chapter 2: What has Research Taught Us?

Research has revealed that organizations need managers to become better
coaches because it shows that most managers are deficient in driving
performance. This is really an opportunity for organizations to develop a
competitive edge since coaching revolves around improving skills, product
knowledge and behaviors, and it ultimately leads to performance enhancement.
“If you want further proof, here are some:

Corporate Leadership Council Stats

“Engaged employees can yield up to 57% more discretionary effort”
– Corporate Leadership Council (2004)

“11% of employees are disengaged… 76% are ambivalent at best… only

13% are engaged… but average industry attrition 10-12%”
- Corporate Leadership Council (2007)

In a study conducted by Teresa Amabile, a Professor at Harvard Business

School, she asked 600 managers what they thought was the number one thing
that motivated people. They said recognition, and guess what; they were wrong!
Employees were then asked to document via an e-mail diary their emotions and
feelings as it related to motivation, and 76 percent of the participants reported
that PROGRESS was the number one attribute that motivated them. This is an
important statistic because it shows just how gaping the disconnect is between
what a manager thinks motivates employees and what really encourages them.
This revelation completely changes how managers need to go about driving
effort to see results.

Before you move on to the next phase of coaching, you need to ask yourself two
questions, "Are your employees progressing?" and "Do you make a conscious
effort to make them aware of their progress?" These two questions should
constantly be looked at as benchmarks and guidelines when you implement a
coaching program.

CSO Insights Research

The following research is a recent study from CSO Insights, a firm who annually
studies selling and customer service practices. It is considered by many within
the industry as the major source of research. This research indicates the wide
need for coaching within organizations. They begin their findings by reporting the
annual sales performance report:

"This performance level hit an all-time low of 49.1% in 2004. In 2005 and 2006
the percentage of reps achieving their revenue targets rebounded to 58.2% and
then 59.1%, respectively. While this seemed to be a positive trend, last year we
warned that when comparing the effectiveness results of sales reps, we felt that
in many companies the higher percentage of reps making quota might well be
due to them just working harder as opposed to smarter.
One of the key metrics we will use to create more detailed sales performance
analysis in 2011 will be analyzing performance based on the type of relationship
a vendor has with its customers. As part of the current survey, we asked
participants to share the level of relationship they have with the majority of their
customers. Based on previous research, we present five ways vendors can be
viewed by their customers:

Approved Vendor: We are seen by the majority of our customers as

legitimate providers of the products or services we offer, but are not
recognized for having any significant sustainable competitive edge over
alternative offerings.
Preferred Supplier: Based on our marketplace reputation and past dealings
with our customers, while competitors may offer alternatives, we are normally
seen as the preferred vendor for them to do business with.
Solutions Consultant: Based on a specific set of product-related, value-
added knowledge or services we offer, our customers view us as not only a
vendor, but also a consulting resource on how to best use our products or
Strategic Contributor: Above and beyond the products and services we offer
our customers view us as a source of strategic planning assistance for dealing
with broader-based challenges they are currently facing.
Trusted Partner: At this highest level we are seen as a long-term partner
whose contributions, products, insights, processes, etc. are seen as critical to
the client’s long-term success.

Our Own Research

While working with our own clients, we compiled our own research after studying
the effects that coaching had on each individual client's challenges:

Client A: This client found that 86% of phone calls made by sales people
were ended with "Yup" and "All right" as opposed to "Thank you." The

company's numbers were fine, but the VP of Sales and Marketing thought that
the current phone etiquette was appalling. This client immediately began to
employ coaching methods to lay the groundwork and foundation for better
relationship development. A sample phone call was played for the employees,
and then the sales reps were asked to write what they believed a customer's
reaction to the call would be. Next, employees were asked to name different
ways to end a call that would alter a customer's perception of the company.
The client began to see customer satisfaction levels slowly rise with this
specific area of improvement. In addition, employees began to report higher
percentages of satisfaction associated with client relationship building.

Client B: This client had difficulty getting their inside sales force and
leadership team on the same page. At this point, each sales person was
averaging 3.5 close ended questions per call. This sales team sold
commodity-based products; therefore, it led to a very high paced transactional
relationship with customers, which made it hard for customers to differentiate
this firm from others. On the other hand, the core objective of the leadership
team was to shape the image of the company. They wanted to be seen as
customer focused. The objective of this team was at odds with the sales
team's performance and daily actions. Over the course of the next 18 months,
three different types of coaching sessions were utilized: group, peer-to-peer
and one-on-one. These coaching sessions brought members of each group
together and invited them to come up with solutions that made both teams
happy. The results were staggering. Sales increased an average of over 35%
per quarter, and customer satisfaction rose from the 72nd to the 95th
percentile (note: this was done using an internal metric).

Client C: This client had a very poor perception within its industry to promote
a positive customer satisfaction perspective. The training director and call
center manager realized being a smaller player in their industry presented
unique challenges. They had a higher cost of manufacturing because they did
not have the resources of bigger companies. They did not have operating
capital to invest in high-end communication systems. So, the manager
understood that if his team was going to compete they would need to make
customer service a priority. This presented a major challenge to the team
because at the time they had not focused on forming meaningful relationships
with their customers. During the next 24 months managers were taught how to
coach their employees. Employees attended many workshops in areas that
were structured around how to actively listen; how to say thank you creatively;

and how to build trust and rapport with customers. Within 24 months,
customer satisfaction had risen in specific areas from 60% -72%.

Client D: This organization had a very non-engaging relationship with its

customer base. Typical interactions were comprised of simply sending e-mails
back and forth, while in-person meetings and phone calls were rare. The staff
lacked the energy to truly commit to customer relationships. All managers in
this business unit were shown how to properly coach their teams. Employees
were now being challenged to call customers as opposed to simply e-mailing
them. As you can imagine, this was met with resistance. Employees felt as
though their job requirements were changing, and it was "unfair" to them.
However with consistent coaching and business education, customer service
and sales reps began to understand the reasons behind the transition. In 36
months, the division’s sales doubled along with their customer satisfaction
rating levels.

We are living success with our clients in the spirit of a true partnership. Their
success is our success. The success requirements or goals may differ from client
to client, but the major objective is to build engagement between the manager
and employee with a focus on performance improvement. Our clients continue
today to use Progress Coaching™ as a means to developing staff and driving the
bottom line. Needless to say we are lucky to have the clients we have and have
enjoyed every minute working with them to develop high performing managers
who coach their employees as major form of leadership.

Chapter 3: Coaching Instructions

Four Stages of Building a Coaching Program and Culture
We have identified four major stages an organization must go through to attain
the status of a “Coaching Organization”. Each stage can serve as a basis to
measure your own organization as it progresses. Each stage depicts a specific
element of completion in order to move into the next stage.

Stage One: Training – The knowledge of how to coach is delivered. This can be
done via a workshop or e-learning course or better yet through our Progress
Coaching Training System. This stage requires managers to really understand
the mechanics of starting and sustaining a coaching program.

Stage Two: Transition – Skills and behavioral shift occurs during a “Coach the
Coach” movement called the transition stage. This is where most programs fall or
thrive. Managers can either continue to engage in the coaching process or let it
fall by the wayside. Time becomes the number one challenge, but it is possible to
ease into the situation and begin the process with a few individuals. It must be
scheduled or the coaching simply will not happen. Organizations should start by
scheduling what we call “Best Practice” sessions. Managers share their coaching
strategy, and they list out the individual's strengths and weaknesses. It’s
imperative during this stage that managers make sure the employee know that
these sessions are not going to be just like all the others. Also during this stage,
it is strongly suggested to get employee feedback. This serves a number of
purposes. First, it validates that coaching is occurring. Second, it should serve as
a motivator for managers because they can see firsthand that their coaching is
working. Last, the feedback becomes a metric the organization can use to see
the progress being made.

Stage Three: Adoption – When managers receive coaching validation as their

employees succeed, then coaching becomes an internal tool that spreads
throughout the company. One of our clients started to use coaching as a
succession tool to prepare young leaders for future management positions.
Coaching can become a great way for people to help others even if they aren't
managers. If anything coaching within the troops can be very powerful as
employees work together to challenge and help one another. Leaders evolve
from such interactions over time.

Stage Four: Ownership – This occurs when coaching has become ingrained in
the way a company runs its business. It is the way they bring new employees into
the company, and it is used in combination with the company's original training.
Typically, at this stage an organization will hire a Director of Coaching to drive
manager education and begin coaching employees. However, once coaching is
understood, the ownership stage illustrates there is no longer a need for outside
assistance because it has been woven into the fabric of the organization.

The diagram below illustrates what we do for clients, but organizations can
create their own stages. It’s imperative to develop criteria that work for your
organization if you are going to truly move forward to becoming a coaching

Progress Coaching Enterprise: Stages of Development

Phases Stage One: Stage Two: Stage Three: Stage Four:
Training Transition Adoption Ownership
Deliverables Successfully complete Maintain quantifiable Training starts to teach Internal trainers can
a management continuous learning for a coaching program now teach and
coaching program coaching facilitate Progress
Quarterly coaching Coaching™
best practice sessions
Employees complete
“A coaching feedback
complete” assessment
Attributes Base knowledge Real world coaching Internal coaching Director of coaching is
Internal coaching leaders are identified hired!
reports to help facilitate
Staff surveys internal coaching best
practice sessions(best
practice training
Suggested 90% of lessons Survey depicts 75% of 75% of managers First 90 Day program
Metrics completed by each employees say “they complete Progress successfully
manager are engaged” Coaching™ implemented
Managers attend a best 90% of learning track Progress Coaching™ internally!
practice completion test at 80% or better
Managers complete 90 3.2 Learning track
days of Progress competency rating
Coaching Partners™ Monthly progress
reports delivered to

Keys to Coaching Success
Managers who value both coaching and continuous learning are keys to success.
Some managers think that coaching’s main purpose is to make them look good,
and if you have people in your company that believe this then you are headed for
trouble. The main reason we use varying coaching methods and techniques is to
drive performance so that it benefits the company; its leaders; and, most
importantly, the employees. If we have high performing employees, we in turn will
have ecstatic customers and better organizational bottom lines. Managers that
understand this and can see past their own gain will produce the greatest results.

A major requirement for coaching success is to maintain a long-term vision as

opposed to simply seeking short-term results. Most managers are under daily
pressure to produce results, and there is no way of avoiding this. In the end
though, coaching will produce those daily results over a longer and more
continuous period of time.
For managers to see an overall change in results, they need to help employees
complete a necessary formula.

Effort + Progress = Results

In order for someone to truly perform better he must prove that he is willing to
make an effort to change. Effort is the reason simply demanding new habits or
higher sales will not work. An employee has to want to make those changes.
Managers who can coach employees at any effort level will be able to bring them
one step closer to seeing results. Once a certain level of effort is being put forth
towards learning, we start to see progress. This will not happen overnight, but
eventually, you will start to see small results in your employee’s performance.
After a certain amount of time, that effort and progress will turn into the results
you were seeking.

There are two examples I can share with you to further convey my points.
Oftentimes when children begin playing sports, they are nervous about making
mistakes. For instance, a child who plays Little League and stands in the batter’s
box without swinging presents a unique challenge to the coaches. They need to
understand what is preventing the child from swinging, and then coach him
towards results. During practices, it is important that a coach or parents work
one-on-one with the child to help him develop a more confident swing. As the
season continues, the child will eventually begin to progress. Maybe one day he

tips the ball, and the next he gets on base for a single. If the coach continues to
work on the child’s effort and swing, one day he could hit a homerun!

The next example is from a client that had a team of about ten sales and service
managers. During our meetings, the managers were required to provide
presentations of their leadership plans. The executive overseeing the project
turned to me during the presentations and said, “These guys are awful in terms
of presenting themselves.” The executive was not only angry, but he was ready
to let his staff know the extent of his frustration. Before getting up, I asked him
what he hoped to achieve by his demonstration of disgust. He sat back down and
said, “I don't know, but I'm really frustrated.” The standard presentations were not
the focal point of this project, but we had uncovered a major flaw in the
management team's ability to present. These were the same managers who went
out to customers and did standard presentations on their company’s products
and services. I looked back at the executive and explained that his reaction was
crucial. So instead of blowing up, he invited each of the employees to meet with
me if they felt they needed help improving their skills. Eight of the ten employees
requested help, which showed that the effort was there. We continued to work
one-on-one and in group settings to help the employee improve their
presentation skills, and at the next meeting, the executive was blown away. He
saw their individual efforts and progress, and we were able to deliver the results
his company needed.

These three stages, effort, progress, and results, must serve as our guidelines to
developing better performing employee’s over time. These three levels of change
will be altered from employee to employee as well as from performance area to
performance area.

There are a few more simple keys to coaching:

1 Employ skill sets that can be taken anywhere in the organization
2 Become more engaged with employees to develop better knowledge, skill
and behavioral attributes.
3 Internal departments must work together
4 Exhibits energy and motivation on a day-to-day basis
5 Show an absolute willingness to get better at every level within the

A Manager’s Two Greatest Skills: The Power to Engage and
to Build Trust
Engagement is the key management skill when it comes to coaching employees.
We interact with our employees every day, and their behavior in the workplace is
often times conditioned by these interactions. Coaching aims to prevent
managers from exhibiting poor engagement. Managers who avoid eye contact,
ignore employee questions and suggestions, and who refuse to make time for
their workers are less likely to see results. These interactions set the basis for
how much effort staff members are willing to put in for their boss.

There are four basic elements of engagement.

Proactive Engagement. A manager specifically and consciously seeks out

an employee to address and/or discuss an issue.

Situational Engagement. Interactions between manager and employee

that are not planned (but create powerful perceptions from the employee).

Group Engagement. A manager engages an entire group. The challenge

with group engagement is that it requires management of distractions and
multiple people who may not be willing to engage.

Physical Engagement (Location). The place where we engage with

people. The goal of engagement is to have a mutual exchange with
employees; therefore, it is suggested that you choose a neutral location
when the opportunity presents itself.

Engagement creates long-lasting memories and perceptions that shape our

willingness to continue to engage with another person. For example when I was
coaching youth basketball, we had a parent who would tell his son four to five
things he did wrong during the game before they even left the gym. The son, who
happened to be a very good athlete, began to associate the game of basketball
with his father's non-constructive feedback. I was not surprised when the child
did not come out for the team the next year.

Hypothetically, an employee walks into a manager's office to discuss a complaint

about another employee. The manager responds by saying, "Look, you just have
to get over it or deal with it yourself," and he then dismisses the employee by
picking up the phone to call someone else. Would that employee be more or less
likely to ever ask that manager for help again? If an employee had a larger
problem, one that could significantly affect the company, the chances are slim
that he would seek the help of their manager. If you want to successfully coach,
you need to be aware of: your body language, eye contact, facial expressions,
behavioral control, and blackberries/iPhones (Technology's great isn't it?!?)

The ability to gain an employee’s trust is one skill great managers possess, and
they do this through engaging. It has become more and more apparent that trust
is such a big issue when coaching employees. Trust is such a brittle thing; yet, it
is the foundation for our relationship with our employees. However, when I ask
managers what they do to make their foundation solid, many of them cannot
provide me with an answer! Most just assume it is naturally there.

Trust must be established for coaching to get off to a good start. If a manager
starts a coaching program with an employee or group of employees and there is
no trust then the employees may become hesitant. Managers cannot truly delve
into coaching until that base is there. The following are some ways that a
manager can build trust so that coaching can begin:
1 Do what you say you are going to do.
2 Admit fault when wrong – there is nothing more powerful than when a
manager shares where he or she made a mistake. Employees gain
confidence in their manager, and they trust that they can go to problems
when they have made an error.
3 Ask questions and use what employees suggest in some fashion.
4 Listen … Just Listen.
5 When responding, make eye contact especially with tough situations. Looking
away comes across as evasive.
6 Smile when looking at other people.
7 Promote your staff when they have earned it and compliment when they
deserve it. This shows employees that you are there to build them and NOT
just manage them.

Your First Look before Coaching

Before we begin coaching, there are two main concepts that we need to
understand so that we know where to start with each individual employee.
Functional requirements and where they fit inside our three tiers of learning are
important to understanding how to leverage the Progress Coaching process.

Functional Requirements
Functional requirements are not something that are found in job descriptions;
rather, they are attributes that we need to be successful in our positions. For
example, a job description would simply list, “Cold calling.” A functional
requirement would read as, “Cold calling with energy and passion during every
phone call!” You can even get more specific, “Handles competitor objections on
every cold call with flair, confidence and conviction.”
Before meeting with an employee, write down a list of specific adjectives and
attributes that you believe should go along with a job description. Each functional
requirement we listed can fit inside one of the three tiers of learning.

Three Tiers of Learning

In order to be successful at any job, you need to have knowledge of the product
or service; skills that will help you accomplish different tasks, and certain
behaviors that allow you to mesh well with your job and your company. For
example, a Sales Rep is required to have extensive product knowledge and
strong people skills to provide great customer service. One employee on your
team may lack product knowledge while another may not recognize the negative
tone he uses on the phone. You have to sit down with each individual to
understand at which tier to start coaching.

Knowledge- to know or to understand; to be able to teach someone. Internal

processes, product knowledge and technical problems are all examples of this

Skills- to be able to perform or do something specifically. Active listening, ability

to close, and negotiating tactics are all in this category.

Behaviors- to consistently execute without fear, anxiety or overthinking. Fear of

cold-calling and anxiety of asking for an order are behaviors that need to be

Now, would you really send both the above mentioned employees to the same
workshop? Would you really coach these people the same way? Of course not!
This is where the Progress Coaching System is useful. If you define your
functional requirements and categorize them into the three tiers of learning, you
are way ahead of any generic, one-size-fits-all, coaching concept.

Note: It is very common to have a development area with a combination of
learning tiers within it. For example, you may have an employee who does not
know how to make a cold call (lack of knowledge), lack of skills (because they
have not yet practiced it), and they fear doing cold calls (lack of confidence).
Make sure you know which tier is causing the lack of performance in the other
one or two.

How to Start a Coaching Program

Starting a coaching process comes down to each manager making the
commitment to enabling his or her employees to progress. The process is

I. Assessment
The assessment can take two forms
a. Observation – managers will see first-hand the core areas each employee
needs to develop
b. Gap Analysis – the Progress Coaching System uses a rating system to
define the level of performance against the defined functional

II. Design
The Progress Coaching System provides choices. The design process can
leverage the gap analysis as well as the observational perspective. The design
process allows for managers to pick various coaching approaches keeping their
time in perspective. The system also allows coaching to be delivered even when
management is not physically present.

III. Choose Coaching Approaches/Types

There are five types of coaching that can be delivered, and three of those can be
conducted without management’s presence. This enables performance to be
accelerated because it is not solely dependent upon management conducting
just one-on-one sessions.

IV. Use Coaching Techniques

During any coaching session it’s vital that managers know how to deal with
reactions from and challenges with employees as coaching commences.

V. Validate & Re-Evaluate
The evaluation process can be measured by multiple factors. The key is to
recognize progress as well as lack of progress. Managers can evaluate progress
a. Simple observation
b. Score sheets (skill and behavioral)
c. Tests (knowledge)
d. Tracking of learning projects completion (behavioral).

The assessment process is critical for one main reason: it asks employees for
their input and involves them from the start. The manager should ask the
employee to examine his or her work and assess the overall strengths and
weaknesses. Then, the manager's view should be shared, and from there, the
two should work together to bridge the gap. These results are then correlated
with the value of the specific tier being assessed. There are basics steps to
follow when developing an assessment process:

 List all aspects of performance desired (Functional Requirements)

 Then categorize them into one of the tiers of learning by asking, "What
knowledge does an employee need to have to do this job effectively? or
"What skills are need to do this job effectively?"

The following functional rating scale helps both the employee and manager
evaluate what level the employee is currently at. The rating scale is useful
because it provides very specific evaluations as opposed to an interpretative
scale, such as excellent, very good or good.

0 : No concept or ability.
1: Recognize the concept, but cannot demonstrate any real ability or
2: Know the concept and could demonstrate ability/understanding at a basic
3: Demonstrate level of expertise – answering most questions or providing
demonstration of ability.
4: Could teach/demonstrate the ability without flaw or hesitation – absolute

In addition to the functional ratings, it is critical to define the value drivers per
functional requirement. This allows for coaching to be done only in areas of
highest importance. For example, cold calling would have a higher value driver
for a sales rep than for a customer service rep. Essentially, what is the value of
the functional requirement as it relates to the position:

3 - Vital
2 - Needed, but not vital
1 - It would be nice, but not needed
NA – not applicable

GAP Assessment Sample

Cold Calling 3 1 -2 3
Handling Price 2 1 -1 3
Product XYZ 3 2 -1 3
Product ABC 2 2 0 3
Sample GAP Assessments are available for download at forms.

The objective of these assessments is to identify the gap areas and fix them. In
the end, the manager rating and the employee rating should be the same. Once
you have found the gap areas, list out which ones have the highest value drivers
and begin your coaching sessions there.

Suggested Design Imperatives

1 Top 2 gaps – One on One
2 Next two gaps – Peer-to-Peer
3 Next two gaps – Group
4 Rest of the gaps - Self-Directed Learning

This cooperative evaluation and the eventual training sessions will strengthen the
manager/employee relationship, and it will open the door for some great

General Coaching Types
30 Second Coaching
30 second coaching is designed to be a short positive reinforcement, direct, high
energy approach to building and sustaining change with repeatable bursts. No
new concepts are taught since this is strictly used as positive reinforcement to
encourage progress. Keys to successfully accomplishing this approach are to be
specific to the issue that prompted the coaching feedback, do NOT mix
messages, and use a positive adjective like “fantastic” or “great.” For example, if
an employee just had a great customer call, stop by his desk and say, “Bob, you
did a great job of really listening to that customer’s issues. Keep it up.” Once you
have delivered the coaching feedback, just walk away. Don’t confuse the
message by standing around and chatting about other topics. Remember 30
seconds is positive reinforcement of effort or progress that encourages continued
effort and progress.

One-on-One Coaching
It is important that managers sit down with their employees, either 1-2 times
weekly for 15 minutes or weekly for 30 minutes, to focus on 1-2 areas of
improvement. Both the manager and the employee should set goals to achieve at
certain intervals. When the meetings occur, these goals should be looked at; and
if the specific performance challenge is not met, then opportunity exists for both
to talk about what needs to be improved and how to accomplish the goal. Each
new meeting should build upon the last. One-on-one coaching sessions are
meant to bring about an open discussion about strategies and techniques that
can be implemented to improve performance. This type of training reinforcement
helps to show the employee that their manager and team leader is interested and
invested in the performance.

Group Coaching
Training reinforcement can help employees practice and improve in areas with
which they have problems, such as cold-calling and prospecting; and group
sessions give them an opportunity to work with others to fix any setbacks. These
sessions should pick one theme for that week, and then employees can spend
the entire time working on those skills. When leading a group session, managers
should make sure that practicing and role-playing are almost always
implemented. By actively playing out real-world situations, salespeople and
customer service reps can get a feel for how to perform in front of customers.
Having a group of peers around can encourage, as well as inspire, the actions
that a person would take during an interaction with a client. Group sessions
encourage employees to listen to what others have learned; and, in turn they
may pick up or adopt successful tools that other employees use.

Peer-to-Peer Coaching
Have employees work together. This way, they can coach one another through
each of their problems. Co-workers can spend time on specific issues, and you
will instantly see the lines of communication open. Often if you pair two people
where one has a strength and the other a weakness, you will begin to see both
people improve, and your sales team’s performance will begin to rise.

Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

Use Self-Directed Learning as a tool to accelerate the coaching process. Self-
Directed Learning is a powerful tool when developing employees. Employees can
benefit from learning on their own as opposed to in large training sessions. Self-
directed learning can also be used when there is little time for coaching, but it still
needs to be done. Employees work on assignments by themselves, usually over
a week. At the end of the week, they can turn in what they have worked on to
their manager. If they were trying to improve their customer service then ask
them to list three things they learned about their customer and submit by the end
of the week. Self-directed learning works by helping the employee figure out what
they need to improve by themselves.

Once the assessment is completed it’s vital to create a coaching plan. The plan
can use one or all of the coaching types listed above (the types will be discussed
in greater detail later). The following is a sample coaching plan for an employee
who needs to increase their cold calling performance.

Sample Coaching Plan
Specific Area of Cold Calling &
Development: Creating Unique
Week One 1. Review expectations Have the employee write Bring in two examples of
of the targeted down the name of calls where you used a
performance area companies of where they successful cold call
2. Challenge employee felt they were successful opener
to come up with two and why
creative business
openers to be used in
the real world
Week Two Review learning project Bring in two examples of Bring in two examples of
and role-play out loud or calls where you used a calls where you used a
discuss what would be successful cold call successful cold call
done differently opener opener
Week Three Review learning project Have the employee write Bring in two examples of
and role-play out loud or down the name of calls where you used a
discuss what would be companies of where they successful cold call
done differently felt they were successful opener
and why
Repeat for 4 to 6 weeks
Week Four Review learning project Have the employee write Bring in two examples of
and role-play out loud or down the name of calls where you used a
discuss what would be companies of where they successful cold call
done differently felt they were successful opener
and why. Repeat for 4 to 6
Week Five Review learning project Have the employee write Bring in two examples of
and role-play out loud or down the name of calls where you used a
discuss what would be companies of where they successful cold call
done differently felt they were successful opener
and why
Repeat for 4 to 6 weeks
Week Six Review learning project Have the employee write Bring in two examples of
and role-play out loud or down the name of calls where you used a
discuss what would be companies of where they successful cold call
done differently felt they were successful opener
and why

Sample Customer Service SDL Plan
Take “Handling Objections” 15 Minutes 2 Any Employee
course from Sales Progress
and email your manager two
things you learned about
yourself of where you feel you
could get better
Find two articles on Google on 15 Minutes 2 Self
“How to Handle Price
Objections” and email your
manager two things you learned
and what you will apply
Name a client you experienced 15 Minutes 3 Self
any objections with and
describe how you handled it
Use A Sales Rep Feedback 15 Minutes 3 Any Employee
Form and practice with one
employee handling objections
(form turned into management
Name a client you successfully 15 Minutes 3 Self
overcame objections and
describe why you think you
were successful
Product Knowledge

Read ABC product brochure. 15 Minutes 3 Self

Email Katie & Andy 2 things 15 Minutes 3 Katie/Andy

that you learned.

Email 2 benefits to Katie & 15 Minutes 3 Katie/Andy

Andy on the ABC Product.

Present the ABC Product. 15 Minutes 3 Katie/Andy

Customer Service

Read Knocks Your Socks off 15 minutes 3 Self

Customer Service and Email
Your Manager 2 Things you

Email two things you learned 15 minutes 3 Katie/Andy

from the book you could do

Develop one idea from the book 15 minutes 3 Katie/Andy

you will now do with your

Additional Types of Coaching
I bet you thought all coaching was one-on-one with an employee. This is where
our methodology is different from others. There are multiple types of coaching
and multiple methods within each type that can expand the coaching capacity!
There are three high-level forms of coaching. Let's examine each type of

Scheduled Coaching takes place there is a deliberate effort to schedule and

consistently pursue performance improvement. It is very important that you stick
with your scheduled appointments. Managers that want to commit to helping
employees need to show that they will be there at all times. Scheduled coaching
is the best for incorporating the five types of coaching in our system: 30 second,
one-on-on, peer-to-peer, group and self-directed. Employees will get a significant
amount of learning and practice out of each of these and missing one can be a
setback. So, schedule these meetings for a time that everyone can make and
stick to that schedule.

Situational Coaching consists of defining moments where people interact in a

nonscheduled format. There are two types of situational coaching that occur in
the workplace: proactive and reactive. Proactive coaching occurs when an
employee walks into a manager’s office to ask a question or when someone has
a question during a meeting. Situational coaching creates a scenario outside the
control of the manager. This is where most employees will start to form their
perceptions and decide whether or not they want to engage with a certain

Reactive Coaching occurs when we do not start the interaction. If we run into an
employee in the hallway, and he mentions something or asks for help, we are
typically caught off guard. An employee will gauge our reaction and our body
language. This perception can affect how much they are willing to engage in
further coaching.

Reflective Coaching occurs when we ask another person to reflect and learn
based on an activity or experience. Reflective coaching is a method whereby a
learner is challenged to reflect and learn based on a particular activity. This form
of coaching is extremely powerful. A simple example of reflective coaching could
be when a manager with an employee with a poor attitude, asks the employee to
read a positive and inspirational article. Then the manager asks the employee to
write two things that he learned about himself as a result of reading the article
and share the results with the manager. The power of reflective coaching is that it
exonerates the manager from being dictative. Reflective coaching is a great way
to help people commit to behavioral changes.

Reflective coaching also uses self-directed learning, and it can show a great
deal. A manager can learn just how much an employee is willing to change their
performance. If he consistently does not turn in assignments, he exhibits
negative behavior and is cause for concern.

Specific Tiers of Learning Coaching Methods

Evaluation Methods – demonstration, tests.
Coaching or Self-Directed Methods:
● Show Me – this method has the student showing how to do something
that would require knowledge.
● Demo & Receive Feedback – this method has the student actually doing
a demo where knowledge is required.
● Teach the Teacher - “To know something is to have the ability to teach it.”
A great method for having the student experience role-reversal where
they have to teach a topic or knowledge set.

Evaluation Methods – role-playing, tests, observation.
Coaching or Self-Directed Methods:
● Show Me –this method has the student showing how to do something that
would require skills such as closing, presentation, etc.
● Demonstrate and Q & A – this is similar to “Show Me,” but it also
incorporates Q & A to quantify knowledge required to do the skill.
● Role-Play – critical to the development of any skill. A person must
practice skills like asking open-ended questions, listening, etc.
● Act As If … - This is a form of modeling. Acting as if you have their skills
helps an employee by mimicking or acting out the skill as if they had been
doing it for years. For example, a student who is scared of making cold
calls may act as if he is a million dollar per year sales person on the
phone to facilitate the feeling of what it is like to actually do the cold calls.

Evaluation Methods – role-playing, tests.
Coaching or Self-Directed Methods:
● Absurd Exaggeration – this has the student act so beyond the required
behavior to help them realize the required behavioral change is not that
difficult or bad as they thought.
● Self-Analysis - this is an abridged version of 360 degree feedback. Have
3 fellow employees write down what they see in a fourth employee’s
behavior, and then have that fourth employee analyze what he sees as
valid and maybe not so valid.
● Watch & Reflect – this is a simple observation with additional work such
as documenting another person’s positive behavioral attributes (walking
with energy, body language, etc.).
● Question Back – this helps an employee truly own an issue by not giving
them the answer they seek. For example, if they ask how to do something
a “question back” response would be “What do you think should be
● “What Would You Do?” – prompt the employee with constant versions of
the question “what would you do?” In addition, this technique can be done
with varying degrees, by adding things like, “If you were the client, what
would you want the sales person to do?” – The goal is to get the
employee to see the issue from different perspectives.

Coaching Questions & Strategic Interactions

There are coaching techniques that work well, but as we have learned, asking
questions is by far the greatest way to elicit a change.

Question Back
Most employees want us as leaders to own the decisions which exonerate
them from risk. Often, they will ask a manager how to do something or what
to do when the manager is on his way to a meeting. The manager will simply
give the answer so he can move on to his meeting. In essence, this
interaction develops a dependency on behalf of the employee.

Question back prompts the employee to own the situation. This technique
has the leader asking the employee “What do you think you should do?“ or “If
I were not here right now what would you do?”

3rd Party Observation
This technique helps people realize their fear or apprehension by ultimately
admitting they have a fear or apprehension. The technique lowers their
defense by using a 3rd party of observation. For example, if an employee is
hesitating to complete something, “If the president were here right now what
would his/her impression of you be?” The employee immediately thinks about
that 3rd party versus ways to get out of answering the question.

This technique is similar to 3rd party question, but we replace the 3rd party
element with the word “hypothetically.” For example, if an employee were
demonstrating a lack of skills in an area the manager could state
“Hypothetically, if I were to tell you you needed to improve your skills, how
would you react?” The trick is to use the word “hypothetically” because it
makes an employee feel more secure. He does not believe the question is
directed at them.

Silence is Your Friend

Coaching can be just as uncomfortable for managers as it is for employees.
When a tough issue is being discussed, it is imperative to hide awkward
feelings because when we get uncomfortable, we make it easy for the
employees. Silence is one of the most powerful techniques if used properly.
When asking employees questions that are tough or to the point, let silence
be your friend. Trust me; it is more uncomfortable for them than for you.

Absurd Exaggeration
This technique is exactly what it sounds like. You exaggerate the point to an
absurd level to ensure your point is made. For example, if an employee is
being negative and efforts have been exhausted, this technique can really be
productive. An example might be, “Tim, you are so inspiring; have you
thought about writing a motivational book. People must be so proud to be
around you.” Now, this is aggressive, but at times, employees need to see
who they are or how they are perceived.

Rating Questions
A great technique for knowledge, skill and behavioral based coaching
challenges. It requires employees to honestly answer rating questions.

Knowledge Based Example: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being outstanding and
1 being terrible) how would you rate your ability to teach customers our new
If they answer above 5 ask, “What do you feel you need to work on to
move toward a 9 or 10?”

Skill Based Example: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being outstanding and 1

being terrible) how you would rate your ability to close customers from a skill
If they answer below 5 simply ask, “Why?”
If they answer above 5 ask, “What do you feel you need to work on to
move toward a 9 or 10?”

Behavioral Based Example: “On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being no fear and 1

being fearful) how you would rate your fear to close customers from a skill
If they answer above 5 ask, “What do you feel you need to work on to
move toward a 9 or 10?”

Note: If an employee really thinks he is at a level 9 or 10 and you know he is

not, here are some questions to ask to further attempt to have him see reality:
“On what do you base that?”
“Based on your response would it be safe to assume 100% success will
be achieved?” (This really makes them validate their responses.)

Demo Me
A great technique to develop a type of skill is to have the employee
demonstrate it. All too often, we get our employees in a room for a meeting
and tell or show what they need to do in regards to a skill. The problem is we
do not validate if they have the skill. The ability to demonstrate this helps
accelerate skill development.

Teach the Teacher

Similar to Demo Me, this technique is geared more for knowledge. Many
organizations conduct product training in workshop settings teaching the
features and benefits all the while assuming employees have a firm grasp on
the knowledge. There are two ways to test knowledge you can either test for
it or have the ability to teach it back.

Note: this technique can be used within a coaching session or as a learning
project between coaching sessions. The following are two examples of using
the technique inside and outside of a coaching session:
● During a coaching session a manager may ask the employee to teach
the product features pretending he/she was a new employee.
● After a coaching session, a manager may ask an employee to come
back the following week prepared to demonstrate the top 10 features
of a software package as if the manager was a novice user.
These examples are very simple but they put the ownership on the
employee’s shoulders.

Risk Questions
Risk questions provide an employee with the perspective associated with
the decision they have made. The objective of risk questions is to create
awareness associated with an employee's action or decision making. For
example, if an employee is upset with another employee and tells his/her
manager that they are going to confront the other employee. A manager
may ask, “What risks do you assume by doing that in the eyes of the
other people within the department?”. The goal of a risk question is to not
only to build awareness. You want to alter the employees thought process
to think more clearly.

Reflection Questions
Reflection questions are designed to challenge the employee to think
about what he has learned and if he applies it successfully. Today's
employee is often working at a fast and hectic pace; therefore, it is
important to have employees take a step back.

Let's say an employee reads an inspirational article about helping co-

workers. If this employee still represents himself as a negative or
adversarial teammate, a great reflection question might be, “What did you
learn about yourself that you would like to change as a result of reading
that article?”

Reflection questions stop people long enough to think about their

performance in the workplace and the path they need to take to

Rule of Engagement Questions
A rule of engagement question is really designed to get an employee to
sit back and think. The objective is to create a rule of engagement that
prohibits immediate reaction. For example, a manager may say to an
employee, “I am going to share a perspective with you, and before I do
that, I would like to establish some rules of engagement. After I share a
perspective, I would like you to wait 5 minutes before responding. At that
point, I am going to leave the room and go get us both a cup of coffee.”
This technique controls the situation instead of letting the employee get
emotional. The question challenges the employee to ponder and truly
think about the situation.

For all of these coaching techniques, make sure that you are using real world
situations that employees will be able to relate to and understand. The greatest
strength of coaching is that it allows managers and employees to actively learn
real world skills, and in end, the skills help real world performance.

Managing the Coaching Process

It is essential to manage the coaching process or it will fall apart quickly. The five
coaching techniques especially need to be monitored by managers. The keys are
to schedule the coaching, keep the schedule, and evaluate how the coaching

One-on-One – There are three essential steps to managing one-on-one

coaching relationships. First, the session should be no more than 20 to 30
minutes in length. Second, each session should have a discussion and an
activity that facilitates knowledge, skill or behavioral improvement. Last, it is
essential to provide the employee with a learning project to be due at the start of
the next coaching session. This breeds consistent and continuous learning as
well as employee accountability to the coaching process.

Peer-to-Peer Coaching - Many managers love to use peer-to-peer coaching

because it saves them time as well as leverages their other resources. When
orchestrating the peer-to-peer coaching program a manager should not only
schedule it, but ask for activities to be completed and communicated back in the
form of an e-mail or project to be turned in.

Group Coaching - Group coaching helps build performance that is required by
the whole team. Group coaching requires a brief introduction, an activity to be
completed, and a learning project that team members are to bring to the next
group coaching session.

Self-Directed Coaching- managers must not leave self-directed coaching to

chance. Much like the other coaching approaches it is required that self-directed
coaching be scheduled along with activities to be completed by specific dates
and milestones.

While these four coaching sessions are occurring, there are a couple steps
coaches should take to ensure success. Each step, while simple in observation,
feeds on the others to create absolute performance development:

1 Learning Project – after each session a learning project is prescribed to

be due at the next coaching session. At the start of each coaching
session, the manager should immediately review the learning project. The
learning project and its completion or lack of completion will teach the
manager a lot about his employee(s). It will reveal those who are truly
interested in getting better at performance and those who are not as
committed. Most importantly, the learning project provides visibility into an
employee’s real world. A learning project should always leverage an
employee’s real world activities.
2 Discussion – the learning project will facilitate an element of discussion
as an employee or group of employees share. It is vital the manager is
prepared to ask questions to build awareness and facilitate continuous
sharing regardless of the size of the group.
3 Activity – an activity should be facilitated based upon the tiers of
learning. For example if it’s knowledge based, have the employee or
employees teach one another. If it is skill-based have the employee or
employees practice or simulate the experience.
4 Second Learning Project – At the end of the coaching session, a
learning project should be prescribed again due at the next scheduled
coaching session. For example, “Next week everyone come prepared to
share a successful interaction you had with a customer. Prepare to share
who the customer was, what the issue was and what you did to
successfully overcome the issue”.

How to Reinforce Specific Training with Coaching
The following are some brief examples as to how coaching can help reinforce
training and employee performance.

Handling Price Objections

Handling price objections is a major challenge for any sales team today. Price
objections conjure up leveraging the tiers of learning. First of all, do the sales
people have the knowledge as to how to handle the price objection and what
specifically to say? If they have the knowledge, have they practiced or simulated
their common price objection interactions to facilitate skill development? And last,
behaviorally, do they a have the ability to handle the price objections with
consistency and absolute confidence?

A typical approach could be to start off with a half-day or full-day workshop on

how to handle price objections. This workshop would teach the specific
knowledge and language as to what to do as well as what to say when a price
objection occurs. During the workshop, specific role-playing will be conducted to
simulate real-world practice. After the workshop is completed, managers of the
employees are provided a coaching guide as to how to use group coaching to
continue the pursuit of better price objection handling. For example, each week
all salespeople will be required to present a price objection that they currently are
dealing with to the group. The group will then be broken up into smaller groups of
two to three people to work on a specific price objection challenge. Each small
group will then present their ideas and strategies as to how that salesperson can
gain success within that specific account.

This leverages a combination of both group and peer-to-peer coaching. In

addition, the manager could purchase a book or find an article on handling price
objections and ask his/her sales team to read the material. Upon completion of
the reading the employees should e-mail the manager about what they learned
as a result of reading the material. This supplements the group and peer-to-peer
coaching with self-directed coaching.

Handling Angry Customers

Handling angry customers is not an easy task at all. Many people are not aware
of specific steps as well as proper language to be used when dealing with angry
customers. This essentially depicts a lack of knowledge. If people lack

knowledge they will lack the skills that are needed to redirect customers. A
training and coaching approach would look like the following:

First, the staff could attend an online course on the steps to handling angry
customers. After the course is completed, each participant will be required to e-
mail his manager two things he learned that he will use successfully when going
back to his job. This leverages self-directed coaching after traditional training.
Upon completing the online course, participants will be paired up to meet over
the course of six weeks to discuss specific angry customer encounters and what
they did to successfully deal with the situation. Each participant is required to
listen to the partner and e-mail the manager his thoughts on how his partner did
with handling angry customers, thus facilitating peer-to-peer coaching and total

Better Cross-Departmental Communication

One of the toughest challenges in organizations today is the requirement to
break down walls between departments. Often, departments will label other
departments as either being easy to work with or arduous. Try this approach to
building cross departmental communication. First, a team session is orchestrated
with members from across departments required to attend. Each participant will
be paired with another person from another department at the first session.
During this session the participants will interview one another and then present
their partner to the rest of the group. In essence, the sole objective of the first
session is to gain a foundational set of communication between members. It is
not designed to solve the problems between departments, rather to facilitate a
dialogue. A week later the second session will commence. At this session,
participants will share their thoughts on the other departments with the rule of
engagement integrated into the activity. When members share their perception of
other departments, the people listening can only say thank you, thus facilitating
the ability to truly listen and not emotionally react. The facilitator then asks
participants how they felt when they heard those opinions. Of course, most
people will say they felt angry and frustrated, but in a normal situation, they
would never learn how other people saw them. This gives them a chance to

There are many steps to this type of process, but those are the first two steps
that we take when we deliver progress team development. The first two sessions
lay the foundation for departments to begin dealing with one another's challenges
for the betterment of the organization and its customers.
New Product Training
A new product is being delivered at a company, and this product is going to be
vital to the future of the company. All departments are required to understand the
product to its fullest. The directions can be delivered to ensure all departments
not only know the product but can deliver the product information flawlessly to
potential customers. Initial base training can consist of four webinars illustrating
the products features, benefits and technical specifications. After each webinar,
all participants are required to e-mail their manager two things they have learned
from the presentation. After the four webinars are completed, managers of their
specific departments will pair people up and assign them an element of the
product to teach to the rest of the group. This combines traditional training, self-
directed coaching, and peer-to-peer coaching to facilitate better knowledge
transfer. This process could then be repeated to address the skill development
requirement in the same fashion.

Sample Coaching Plans
Sample of Individual Coaching Plan
Specific Area of Development: Asking questions and closing
Frequency Coaching Session Suggested Activity Learning Project
Week One -Ask Cheri why she struggles -Keep using “question back” -Read one article from
with asking good questions during coaching session internet about asking good
and closing. Additional getting Cheri to admit questions and closing
questions: 1) What questions challenges and hopefully -List one customer where she
do you typically ask? 2) How coming to realize that she asked good questions
do you approach the closing? needs coaching. -Define one closing situation
she encountered where she
-The key is to listen if she has -The key is to keep felt she stumbled
well thought out questions questioning to learn why she
and if the questions are is challenged by closing
helping to guide the closing
Week Two -Take learning projects and -Role-Play the specific closing -Read one article from
discuss what she learned. that she struggled with. internet about asking good
Ask “How was your questions and closing
questioning and why?” -List one customer where she
handled the closing really well
-Also, it is critical to further -Define one customer where
define that questioning is she could have asked more
being able to learn enough questions to help guide the
about the customer’s needs sale
Week Three Take learning projects and Role-Play the situation where Read one article from internet
discuss what she learned. she didn’t ask enough about asking good questions
Ask “how was your closing questions. and closing
and why?” “Did better Define one customer where
questioning help?” -Start intertwining good she took GREAT notes and
questioning into the role-plays wrote out her questions
asking what was specifically Define one closing by client
said. name where she stumbled

- It is during this week where

the role-plays start to transfer
to the real world
Week Four Take learning projects and -Role-Play the specific closing -Listen to the 3 Question
discuss what she learned. she received out loud acting Selling course in the web
Ask “How was your closing as customer university
and why?” -Define one customer where
“Did better questioning help?” she asked great questions
and used the 3 question
selling approach
-Define one closing by client
name where she handled it
Week Five Practice
Week Six Practice

Sample Group Coaching Program
Specific Area of Development: Prospecting and Developing proper techniques and
mentality for cold calling
Frequency Coaching Session Suggested Activity Learning Project
Week One Explain that you are Break into groups to define Come in with one new idea
concerned that whole team is the best questions we could that you think we could use to
not reading to prospect. ask to generate interest in a generate new business
Key questions to ask: new prospect
“How will we generate new
business next year?”
“What methods do you think
we should use?”
“What do you think we should
do to get back in the swing of
Week Two Present Cold Calling Format: Present cold call format and Come in with well written
1) Opening ask group of two to develop scripts for interaction.
2) Permission the questions and statements
3) 1st “What” question to for each stage of the Each person will present to
engage (13 second rule— interaction and present to the the group what they are
prospect must be engaged rest of the group planning on saying and using
within 13 seconds before they for questions
start thinking of creative ways
to get rid of person making
the call)
4) 2nd “What” question
5) Restate what you have
6) What if We…own the next
Week Three Review learning project but Review scripts from each Come in with two paragraph
also discuss use of LinkedIn, person explanation of your strategy
Google reader, and Google for using LinkedIn, Google
alerts. Pair up people in groups of reader, and/or Google alerts
Ask: two and start practicing
“How will each of you use
those tools to find prospects,
and how will you use the info
to generate a thought
provoking 1st introductory
The more we know the
warmer the cold call gets
Week Four Review how LinkedIn and Discuss use of tools Come in with two opening
Google can set the tone for a questions you could use as a
warmer call versus a cold call: Role-play using their script result of finding specific
“What information should we models information from LinkedIn
look for and how can we use and/or Google
it” – group discussion
Week Five Role-Play
Week Six Role-Play

Sample of a Self-Directed Learning Assignment SDL with a Book
Specific Area of Development: Time Management (as a skill) and Time Management (as
Frequency SDL Suggested Activity Group Learning Project
Week One Read chapters one Email your manager two Meet with your assigned
and two things you took away from group and go around the
each chapter room and share one thing you
took away positively from
each chapter
Week Two Read chapters three Email your manager two Meet with your assigned
and four things you took away from group and go around the
each chapter room and share one thing you
took away positively from
each chapter
Week Three Read chapters five and Prepare a presentation of Meet with your assigned
six two major things you have group and go around the
successfully applied to your room and share one thing you
job as a result of reading took away positively from
this book to this point each chapter
Week Four Read chapters seven Email your manager two Meet with your assigned
and eight things you took away from group and go around the
each chapter room and share one thing you
took away positively from
each chapter
Week Five Read chapters one Meet with your manager and Meet with your assigned
and ten and two be prepared to share two group and go around the
major things you learned room and share one thing you
from the 2nd half of the took away positively from
book that you have each chapter
successfully implemented

Chapter 4: Asking Questions

We have stressed the importance of asking questions. They provide managers
with perspective, and they help managers develop a deeper understanding of an
employee's strengths and weaknesses. They help to reveal people's fears,
strengths and hesitancies. The best thing about asking questions is that it
conditions both parties. Managers become more comfortable coaching, and
employees learn more about themselves.

The types of questions we ask should center around the three tiers. This strategy
will build upon the foundation created by classifying an employee's functional
requirements and tier needs.

Types of Questions
Tiered Questions
1 Knowledge – “On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being you could teach the topic as
a master or 1 you have no idea, how you would rate your understanding
of …?”
2 Skill - “On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being you could perform the topic as a
master or 1 you have no idea, how you would rate your ability to …?”
3 Behavioral - “On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being you could teach the topic as a
master or 1 you have no idea, how you would rate your confidence level

Basic Question Formats

1 Rating Questions – Rating questions give the learner a scale to rate
themselves. Follow up with a question that asks what they are willing to
do to move to a higher number.
○ Example: “On a scale of 1 to 7, 7 being you could perform that
skill at a flawless level and 1 you have no capacity whatsoever to
perform it well, where would rate yourself?” Typically, they will
give themselves an average rating, and a great response is,
“Great, thanks what do you think we need to do to move in the
direction of 7, and how could we do it together?”
2 Hypothetical – These questions do not put the employee on the
defensive. Since the questions do not seem as though they are really
being directed at the employee, they are more likely to open up to a
○ Example: “John, hypothetically if someone were to tell you that
you appeared unprepared, how would you react to them?”

3 3rd party – 3rd party question do somewhat of the same thing as the
hypothetical question, but the 3rd party element serves as a distraction.
○ Example: “John, if the fairy godmother came out of the sky in a
bright pink dress and told you that you seemed not well prepared,
how you would react to her?”
4 Self-Actualized – This is by far the BEST question format a manager
could use in their coaching. This helps frame the employee’s response to
be forward and successful thinking by the nature.
○ Example: “John, what will you do to successfully prepare for your
next presentation, and how can I help you?”
5 Question Back – Use these questions in situations when an employee
just wants the manager to give them all the answers instead of having to
learn it themselves.
○ Example: “John, if I wasn’t here right now, what would you do with
the customer on the phone?”
6 Reflective – These questions do not require a quick answer. You want
the employee to think about the question, and tell you they learned or
what they would have done differently.
○ Example: “John, I watched your interaction with Shelly this
morning. What do you think you could have done differently to
approach the shipping dispute differently with her?”

Vertical Questions

1 Attitude
○ “If someone were to describe your attitude as being negative or
positive what would they say and why?”
2 Motivation
○ “When you get up in the morning what motivates you and why?”
3 Change
○ “How would you describe your level of acceptance when it comes
to change?”
4 Presentation
○ “What is your major presentation strength, and where do you feel
you could improve?”
5 Teammate
○ “On a scale of 1 to 5, five being you are a great teammate and
one being your teammates would not want to be paired with you,
where would you rate yourself and why?”

○ “What do you feel you need to do to move in a direction that
would help your teammates view you even more favorably?”
6 General Employee Willingness
○ “How willing are you to attack this challenge, and what is the one
thing you need to do right away?”
7 Loyalty
○ “How would you describe your loyalty to the organization?”
8 Sales
■ “What are two improvements you could make that would
help accelerate your sales success?”
○ Price Objections
■ “What is the first thing you do when you get a price
objection?” (Simple, but it shows how truly prepared
someone is.)
○ Skill-Based
■ “What skills do you feel like you need to improve, and what
do we need to do in order to facilitate the improvement?”

○ Relationship Building
■ “What are two things you do to successfully build and
deepen relationships with your customer or teammates?”

Customer Service

1. Angry Customer
○ “What is the major challenge you have when dealing with angry
customers, and what do you feel would help better handle them?”
2. Up-selling
○ “What will you do to successfully up-sell your customer?”
3. Cross-Selling
○ “What hesitation might you have when it comes to cross-selling,
and what do you feel we need to do to facilitate a better comfort
4. Wowing the customer
○ “What will you do to WOW the customer?”

If managers ask the right questions, for the right tier then they have the
opportunity to gain some great insight. It is important that a manager work hard
to fight the initial reaction to tell an employee what they would do in a particular
situation. Questions are asked so that both parties can learn, and when they are
conducted properly, development will come quickly.

Chapter 5: Does Coaching Really Work?

The following are a series of case studies that were conducted over a period of
time with numerous clients. While I have dedicated my life to teaching the
differences between managing and coaching I have found that many of the
coaching principles not only work within the workplace but also with my family
and friends.

An Active Listening Nightmare

At one client location, there was a sales rep whom everyone believed was
fantastic. She knew the products, the industry and the overall selling techniques.
Management would often praise her depth of industry knowledge; ultimately,
everyone assumed that there was nothing more she could learn. In reality, she
was considerably challenged by active listening and because of this she was just
an average seller. Management was able to overlook this because she was a
model employee. She came in early, stayed late and made as many calls as
possible to hit her goal. She was pleasant and devoted to the company, which
also made her a coach's dream. I sat in her office one day to listen while she
worked the phones. She could not wait to get on the phone and talk and talk and
talk. Upon monitoring her calls, I realized she barely waited to hear the
customer’s response and never listened to feedback.

Most managers would bring her into the office and demand a change by saying,
“Look, you have to slow down and really listen to your customers. It’s vital you
understand their needs so we can effectively sell our products to them." Some of
you are probably even wondering where the problem lies with that statement.
Well, we knew that she had a listening problem, but in order to get to the root of
the problem and change it for good, we had to figure out with which tier to start.
In this case, she had both a skill and behavioral problem, and we had to break
the habit that had been forming for years.

Our approach was simple. We brought her into a meeting and told her how much
we valued her work, and we expressed our interest in working together to help
her progress. She was excited and eager to do whatever was needed; so, we
offered her a three step approach that had to be done on a daily basis.

1. She had to turn in a sheet telling her manager two new things she learned
about three customers in the morning and three in the afternoon. Of course, the
only way she could achieve this was to ask questions and be quiet long enough
to listen.

2. She attended Friday staff meetings and would only take meeting notes. She
could not participate unless she was called on. This removed any idea of talking
solely for the sake of talking.

3. She would meet with us weekly for only 20 minutes. We asked what she was
learning by doing this and most importantly what was she learning about herself
that could benefit her selling process. Her response was more than we could ask
for, “Gosh, I really do talk a lot. I really have to fight the urge to talk”.

Result: Within six months, her sales rose 105%, and she was making 30% fewer
calls to achieve this result. We NEVER told her she was a terrible active listener.
Rather, we helped facilitate listening experiences and asked her important
questions along the way. First, we asked what she was learning about herself.
Second, we asked what she realized she needed to continue to do in order to
achieve the success she was getting. On both accounts, she mentioned that she
needed to actively listen and fight the urge to talk. Instead of immediately putting
her in a defensive situation, we asked her involvement and helped along the way.

The Need to Breakthrough
Asking an employee to break through his fears and to break down the barriers is
one of the toughest parts of coaching. At one client site, we had to work with a
manager to prepare him to coach others. His greatest fear? The fear of
confrontation, and that, in turn, is a huge problem if you are going to manage
other people. To make matters worse, one employee on his team had originally
been the manager of the department. Talk about fear! Of course, the former
higher up made the current manager's work a hassle, but he could never make a
move to confront the employee to address the lack of professionalism.

For one of our coaching sessions, I asked the manager to try confronting the
employee about a work issue, and I received an angry phone call later that night.
The manager called ready to fire me! He went on to explain he did exactly what I
had suggested, but the employee stormed out of his office. I considered this a
success and told him so, and as you can imagine, he was extremely perplexed. I
explained to him that by storming out the former manager was showing her lack
of respect. It may not have showed overt success, but it offered the manager
another great opportunity to get control back and change behaviors. I instructed
him to wait by the employee's desk in the morning and make it clear the
discussion was not over. Needless to say, I waited anxiously the next day to hear
what happened.

My client stood by his employee’s desk until she arrived, and according to him,
the employee looked shocked. He explained, “We need to finish last night’s
conversation right now,” and ushered her back to his office.

Result: From that point forward, the manager's confidence rose, and he was
better equipped to handle other employees and ensure smooth sailing for the
team. The employees saw he was in control, and that he was willing to make
sure that the necessary work was being performed. Furthermore, the former
manager began to turn her behavior around for the better, and amazingly, the
relationship between current and former manager grew and stayed strong for

The Apprehensive Manager
A client of ours had over one hundred sales people, but it was a culture that hired
people and left them to fend for themselves. Instead of embracing the coaching
culture, they claimed they had no time to develop their staff. Can you imagine the
kind of turnover rate that company experienced? They learned monthly that
people do not magically produce results if they have no opportunities to improve.
At this point Sales Progress was brought in to help.

To show that coaching helped, we chose to work with one manager who was
new to the company. As opposed to their older counterparts, this manager was
open to the idea of coaching. He worked with two employees using the 30-
second coaching program throughout the day. Keep in mind that is one minute
with each worker. Each session specifically focused on areas in which the
employee could use improvement, and he always made sure to use positive
words when engaging with both. In a short period of time, both reps saw a double
digit increase in their sales. The manager continued to use the coaching methods
on other employees, and his team hit their numbers every year.

Result: Positive reinforcement and daily coaching led two employees to produce
10% and 17 % more sales over a short period of time. The manager leveraged
their strengths and worked on their weakness, and after a while, he was able to
convince the company to invest in the coaching framework.

The Tough Demographic
A publicly traded company had secured our services to coach their call center
personnel, and this is where I had the privilege of meeting one of my all-time
favorite clients. Janet was an employee who was in her 50’s and completely
adverse to change. Since she was older than I was at the time, she constantly
looked at me as some young kid trying to make money by making her change
her ways. Our first meeting was one for the record books.

Janet walked in, sat down, folded her arms and just stared at me. She seemed
so angry; so, I asked her, “Tell me what your impression is of this project?” She
glared at me. “I have no idea why we are doing this. I have been here 17 years,
and I do not need any training. I do not like it, and I am not sure I even like you."
No one said the truth didn't hurt sometimes! I had a choice to make right then. I
could either get defensive or find a way to break the ice. I chose the latter. I
pushed on, “Janet, I really feel as though we are going to become best friends
just based upon this short interaction. Maybe we could socialize sometime soon.”
It was then I saw the smile break through as she tried to stifle her laughter. The
defenses were down, and her front was out of fear and nothing personal towards
me. I explained to her that coaching was not a painful process, and it could even
be fun.

As I continued coaching with the sales team, I took a special interest in Janet. I
knew that I had to acknowledge her strengths if I was going to be able to open
her mind to making changes. Negative language and bringing up weaknesses
was off the table. Instead, I brought up suggestions by saying, "One area I would
share with you…" or "One observation I would like you to consider…" Most
shockingly, Janet began to ask for feedback.

Result: By working to improve her behavior over 15 months, Janet saw herself
progress. She was promoted and nearly doubled her salary. Janet showed that if
you challenge someone and reward them for making an effort then you are
bound to see success.

The Down Economy
One manufacturing client sold to dealers and was in the midst of an industry
down turn. The industry was down about 12% but we knew we needed to coach
the staff to overcome this. The team was nervous as rumors ran rampant within
the company about possible layoffs; so, we had to take an innovative approach
to challenging employees to overcome their fears to hit the team’s sale goal.

We put together a coaching plan that utilized all the coaching techniques. The
approach we took used all of the coaching methods. First, each employee had to
start off every day by reading some form of motivation or inspiration literature.
Next, employees would get together daily for 15 minutes in the morning and in
the afternoon. The objective was to have each group discuss what objections
they were experiencing and what response they were using successfully. Finally,
the team met two times a week to discuss how they were creating success and
what challenges were still being experienced.

The focus of each activity was to pinpoint where success was being made; then,
employees could use those proven techniques in the areas in which they were
struggling. Furthermore, many of the assignments that were given to them during
coaching sessions could only be completed by applying productive behavior. If
you are constantly practicing successful tactics, then, in turn, you begin to see

Result: The team saw their sales increase by 22% the first quarter, 31% the next
quarter and 74% by the third quarter. We never held a workshop or any other
type of traditional training. Instead, we used peer-to-peer coaching to accelerate
practice sessions among the staff. The efforts built confidence and dialogue to
solve selling challenges on a daily basis. The staff had little or no management
input during the sessions.

A Rough and Tough Crowd
One major manufacturing client had a team of people who provided technical
support for their customers. The staff was extremely introverted, and they
frequently opted to engage in conversation with customers via e-mail as opposed
to phone calls. The customers they were serving found this to be extremely
frustrating, and they were angry at the lack of customer service interaction.

We took a three-fold approach to solving this problem. We began by training the

managers to properly coach their employees and aid them in the steps to
success. Next, we required each employee to complete a self-directed learning
matrix. The biggest task was to read a book about change, and they had to
explain to me whether or not they thought that book was relevant to them. This
was a breakthrough for many employees because they were open-minded to the
idea of change. Finally, we held weekly group coaching sessions. During each
session, employees had to present one successful customer service interaction
they created. No one wanted to show up empty handed; so, this challenge really
made them focus on improving their engagement with their customers.
Whenever someone presented a success story, we made sure to reward their
effort because desired results don’t happen without it.

Results: Within 15 months of the program, the team was so engaged with their
customers that some had requested that staff attend annual service meetings.
Sales doubled over three years because customers were happy with the

Melinda Curtis
One of my favorite stories is the employee I coached who was in the midst of
transitioning from a customer service position to an inside sales rep job.
Melinda's major challenge was getting comfortable placing calls instead of being
on the receiving end. As you can imagine, this was extremely stressful for her
since she had never done this work before.

The organization employing Melinda at the time had weekly staff meetings, and
we decided this was the place to begin her outbound call training. The first
session in which she participated revolved around role-playing, and the nerves
starting to show. I asked her how she was feeling, and she said she just wanted
to get it over with.

During her first role-play, she asked if she could face the wall instead of her
partner since she would never be seeing the person on the other line. She
stumbled through her first “call,” and when she turned around, tears were welling
up. She asked me how she did. Now, this is a defining moment for most coaches
because what you say severely affects an employee’s future performance. I
responded, “That was not the up to the level we ultimately seek, but the most
important thing was that you were willing to go first and tackle the challenge.
What did you learn about yourself during the experience that pleasantly surprised

Those questions were designed to show Melinda as well as her co-workers that
effort is the most important aspect in the beginning stages of coaching. As the
weeks progressed, Melinda became more and more comfortable, and we were
able to see a glimpse of her potential. I went to her manager after one session
and told her manager that she could potentially be his best sales person.
However, he had to encourage her and be patient because her knowledge and
skill sets were not yet fully developed. If he could do that then he would have a
highly engaged sales professional.

Result: They were staggering! In nine months, Melinda had quadrupled the
territory from when she first began. We often place people in jobs based on
experience, and we undervalue training potentially high-performing people who
have little experience. Melinda's first role-playing session was a defining moment
in her development.

The Gen Y Challenge
Questions are extremely important to the coaching game. I met with one
manager at a major financial services firm to discuss an employee he was
potentially planning on firing. He explained to me that the employee’s was 30%
points below his quota, and there were barely any signs of improvement. I asked
why he thought this was happening, and the manager said he did not think the
person was wired for sales. I asked what he meant by that and received an
ambiguous answer. Instead of firing the employee and going through the hiring
process, I challenged the manager to at least find out why the employee wasn’t
meeting his numbers.

We set a goal of a 10% sales increase and went to work coaching the young
employee. We began by asking questions. He told us he felt that his lack of sales
were due to the company’s poor management, marketing and compensation
plan. I asked if he had any areas he thought he needed to improve. Impressively,
he once again shifted his blame to the company. While some blame can lay with
the company, coaching would never work until he realized that there were skills
and behaviors he needed to change to be successful. Finally after five weeks of
training, he started being honest with himself. He expressed interest in working
on his prospecting skills as well as his own questioning abilities. From that point,
his manager and I knew how to coach and what techniques to start with –
because of his honest answers to our questions.

Result: In 11 months, the employee’s sales increased from fulfilling 71% of his
quota to over 115%. The key takeaway from this case study is understanding.
Don’t give up on someone until you find out why their performance is so low.

My Son
The last story I love to share with you is about my son Liam. He is a pretty good
basketball player, but he’s neither overly big nor athletic. During the basketball
season in which his team won 29 of its last 30 games, my son found his rhythm
and began to score points, and he proceeded to become one of the team’s main
players. After each game, I would compliment his efforts and ask him how he felt
he was performing as a teammate. As any typical 12 or 13-year-old kid would do,
he took the questions in stride and really did not realize the message I was

One night, his best friend was playing during the game, and he took a charge
from the biggest kid on the opponent’s team. It was at this point that my talks
clicked with my son. He immediately stood up on the bench and cheered loudly
in support of his friend’s bold move. After we got home, my wife and I took our
son aside to discuss the game. This was much like when managers ask
employees to come into their office to discuss performance.

We asked Liam for his thoughts on the game, and he gave us your typical
answers. Finally, we asked him what our proudest take away was from the game.
He turned to me and said, “When I cheered for Jack after he took the charge?” I
smiled and said he was right, and then asked if he learned anything from that
moment. With deep insight, he responded, “It’s really about your teammates and
the team as a whole, and it’s not about yourself.”
What if all employees of organizations took on this attitude and perspective?

Real World Case Studies That Depict the Evolution of the
Coaching Stages

Pierce Manufacturing
Oftentimes, large corporations care about their customers, but they do not know
the proper way to show it. In the case of Pierce Manufacturing, their
communication methods really prevented their customers from recognizing how
much they valued them. I was chairing a national service meeting, and a couple
of Pierce's dealers happened to be there. I did not realize how poorly they viewed
my client until I was blindsided by a customer's statement, "If you were doing
your job right, you would have employees in these sessions." This comment
immediately inspired a heated debate, and I sat there thinking about what the
customer had said. Of course, he was right.

I took this advice back to Pierce and proposed it to the service team manager.
He was skeptical at first, but eventually, he realized that it was important to get
his team in front of the people with whom they were working daily. The next year,
we brought the team to the national service meeting. Some felt as though they
had to walk on eggshells, but overall, people were excited. We knew that we
couldn't force a great relationship with our partners, but the fact that we showed
up showed them something. The employees and dealers got together; we began
the meeting in a corny way; we had them introduce themselves to one another
and share one interesting about themselves. People started laughing and sharing
stories and these ice breakers really did their job. Getting people together took
some effort, but once they sat down and engaged, they realized they had similar
interests. The complaints from both sides practically ceased. This exercise built
the foundation for better relationships, and both sides became more confident
when talking about what they needed from each other.

We proceeded with this format for the next three years, and each year we saw
the relationships strengthen. Engagement is a powerful tool when used correctly
and in the right setting. It doesn't hurt that it makes coaching that much easier!

Milwaukee Brewers
The Milwaukee Brewers are one of my favorite clients; and it’s not because I love
baseball and they happen to be a professional sports team. The people there
make coaching so enjoyable. They are open-minded to learning and put in the
time it takes to get better. The first year we worked with them it was basic sales
training. As our firm progressed, we explained to Jim Bathey, the VP of Sales
and Marketing, that it would benefit them if they started to train coaches
internally. He not only agreed, but he participated every year we worked with
them. Each year we added a component where a staff member had to lead a
session or coach fellow staff members.

Today, the department has a number of people who coach employees. Their
employee retention is high and so are their sales performance levels. This sales
team just gets it. Billy Friess, the Director of Season Ticket Sales, incorporates
multiple coaching methods to help his team progress. Annually, we run a day and
a half event to kick off the selling season, and I have to tell you it is one of the
best experiences as a coach. I don’t lecture; rather, the team is assigned
coaching and presentation duties to work on with their teammates. In essence,
they train and coach one another. That right there is the perfect example of a
team wanting to succeed.

InPro Corporation, a Wisconsin manufacturer and distributor of construction and
architectural products, was one organization that was able to transition from a
managing to a coaching culture. In order to accomplish this feat, they used our
system called Progress Coaching.

History of InPro and Beginning to Coach

InPro has always been a company that has experienced growth. They have
historically seen a double-digit increase, and it can mostly be attributed to the
fact that the company is very driven by the bottom line. Their management has
tended to have a results-oriented style. During the selling interaction deciding
whether to pursue a coaching program, President Phil Ziegler, the President
asked, “Why do we need to coach when we’ve experienced double digit growth
over the last five years?” It was a question that many successful companies ask.
The response during this interaction created a defining moment, “Would you go
to battle with your current team from a performance perspective, and how would
you go about quantifying it?” The point was: results are not always indicative of
how people are performing. Phil sat back and pondered the question. He
hesitated and then stated, “That’s a great question. I am not sure.”

Coaching at InPro
Coaching was introduced, and an initial group of managers went through the
training. When confronted, a majority of regional sales directors at InPro could
not explain why their employees were successful or unsuccessful. They merely
saw the numbers the sales reps had hit each month. So, the regional sales
directors began training in a methodology called Progress Coaching™. The initial
challenge was explaining the difference between management and coaching.
When it comes to the two different methods, most people do not think that there
is much of a difference, but that is not the case. Management deals with
maintaining the current status quo. Coaching, on the other hand, focuses the
attention on enhancing employee and team performance. It is designed to inspire
work, improve knowledge, increase skill levels, and alter behaviors for greater
performance. It becomes challenging because every employee is different;
therefore, group training can never make the impact a manager can with his/her
employee. Thus the value for coaching!

This movement into the coaching world represented an entire workplace

transformation, and it led to the further development of employee skill sets. Skill
sets are an important area to improve upon when it comes to coaching.
Employees get into sales because, in one area or another, they have what it
takes to be successful. That salesperson has the ability to perform a specific
task, such as cold calling or actively listening, better than anyone else. However
while employees may excel in some areas, there are going to be places that
could use some help. In order to be a well-rounded salesperson, constant
improvement and learning is crucial. To develop certain skills, coaching sessions
should be designed around practice. During training sessions, employees should
be actively engaged, and they should be participating and role-playing. This way,
they will be prepared when a situation that they may be uncomfortable with
occurs during a real world situation. Practice in the workplace does not need to
be painful or even uncomfortable. Facilitating practice or role-playing sessions is
critical for people to develop positive and consistent selling habits. It is much like
public speaking. It can be terrifying, but it is easier to overcome with practice.
The lesson is: good habits and confidence only come when salespeople and
managers are willing to put in the time and effort. It was a good thing for us that
the people at InPro were willing to do just that!

The Transition from Management to Coaching

In the beginning, the regional sales directors at InPro were skeptical. They were
already very busy and successful; therefore, to add one more element to their
already busy schedule seemed counterproductive. They did not think that they
had the time to spend coaching their employees. If an employee wanted to work
on his skills then he could do that on his own. Time was not the only issue. The
directors did not fully understand the point of coaching. As far as they could tell,
their sales teams were fine. They were making their numbers, and in theory, they
did not need to change because they were seeing results. However, they failed
to see that by leveraging strengths and focusing on weaknesses and working
towards making those weaknesses strengths, their sales teams would not just
simply be getting by; instead, they would be far exceeding expectations.

The transition began to cement itself when management started properly

coaching their employees. For example, one manager was amazed he could
create dramatic results using positive reinforcement just when reps made an
initial effort to get better (30 second coaching). Another manager found out how
little his employees knew by simply using specific coaching questions such as,
“How would you rate your comfort level handling price objections with 5 being
total confidence and 1 being I hate it”. He realized many staff members needed
help simply asking coaching questions taught in the Progress Coaching System

As a manager or supervisor, it is your responsibility to continue your employee’s
education and reinforce their training, and this was an opportunity for the regional
sales director to help his sales team improve their product knowledge. A
manager typically would be angered by this lack of knowledge; whereas, a coach
finds this to be an opportunity to help an employee improve.

Coaches need to take the time to make sure that the rep is comfortable with the
tasks he/she carry out on a daily basis. For example, one-on-one coaching can
help an employee in an area in which he has difficulty. So, if an employee does
not have vast knowledge of this product, then during one session the manager
should ask the rep to teach him how to use what he is selling. Over time the
employee will eventually get a grasp on what he is doing. After effective training
sessions, sales reps should be confident with what they are selling, and this
confidence should give them the drive to enhance their performance.
With progress training, it is still possible to focus on profits and results.
Management needs to be able to quantify the results and evaluate whether or not
the program worked. To do this, managers can ask salespeople questions like:
“Name a client that you successfully applied this technique to.”
“Explain what you were taught, and e-mail me how you integrated that into your
day-to-day activity.”
“Name two positive interactions you have had with a prospect or client since the
seminar and training reinforcement sessions.”

By asking these types of coaching questions, managers can get a real look at
how effective all the coaching and time put into teaching has been. If it was truly
beneficial to the sales reps, then a manager should be able to see and to
measure the results. Furthermore, when businesses use this approach, they will
be able to produce a sustainable learning environment, and they will see their
sales begin to rise. Employees who feel they are engaged with management will
increase their level of performance versus employees who fear their manager
finding out what they cannot do.

How Coaching Finally Transitioned at InPro

InPro Corporation saw that the new coaching system had a significant impact on
its sales team’s results. Regional sales directors began to establish one-on-one
coaching with their employees. Small sub-managers also used the one-on-one
coaching style to help their employees. By sitting down with an employee, a
manager can see exactly what the issues are, coach them through their
problems and keep track of any problems or setbacks the employee has. Not

only has this helped, but a one-on-one meeting also allowed for instant feedback
so that the sales rep is not continuing his bad habit over weeks or months.
InPro also decided to shift focus to continuing to train regional sales directors.
The process started with a day group training session and continued with one
meeting monthly to catch up and reinforce previous learning sessions. As a
result, managers were able to take what they gathered in the meetings and help
their own sales reps. The directors took the initiative and set up sessions with
their teams. They began to engage in one-on-one coaching and group coaching

The resistance of the regional sales directors subsided after they realized that
coaching helped to drive performance. The transition from a management style
to a coaching style took time, but in the end, upper-level management, regional
sales directors and sales team were able to see the benefits to converting.

Currently, roughly over 60 plus coaching initiatives are taking place at InPro.
Many of the coaching initiatives are being facilitated by sales staff, managers,
product managers and VP levels executives. It has truly become a culture that
believes coaching matters.

One rep who has been hovering around the 71% of the quota level increased his
sales to over 118% within a year with an intensive one-on-one coaching program
Another rep had been battling a lack of results and stress. A fellow salesperson
coached him and helped him figure out how to handle his daily activities. This rep
began to see results of this coaching (peer-to-peer) and hit over 115% of his

Another rep hit 145% of his goal (up 40+% since the prior year) and now
proceeds to coach others as a way of giving back

One regional sales director stated, “Our culture has completely transformed itself
to a more engaging and cooperative workplace.”

The company has expanded its coaching commitment to hire a Director of

Training & Coaching. In addition, all managers are required to attend Progress
Coaching as part of their management training.

All employees now attend a four part team coaching program where they learn
how to work better together using a form of Group Coaching. This builds even
greater engagement within the organization and across departmental lines.
Younger employees are being groomed early by learning how to coach and
prepare them for eventual management opportunities. Here is an unsolicited
quote from a younger employee who possesses a pre-management leadership
position: “Tim and his company have been working with InPro for years. They
single handily changed our culture from a structured "sit behind your desk"
management type style to all the managers getting involved on every level. InPro
has benefited in many ways from this change. Personally, Tim and Sales
Progress have taken time out of his busy schedule to help me grow as a sales
person and a coach/leader. This is something I will never forget and I couldn't be
any happier. The last thing I want to add is that Tim is a riot! You won't catch
yourself yawning in any of his sessions! I am a big fan.” January 31, 2011
Nicholas Stauff, Signage and Wayfinding Lead Sales Representative, InPro

“Coaching has been the number one element that has assisted us in not only
surviving the bad economy but actually thriving in it,” states Phil Ziegler. “It has
transformed our culture to be more engaging and sharing in day to day
challenges. The employees now look at their managers as their partners in their
pursuit of better development; whereas, in the past it was more of a dictative
relationship between managers and employees.”

My second favorite young lady, behind my daughter Bridget, is Shannon
Gburzynski. Shannon is simply an incredible young lady from whom and with
whom I continue to learn. Shannon joined me during her college years as an
intern, and the first year was not exactly the greatest. She had the Gen Y
attributes down perfectly, such as rolling her eyes and using the word “whatever”
when she disagreed with you.

During the first year, we finally sat down and agreed to find a way to work
together. You see, I love working with young people because it is my way of
paying back the people at IBM that helped me through my own college
internship. IBM taught me so much, and I wanted other young people to realize
the power of an internship and the beneficial real world experience it can provide.
Shannon was naturally shy and resistant, but over time, we worked so well
together that challenging one another became almost a daily activity. Her
confidence grew, and I could see where she was headed. She not only had good
technical skills, but she also had the presentation skills to match. During one of
our client meetings, she literally took over an area of social media and knocked
the client on their butts. They loved her. This was not unusual for her, but most
people have little faith in the younger generation that examples like these seem
unfathomable. Young people get it. They just need help getting there.
Shannon today is a Social Media Engagement Analyst doing some very leading
edge work with an extremely innovative firm, 7Summits. I still get calls from the
president, Paul Stillmank, raving about her capacity to jump into different projects
and to help out when so many people, especially at her age, lack the confidence
to do so. Shannon is still my “work” daughter till this day!

Matt Byrnes
Matt was a trainer we hired, and he has become a favorite of mine ever since. He
is a professional, devoted employee that really accepted coaching, and he saw it
as a way to better himself and his career. Matt was a typical trainer who really
was focused on stand-up presentations. I knew our industry was moving toward
new technology; soon, everything would be done from computers, and people
would not even have to be in the same room. I explained this to Matt, and he
jumped right at the opportunity to receive coaching that would help master a new
form of training. Matt was with us for two years before he moved on. Months
later, Matt landed a job working at a major hospital, and it was his extensive
knowledge of technology that helped him get the job. Opening yourself up to
coaching can help you in many facets of life. Just take it from Matt.

The goal of our case studies is to show you that companies have, in fact, seen
impressive results from the coaching method. It helps drive performance and
address real world challenges. I cannot thank our clients enough for the
dedication they put into each coaching session. Sticking with the plan is the first
hurdle, and from there, the results tumbled in. Coaching takes time and effort, but
those that keep progressing will get to where their company needs them to be.
Coaching builds the company, its employees, and leaders. Organizations that
commit to coach build cultures of continuous improvement and positive attitude
toward change and learning.

Chapter 6: Coaching Stories

Let’s Hear from Our Coaches (Actual coaching narratives that have been
written by each person. names have not been changed unless noted.)

Coaching Story # 1: Seth Bergerud: Customer Service

Manager at Douglas Dynamics
I was listening to an interview on sports talk radio the other day with Buzz
Williams, Head Basketball Coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles. He was asked
to reflect on the ever changing environment in the Big East Conference and how
it might affect his team during the coming season. He paused for only a second
and then began to describe, in his typical rough drawl, the Marquette program’s
slow and continuous growth and progress over the last 5 to 10 years and the
confidence that gave him in its stability and the success it would bring. To
paraphrase, he said that at Marquette the program was in continual evolution, not
a revolution. The important distinction was the steady, methodical focus on
continuous improvement over the long haul, not a rapid reaction to the
environment causing drastic change. With full confidence he described how that
focus and patience has helped insulate the program from the wildly changing
environment in Big East basketball.

Needless to say, his ingenious insight resonated with me. He could just as easily
have been describing the stability and confidence that comes with the evolution
of a business coaching program growing within an organization. But for me, it
spoke to my path as a coach in business; an evolution; not a revolution: Slow,
steady, and purposeful; not fast, volatile, or random. Proactive, and not reactive. I
firmly believe that no leader is created a master coach. They are products of
their experiences and their coaching abilities grow and strengthen with each
unique experience. It is truly an evolutionary process as a coach develops from
front line employee to manager and from manager to coach and leader. I’ll take
a shot at describing my evolution as a coach and some of my observations and
reflections on the experiences that have shaped my development and hopefully
provide a nugget or two for you to take with you, much as Coach Williams did for

My Training and Experience as a Coach

My training as a coach began with my education at the University of Wisconsin –
Stevens Point. I was a rather typical and average student, too immature and
naïve to realize the opportunity right in front of me. I coasted through to a
Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Conservation. While that isn’t an

obvious connection to coaching and leadership, the scientific background has
served me well in a coaching role. I regularly lean on the analytical skills that I
gained in my scientific course work as an undergrad, which if truth be told came
more by diffusion than diligent study. Regardless, I learned how to make an
observation, form a hypothesis to explain the observation, test the hypothesis
with as little bias as possible, and then either accept or reject the hypothesis
based on the results. To this day, I try to operate as a coach in exactly that
manner. Identify an issue or opportunity; form an unbiased hypothesis as to how
to address it; test it over time using coaching sessions; look for the progress to
confirm or reject my hypothesis; and then adjust and repeat until I see progress
and ultimately gain the results that follow. I regularly find my original theory to be
wrong and am constantly adjusting as a result. But the consistency that comes
with the process is proven and drives results.

When I graduated from Stevens Point, I quickly realized that the opportunities to
make a career in the field of biology were limited and decided my analytical
background could also translate into a successful business career. I accepted my
first professional position at Rytec Corporation as the Quality Specialist,
reviewing and processing warranty claims, and working with customers, internal
operations, as well as external vendors to improve the overall product quality. I
had heavy exposure to customer service and found that I enjoyed the problem
solving and gravitated to the opportunities to help people that come with it. I
decided fairly quickly after I started at Rytec that in order to continue to progress
in business I needed to strengthen my education. My instincts were solid but I
lacked the foundational knowledge that was needed to advance. I began taking
the classes needed to earn my Masters of Business Administration from Cardinal
Stritch University while I continued to work at Rytec. I worked full time during the
day and took classes and studied nights and weekends so that I could continue
to gain on the job experience and support my young family. I earned my Masters
in a little over two and a half years. I had the benefit of learning alongside a
diverse and intelligent group of peers that helped push me and helped hone my
knowledge and skills. The heavy focus on team projects coupled with the wide
ranging skills and experiences of my peers gave me a strong dose of experience
in team dynamics as well as the challenges and opportunities that accompany
projects of this nature. During this period I learned that I couldn’t do it all myself. I
had to rely on others to pull their weight and figured out how to subtly coax out
the effort I desired from my teammates through leading by example and with
positive feedback rather than dictatorial mandates.

Once I completed my Master’s degree, I began looking for a larger company with
opportunity to grow. While at Rytec I had learned continuously and gained
exposure to a wide array of experiences due to the small size of the company,
but I also had limited opportunities to take the next step that I needed to continue
my development. I found that next step and a wealth of opportunity when I was
hired by Gehl Company as a Customer Support Specialist. Gehl was, at the time,
in the midst of completely overhauling its sales support staff. The manager of the
team was relatively new to the position but he had developed a strong vision for
the future. Sales Progress was hired to help develop a coaching environment
and to help set the course toward the desired future state. New expectations
were clearly defined to a team that had grown accustomed to doing things “the
way we always have”. The pending change scared those individuals who had
grown overly comfortable with the status quo into leaving. This opened the door
to a new beginning for “Team Gehl” sales support and I was happy to be a part of
the new direction. In my time with this team I realized the value of being
challenged. Over half of the new team had been turned over in less than a year’s
time, most from outside the Company. What we lacked in experience, we more
than made up for in effort, ingenuity, and attitude. While the personalities were all
quite different, each was accepted and played a critical role. We were challenged
on a daily basis. Change was the norm and problems began to look like
opportunities, in no small part due to the positive reinforcement provided in the
coaching environment that was under way. This was the most “highly effective
team” I have had the privilege to work with.

In my time at Gehl, I was fortunate enough to earn the opportunity to become the
Lead Customer Support Specialist. I vividly recall the day that each member of
“Team Gehl” was brought individually into the office of the Vice President of
Sales to discuss the progress of the team. During our discussion, he asked my
opinion of the strengths, weaknesses, and the opportunities that were present.
Finally he asked if there was an individual who stuck out to me as the day-to-day
leader. This was a tough question for me. I am not a cocky or brash individual
and so even though I knew that the team leaned on me as a leader, it took what
seemed like an eternity to me at the time for me to give the simple answer, “Me.”
I was confident that, if given the chance, I had the ability to do more and to be a
leader. My teammates already looked to my response in tough situations. I knew
I could be successful given the opportunity.

I don’t know how the rest of my team answered this question but I can only
assume based on my promotion to Lead Customer Support Specialist, that at

least a few also had that confidence in me. I couldn’t have been successful
without that vote of confidence. The promotion allowed me my first opportunity to
learn the Progress Coaching System through Sales Progress. It was an
enlightening experience. It provided a frame work and methodology to put into
action all of the little pieces and observations I had made during my career to that
point. Develop a methodical assessment of the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and
creative abilities needed to be successful in the position you are coaching.
Identify the gaps between current state and desired state. Focus on one or two
areas of greatest need. Coach for effort, results will follow. I was tasked with
coaching several of my peers. I can think of few situations that are more
challenging in the coaching world than coaching a peer. I was fortunate to step
into a situation where coaching and expectations were well established. It
allowed me to learn without having to deal with the added pressure of re-
establishing expectations for the coaching experience.

With little more than 6 months as team lead I was offered the opportunity to take
over as Manager of the Parts Support team. The existing leader of that team was
struggling to set expectations and coach to effort. He was experienced in the
industry and well-intentioned but, in my opinion, in over his head. The success of
coaching amongst the other Support Departments had only brightened the light
on the shortcomings in leadership within that department. When he took a step
back and I was promoted, I was extremely impressed and impacted by his
approach and attitude. He could have chosen to be negative or bitter and to
undermine me as a new and young manager. But he made the choice to stay
positive and to work as hard as he could to contribute to the success of the team.
He made the choice when many others would have taken a different approach. I
will always respect his professionalism in those very difficult circumstances.

While I had little industry experience or technical knowledge, I believe I had what
was necessary to help the struggling Parts Support team: A calm and consistent
approach to go with consistent expectations. It provided direction that allowed the
diversity of the team and their collective strengths to thrive. We certainly had
challenges to work through but the methodical progress that came with the
coaching framework turned them from challenges into opportunities. That was a
critical shift in mindset that we worked hard, as a team, to develop. I learned
quickly that the most critical component to success is completely under our own
control… our attitude.

After a little more than a few months of coaching the Parts Support Team at Gehl
Company, the economy tanked and the construction equipment industry was hit
hard. Gehl went through a series of layoffs that provided a glimpse of the cold
reality of business. Each and every person in an organization is continually being
judged and weighed as to their overall contribution to the profitability of the
business. Those individuals who can contribute to the bottom line stand the best
chance of surviving the layoffs and downsizing that come with lean times. A
series of layoffs ensued at Gehl and it was clear that those who had embraced
the coaching experience and were pushing themselves to get better stood a far
better chance of surviving the tough cuts. They also had opportunities to move
to other organizations when many were forced to cross their fingers and hope
they survived. I ended up taking a new position with Douglas Dynamics after
witnessing three rounds of layoffs, one of which included my wife. It was by far
the most difficult decision of my professional career, and it is in the running for
the most difficult of my life. I had fully invested myself in the team and in the
organization. When you’re all in, as I was, what looked like an obvious choice to
an impartial observer was excruciating. In the end, my devotion to the well-being
of my family left me no choice. Had it not been for the coaching environment that
helped build the strong relationships within the team and organization, and the
coaching and leadership that built the strong relationship I had with my manager,
I would have been out the door far sooner and without a second thought.

When I took over the role of Customer Support Supervisor for the Western brand
within Douglas Dynamics I had no idea what to expect. I knew the Vice President
of Sales and Marketing of Douglas from his time with Gehl Company. I knew the
department had recently been through a rather dramatic change in leadership but
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found myself quickly relying on my coaching
background, quietly observing and occasionally asking questions to gain a better
feel for the expectations of leadership, the strengths and opportunities of the
team, and where I might be able to have the greatest impact. I was able to ask
challenging questions under the guise of a naïve newbie learning the ropes. I
quickly learned that I had taken on a group of very talented individuals whose
strengths and skills had been neglected, hidden, or even squashed by the
previous leader. Once that tight management was removed, the individuals
began rising to the occasion to meet every challenge in front of them. They
needed leadership and support from their manager, not direction and
micromanagement. It was an environment ripe for success with coaching and

Once again, I had the opportunity to work with Tim Hagan and Sales Progress.
They were brought in to help train the Customer Support managers in the
coaching methodology. While the program has taken off at an organizational
level like it did with Gehl, it is something that I rely on daily as a manager. We
continue to grow as a team, striving for excellence by making the choice each
day to get better. Those that don’t make that choice quickly stick out. The
Douglas Dynamics organization has a strong affinity for continuous improvement
and I am confident it is only a matter of time before a coaching methodology is
adopted throughout the rest of the organization.

What I have Learned as a Coach

More than anything else, I have learned during my time as a coach that I cannot
and will not ever have all the answers as a manager. I must be prepared as a
leader with tools that are flexible enough to help me work through every
challenge. The Progress Coaching System taught by Sales Progress provides
just such a tool set. Every organization, team, and individual brings their own
unique set of strengths, opportunities, challenges, perspectives, and
experiences. If you are not flexible enough to adapt to the continuous change of
the business environment by leveraging these unique characteristics, you will
never reach your maximum potential as a leader, as a team, or as an
organization. Coaching helps create the environment to do that. It is certainly
possible to lead solely by managing, handling each situation that arises with
reactive and dictatorial direction, requiring compliance rather than inspiring and
motivating. While it is possible, this style of leadership is simply much more
difficult and far less rewarding for the leader, the employee, and the organization.
In my career I have found that coaching has helped develop my skill set, helped
me grow into and be successful in a managerial role, and has helped me develop
the skill sets of my direct reports.

My Greatest Appreciation as a Coach

You’ll notice that I refer only to challenges and opportunities, never to
weaknesses or shortcomings. It’s all a matter of perspective. Where some
choose to look at themselves or their team in a constantly changing business
climate and see weaknesses, I choose to see opportunities to improve. I owe that
mindset to coaching. I have been coached to view business and life that way.
There are certainly days where it would be easier to gravitate toward the
negative and see the glass as half full. But I make the choice every day to have a
different perspective. I appreciate the fact that no one is perfect and that the
ever changing environment will always bring new challenges with it. If I don’t see

opportunity in that change, how can I ask those I lead to push themselves to
improve or inspire them to rise to the challenges they will inevitably face?

The Value of Coaching from My Perspective

From my perspective, the value of coaching is that it helps organizations invest in
their most valuable asset, their people! If an organization has “The Right People”
in place, then it is imperative that it also continues to develop those people to put
them in a position to meet with success. Organizations that aren’t coaching are
neglecting an opportunity to create a distinct advantage. The reality is that most
organizations don’t take the time or effort to do this. Those that do make the
investment have a clear advantage in their ability to succeed in the most
challenging times and circumstances.

One of my favorite employees of all time was with Gehl Company when I started.
She didn’t have the skill set to climb to the top of the corporate ladder but she
was well aware of her opportunities to improve and she worked at them diligently
even if the results weren’t as profound as she would have liked. She never lost
faith in herself or the organization that was investing in her. She was more loyal
to that organization than the President and CEO. I couldn’t help but root for her.
During the economic downturn she survived wave after wave of downsizing
almost entirely due to her attitude, effort, and willingness to work to improve.
Sometime after I left the organization, there was a final wave of layoffs and I was
disappointed to hear she had been one of those let go. I have heard from several
sources that she thanked the manager who let her go for the time she had with
the team and the organization and for helping her develop as an employee and
as a person. I challenge anyone to have that kind of attitude under those
circumstances. While it is certainly a credit to the exceptional character of the
individual, I have no doubt that the response would have been far different
without the investment that the company made in her through coaching.

One More Great Coaching Story

During my time as Manager of Parts Support at Gehl, I was fortunate enough to
coach a number of great individuals but there is one in particular who exhibited
the choice that everyone has to get better more than anyone else I have ever
witnessed. This individual in her early twenties, I’ll call her Jane, started with
Gehl as a temporary employee. Jane had taken a stab at 4 year college but
decided it wasn’t her cup of tea and moved back home with her parents. She
began doing data entry in the Technical Support Dept. keying in warranty data for
8 hours a day, 5 days a week. She was quiet and reserved, but was asked to
help the Parts Support Team during a busy stretch in the season. She was
adequate in that role but not exceptional, regularly showing her immaturity by
coming into work late on occasion or calling in sick more often than most. The
manager of the department at the time had told her he would be hiring her on as
a full time employee but had done none of the leg work required to get approval
of the hire. In all reality, the chances of her hire being approved by management
at the time were slim to none. At the time, Tim Hagen was doing coaching within
Parts Support and he was put in the awkward position of having to tell Jane that
she would not be hired full time and that, in truth, her job was on the line.

At that point, Jane had a choice to make. Over the next several months, with
guidance from another coach within the Sales Progress team, Jane worked
harder than she had probably ever worked in her life. She worked on her own
time to develop the skills and product knowledge that would help her give better
service to the customer. She overhauled her wardrobe and began presenting
herself in a professional and polished manner. She walked a little taller and
gained the swagger of someone who knows they can accomplish whatever they
set their mind to do. It was as if a light bulb had turned on in Jane. She was
quickly and aggressively becoming one of the most motivated and effective
members of the team with no guarantees that she could earn the full time
position she desired. Other team members saw Jane’s personal evolution and
were motivated by it. One of the most rewarding tasks I have ever been given as
a manager was the privilege of rewarding Jane’s choice to drive for excellence by
hiring her as a full time employee.

It is clear that my career path has been dramatically changed by coaching. It has
been an evolution, slowly and methodically developed with a sharp focus on
continuous improvement. I have had the advantage of being led by some
fantastic coaches and leaders and the good fortune to learn a coaching system
that has helped me align the goals of the individuals with those of the
organization. I have taken the time to learn from every experience and
opportunity, when the results were good or bad. I believe strongly that without the
development of my coaching skills, I would not be the leader that I am today. As
Coach Williams noted, it takes evolution, not a revolution.

Coaching Story # 2: Shannon Gburzynski: Social Media
Engagement Analyst at 7Summits
As a recent college graduate in a down economy, with a job that I love and thrive
in, I attribute my success to hard work, creativity, and most importantly from
being a product of coaching.

I worked for Tim Hagen, over 3 years as I worked toward my college degree; in
that time he was an incredible mentor, preparing me for work after college. Tim is
a true expert in employee development and he uses his knowledge to grow not
only his clients but his staff as well. The work environment created by Tim along
with his constant feedback and coaching has allowed me to gain real world
experience, valuable skill sets, and to grow my professional network far beyond
what I could have accomplished from school alone. I feel fortunate to have been
able to start my career with such an experienced and talented coach, and believe
any future client or employee will feel the same.
In high school I was interested in business, marketing and leadership, even
earned the honor of becoming president of DECA marketing club and received a
leadership award from my cheerleading team. Despite those two honors I deep
down was shy and often uncomfortable. I knew I was smart, but had a suspicion
that my shyness would potentially hold me back from being successful in
business or joining the agency world that seemed so exciting to me. When I
started college, I listed my major as undecided, still trying to find a field that
interested me, but that wouldn’t require me to be more confident. Looking back
now, I cannot believe that I almost missed out on a career that I love because I
was too afraid. Eventually, finding nothing else that intrigued me as business did,
I entered the business school still never anticipating that I could ever work at an
agency. I just didn’t think I was creative and bold enough.

Around that same time I entered business school, I became disenchanted with
my current job. I was a supervisor at a hardware store. There were several
levels of manager above me whom I worked with on a daily basis, yet learned
nothing from. I craved feedback, which was never given; you never quite knew
where you stood among your superiors. Before I even knew what coaching was, I
was craving it from my managers but going unfulfilled. Personal growth was
certainly not a priority of managers for their employees. At the hardware store
most managers (except one that was later reprimanded and sent to a new store)
were not looking to enable their employees, they worked to keep information and
institutional knowledge to themselves. They didn’t want to teach you how to

support them because they feared you would then take over their job. The lack
of further training and self-preservation drove me to look for another job. I
stumbled upon a listing for an office assistant/marketing intern position from
Sales Progress, I worked hard on a resume and cover letter and crafted just the
right email to impress the contact and sent off my application. I got a one
sentence email back “Please call my business partner to schedule an interview, -
Tim Hagen” ecstatic I called and set up my interview for the next week.

Before coming in for this interview I had actually already been offered a position
as an office assistant at another company. The pay was more than my hardware
store job, and I was all but set to take it, so going in to the Sales Progress
interview I was nervous, but really just curious what this job could possibly offer.
The interview lasted almost 2 hours, and didn’t really feel like an interview at all;
it was a free flowing conversation and learning session. This was my first clue
that this company could offer me something different than I could get anywhere
else. I remember calling my Mom after the interview and telling her “I need this
job, who better to learn from then a man who coaches and trains others for a
living?”, I knew I was going to learn a lot here, when he offered me the position I
accepted immediately and never thought twice about turning down the other

Working at Sales Progress- The continual student

During my interview, Tim told me several times, working here is going to be
different, I can’t warn you enough, and he wasn’t kidding. My first few weeks
consisted heavily of sitting in Tim’s office and just learning. Learning about
technology, learning about training, learning about anything and everything under
the sun. When I wasn’t in Tim’s office learning from him, I was encouraged to sit
at my desk and read. Tim told me often, “Some of this information may seem
random and irrelevant now, but trust me, someday it will all start clicking.” I didn’t
believe him then, but he proved himself right eventually.

Every conversation with Tim, was a coaching session; stories and examples of
real world clients, feedback on how I answered a question or a piece of writing I
had recently completed. I received feedback, good or bad, on everything. The
good was an enormous ego booster, and I was able to contribute more ideas,
start thinking outside of the box, and tap into a creativity I didn’t know existed.
The constructive feedback was also appreciated, because it was always followed
by figuring out how it could be improved. More often than not, Tim could get me
to identify weaknesses in my own work before he needed to point them out,
providing me with the perfect opportunity to improve my work and own my

Tim is great at giving his students the confidence to share ideas and opinions
regardless of the caliber of people in the room. After months of absorbing
knowledge inside the office, Tim began bringing me along to client sites, to get
experience and confidence in the real world. Bringing me to his best clients first
who had coaching cultures of their own meant they understood the importance of
supporting and teaching me. So even in a room of successful VP’s I was not left
to observe and take notes in the back, but encouraged to actively participate in
activities and conversations. Those first couple of meetings were nerve racking,
but Tim always made sure I was prepared before going in and always gave
feedback after, including passing on feedback from his clients.

It All Clicks
I remember the day all the coaching clicked for me. We were at a LinkedIn
training session with new sales people who were right out of college. Tim was
telling them the importance of building their network (a lesson he had drilled into
my own head). One of the sales reps raised her hand to point out the
improbability of someone her age building a strong network. As Tim opened his
mouth, I interrupted and said, “I’d like to answer this if you don’t mind” in front of
that room full of people. The knowledge I had been collecting about business,
and presenting, and training, flowed out. I had many similar moments following
that experience, in school, work or job interviews. Between the wide array of
knowledge and the confidence to speak freely, I wasn’t the nervous shy student I
had been when I started at Sales Progress. One of my proudest moments came
while interning at my current employer. The president of the company asked me
to get up and demo software to a room full of very experienced colleagues on the
fly. Before coaching, I would have practically ran off crying, but instead, I said
OK, got up and gave a 30 minute ad hoc presentation. Needless to say, he was
impressed, and I’ve been working for that company almost two years now.

Top Lessons I learned from being Coached

While I’m certain I will never fully understand all that being coached has helped
me become there are a few top lessons I will never forget. Whether dealing with
other employees, my own subordinates, or clients the following top lessons are
always front and center for me:

● Get down to the heart of the issue. Whatever the skill or problem, identify
the reasoning behind the delay. Is one scared to tackle the skill, does he
not know how? Do they need practice? Etc. The reasoning is the most
important aspect to understand. Without that you are simply shooting in
the dark to find a solution.
● Opportunities to coach others are everywhere. For example, in my current
position we give many workshop style presentations to clients, and
through my coaching at Sales Progress, I have learned how to coach
others in those sessions. Identifying those who are skeptical or shy to
participate, paying special attention to them often gives us the most
useful insight into our client’s situations.
● Listening is the most overlooked skill needed to be successful in
business. Where most consultants lack listening skills, Tim Hagen and his
coaching program excel at it. Most of the time the participant already
knows the answer to the problem at hand they just haven’t been able to
verbalize it. Great coaching isn’t about having all the answers; it’s about
facilitating others to solve their problems.
● It is possible to give feedback without being offensive or cushioning with a
compliment. And if you give feedback on a consistent basis constructive
feedback is better received.
● Behaviors don’t change in a day, they must become habits, and this takes
work for a long period of time. Whether working on myself, or helping
someone else make a change it’s a process not an event.
● There is nothing wrong with pushing employees to do things that make
them uncomfortable. This is necessary. And if you have created the right
work environment uncomfortable things become less uncomfortable
because employees or clients know you are there to support them.
● You must be accountable. Telling an employee or yourself to change
something, without ever following up is rhetoric. It’s the definition of
managing, not coaching, lots of people confuse those words as being
interchangeable, but they are mistaken. Accountability creates change,
and most managers don’t understand that concept.

As I continue to grow in my career, I take the lessons from those 3 years of
coaching with me. Of course one is never fully done learning and growing, and
being aware of that fact gives me a unique perspective in that I am open to
continually learning and improving. Many people act as though they know all the
answers already, but no matter your intelligence or experience you can’t possibly

know all there is to know. My ability to be open to learning will forever be one of
my differentiators from my competition…that and Tim Hagen on speed dial for all
the really tough questions.

Let’s Hear from Those Who Have Been Coached and Those Who Coach
others. We asked our clients and acquaintances “What has coaching meant
to you?”

Ron Lloyd: National Agronomy Lead at Monsanto

Putting our management teams through Progress Coaching has been the first
step in creating the necessary environment and culture for us to be successful at
coaching. The techniques that I have learned have really helped me to think
about goals I have with my organization be more attentive in my observations so
that I can do a better job of helping people grow and develop in their roles and
careers. It is like anything, you have to deliberately practice to create the habit
and make it natural. I have already observed benefits in individuals that I have
been coaching.

The coaching has helped be more direct in my feedback which has been well
received and beneficial. Sometimes people make a comment about someone
and then say, but I can't put my finger on it. Using good questions and coaching
techniques will help identify those areas and also help them gain self-awareness.
I believe self-awareness and desire to change is the first step for them/us to
make those changes to behaviors or seek out resources to increase knowledge
or skills.

I think coaching has helped put a focus and priority on employee development. A
large part of our jobs as coaches is to develop our employees; I have felt that I
may not always spend as much time developing as I should. I think our focus on
employees and becoming better with coaching them is helping to strike a good
balance for me.

Brad Russell: Signage and Wayfinding Sales
Representative at InPro Corporation
Being coached helped me hit my personal goals. I was held accountable by
making it a part of my everyday routine. There is always something that you can
improve. By setting goals and following through with them, it allows the person to
achieve the fullest that life has to offer.

Connie Kadansky: President/Owner of Exceptional Sales
If it wasn't for my first coach 14 years ago, I would be typing an appellate court
brief for a cranky attorney. I founded a company and have been successful since
the day I started. My coach was instrumental in my successful launch.

As a coach it is so much fun to have a client/small remodeler doing kitchen

remodels move into hospital and hotel remodels! As a sales call reluctance
coach, I help salespeople, financial advisors break through their limited beliefs,
assumptions, interpretations, and perceptions that do not serve them. To
celebrate them moving beyond their self-imposed limitations is very gratifying.
Just received a copy of a newly published $47 manual for business processes
with an acknowledgement from the author that as her coach, I helped her get her
"ask" in gear, to write a book, get the co-author she wanted on board, get a
publisher to accept the book and have it all complete. This is such a fun career!

Just recently my coach helped me in an area where I had not been able to break
through. If I had an unlimited checkbook, I would have written a check for $5000.
Coaches in their own way have an amazing ripple effect. They are instrumental
in helping change the world for the better one client at a time!

Dan Wolfgram: Personal Lines Vice President at R&R
I think I have been very fortunate to have so many great coaches throughout my
entire career. The funny thing about coaches, they don't need to be "your boss or
supervisor". In fact, most of my favorite coaching success stories have come
from the associates I work with here at R&R Insurance. We used to send out
renewal/thank you letters to our clients once a year. Then, at one of our staff
meetings, one of our Customer Service Agents came up to me and told me what
she was doing on her own. She picked up the phone before the renewal of the
policy to check in with some of her clients. She wanted to connect on a better
level (versus an email or letter) with her clients. Based on her mentoring of me on
this topic, we began in November of 2011 doing this in our entire department.
Some Service and Sales agents are making close to 100 proactive calls a month.
Not only is this the right thing to do, it has improved our bottom line results. I
don't think you need to be a boss or supervisor to be a mentor.

One of my first employers was Lever Brothers Company. They are a pretty good
size consumer goods corporation. If you ever used Dove bar soap, Wisk, or
Snuggle; then you know the company. My first Supervisor, Randy Maas was one
of the best coaches I have ever had. The thing that made Randy special was he
was always willing to spend time with me and to explain how to do the job. But
what made him even more special was his ability to understand and accept that a
new sales rep. would make some mistakes, and he was always OK with that. I
made a mistake on an order once when instead of ordering 5 display units for a
store, I punched in 50. I remember that there was no way to send them back to
the warehouse since it was a seasonal item. Randy looked me in the eye and
told me, "you and I have some work to do". We spent the next few days going
store to store to sell these. I can't tell you how often I think of stories like this and
how Randy helped my career progress.

Janet Marotz: Sales Support Specialist at Manitou-Group
(aka Gehl Company)
One of the best lessons I got from my coaching sessions was the one regarding
sending cards to people. These cards can be anything positive you would like to
say to a person/company. During this time my husband had received a $100.00
gift from one of his clients. When he came home that night he told me and stated
he didn't know what he should do to let his client know he appreciated what he
did. I told my husband that he could send them a thank you note. Needless to
say he was a little skeptical, but we purchased some blank thank you cards. He
filled out a card and mailed it off. Within a couple of days the client called him to
say thank you for the card. He stated no one had ever done that before. The
following 3 years my husband had worked with this client and each December
this client has given my husband a gift of $500.00. That’s correct $500.00 as a
thank you for doing a great job. This client is now in a nursing home and my
husband will go and visit with him and his wife and my husband will help them
with any computer problems they may have (free of charge.) Needless to say, my
husband and I are true believers of thank you cards.

Coaching helped me to look at things differently. I have learned how to handle

calls from our customers in a more positive way and when the dealer is upset I
am able to handle the situation in a calmer manner. In short, I don't take it to
heart when the customer is very upset with something. I would never have had
sent thank you cards prior to the coaching. Coaching opens your mind and gets
you to create actions that make a difference.

Monty Crandon: Regional Sales Director at InPro
I was first exposed to the “Coaching” method 18 months ago. Since then I have
realized that for years as a manager that I was going about it all wrong: pushing
instead of encouraging, pulling instead of leading, steering the boat instead of
letting them steer. Since then the change and growth of the individuals as well as
the team has brought new dynamics into our group.

A good coaching opportunity came from my recent trip with one of our Associate
Territory Managers. She did her first full product training and was very good in
divisions that she had presented in the past but needed polishing in the other
divisions. I asked her to evaluate her performance: where she felt she did well,
why, what she could have done better, and where she would like help. She
identified the exact same areas of comfort and where she needed improvement
that I had.

She became a little frustrated when I encouraged her to take on more

responsibility when doing dual presentations. In this way she could become more
confident and create her own style of presentation. After explaining that to
become very good at presentations she had to develop a habit of style and flow.
The more comfortable she was, the better she would deliver her message. Other
areas to develop better presentations were to engage the participants to interact.
Interaction was critical to gage where their interest lies and then to focus on that.
One suggestion was to ask prior to the training what their core business is and
then decide what products fit their needs.

Additional coaching opportunities came when it came to her “One on One”

meetings with customers. She was able to see how important it was to probe,
ask questions, and let the customer tell you where he needed help or identifying
future projects that may or may not include them. Letting the customer do most of
the talking is critical. She had always been geared to educate which is great,
however be careful not to just spew out information. Asking questions and
listening is the key to becoming a trusted partner once the customer sees you as
a consultant and someone they can go to for answers. This individual was
originally a little headstrong, however; by asking the right questions that she had
to give the answer based on her decisions it allowed her to understand more
clearly how she can drive and affect her sales process.

In order to create habit and reinforce successful traits, I asked her to share every
other week a positive experience from asking good solid probing questions and
uncovering opportunities. It provides her with an instant gratification and keeps
her focused daily on asking better questions. When she did this for two weeks
straight it became a habit.

The one great thing I have experienced from the coaching method is watching
the people you have helped by coaching them and they in turn use the same
method to help others in their group and outside of business and in their personal

Tom Walley: Former VP of Sales and Marketing at Oshkosh
As a leader there are many challenges to be faced. What is the state of the
market, how are sales, what is our competition doing, what is the feedback on
that new product, are we as good as we can be? These are all basic challenges
that all businesses face, but one of the surest ways forward is through your
employees and instilling the drive for excellence from each individual on your
team. By asking them to do more than they think they can and helping them to
get there.

Finding a way to motivate and inspire achievement from a group of people is

paramount to your success and the success of your company. However the
“how” is the challenge for most leaders. For some it is an innate gift and
happens automatically. For others this skill will take work. It will take training;
and if they do not grasp the “how”, they will likely not succeed as a manager of

It is your job to help your staff grow, but this takes dedication, patience and most
of all time. If you have the innate skill to manage others that does not
necessarily make you the best conduit to pass on this skill to others. For that
reason you may need to look outside yourself or outside your company to help
build those skills in your team which they are lacking. To do this in a repeatable,
controlled fashion is key so that success can endure time, it can endure turnover
and changes in leadership.

Coaching is certainly seen as an art, but through the use of Sales Progress tools
and methods we were able to help both innate leaders and those that needed the
training. The methodology and the tools that Sales Progress deployed helped us
to grow sales, reduce regrettable turnover and instill a culture of excellence.

Craig Sippel: Technical Service Advisor Manitou Group
(aka Gehl Company)
The first thing that comes to mind when asked about coaching is when my
department Technical Support started working with Sales Progress, I was very
excited to see what I could learn to make myself better as an all-around person.
The first thing that comes to mind is that Tim probably saved my job at Gehl. My
manager at the time thought that I spent too much time on the phone. I was
doing rapport building and I didn’t even realize I was doing it. So, it was great to
find out that the things that I was doing on the phone were the correct things to
do, and through coaching in your group we learned how important it is to build
rapport with clients. It definitely has taught me to be a better person all the way

I still bring it up to people how we were coached by Sales Progress and how it
has helped me to be a better person. It has helped me believe in myself, it has
raised my self-esteem. There was a time when I was told that I held my chest too
high and I smiled too much, and that really hurt inside. (Former Employer)
Where here they want us to smile, I know there were some people that didn’t
care for the coaching program, that was their loss and our gain, a lot of those
people lost their jobs in the cuts. But I sure did I think that has been one of the
best things an employer has ever done for me. It also helped me through the
tough times that we had when the economy went south.

Dave Stevens: Director of Coaching and Development at
InPro Corporation
Until a few years ago I had never heard “coaching” applied in a management
setting. When I heard “coach” I instantly drifted back to little league baseball and
the memory of my dad throwing me pop ups till his arm nearly fell off. “Use two
hands!” “Get in front of it!” Dad was a great coach, I learned a lot. His style was
simple, he showed me, explained why, and then had me demonstrate the skill.
He displayed patience, engagement and enforced a strong work ethic.
Hmmmm… now how does that translate into a business environment? The
answer is… easily.

Five years ago I may not have seen the parallel. I was new to my lead position at
InPro Corporation and I was registered for a workshop in the Progress Coaching
System hosted by Sales Progress and Tim Hagen. “Coaching? I thought I was
going to receive management training.” Settling into the workshop I suddenly
realized I have so much to learn. Now this was something new and exciting but it
really was pretty intuitive. Thinking back upon my childhood I again found myself
remembering those days in the yard playing catch with my dad. Wow, I was
being coached throughout my entire childhood and right through adulthood. It
was sometimes direct and obvious and sometimes it was subtle. My dad focused
on knowledge, skills, creativity and behavior. These are the same tiers of
learning that were discussed at the workshop. I was hooked. This is a skill I have
to learn to become a successful sales manager. My next question was “Now
what am I do with all of this?” “How do I craft a coaching style that fits my

Leading a sales group that is filled with strong personalities and skilled sales
people is not easy. But hey, challenges are what make you better… hopefully in
short order! It reminded me of a quote that I once stumbled on in an inspirational
book my father gave me "It takes courage to push yourself to places that you
have never been before... to test your limits... to break through barriers. And the
day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom” ~Anaïs Nin. It was time for me to get out in front
of the group I was leading and practice what I learned.

As I worked with the sales group I was tasked to lead, I reflected back upon the
coaching techniques from the workshop. There wasn’t a one size fits all
approach. Different personalities, different goals, different people were all parts

of the puzzle and now I needed to fit them all together. We had new sales reps
and seasoned sales reps, quite an eclectic mix. As I looked at the group I used
the tiers of learning to benchmark where I needed to focus my efforts. Some reps
needed more knowledge about the markets we target, some needed to be more
creative in their communication approach, others needed to work on selling
skills(closing, probing, etc.), and some needed to recognize opportunities to
improve their behavior and how it affects a team selling sales platform. Now how
do I deliver the message, how do I coach these people? What attributes must I
possess? I again thought about the traits of a good coach; approachability,
engagement, patience, and ethics. Approachability is critical. There are people
who you may miss the boat on. What do I mean by that? Perhaps you think you
have identified a growth opportunity but your perception is slightly awry. Yes, you
made a mistake. It’s ok to admit it. Good coaches do. There may be an individual
who wants more coaching, perhaps in an area you failed to identify. This is an
example of where you need to have an aura of approachability. He should feel
comfortable coming to you and seeking assistance. Approachability is also
critical as it demonstrates that you are invested. An employee will want to share
successes with you and frankly, you will want to hear that what you are doing is
working… or is not!

Engagement is a vital ingredient to coaching as well. Being engaged and having

the people know that you are invested in their progress. How do they know you
are engaged? The answer is pretty simple…. Pay attention!! Non- verbal and
verbal communication skills are a must. It’s pretty easy for someone to know you
aren’t listening. If someone senses you are not engaged he may simply give up
or feel as if you don’t really care about his career path. In regards to patience, I
thought about how many pop ups my dad threw me. Be prepared to practice with
the people you coach. Some pick up things more quickly than others so stay the
course and be patient. In regards to ethics it is imperative that you are discreet
about what you learn and that people feel they can share their challenges with
you without the information going places it does not belong. Tell the truth, be fair
and establish trust. I employed these traits when I worked with the group I led. It
was challenging but after 4 years I felt I had developed myself, but again, a good
coach keeps learning and I was gearing up for my next challenge.

InPro Corporation has always been a bold, progressive company. I was

extremely fortunate to work with a terrific leadership team that embraced
coaching years earlier and displayed successful coaching principles at the
executive level of the company. It was the Executive VP of Sales, Marc Holland,

who had introduced me to Sales Progress and the Progress Coaching System. It
was the support of the management team that allowed me to have my next
opportunity. InPro decided to take coaching to the next level. They created a
position, Director of Coaching and Development, and this was a clear
demonstration of InPro’s commitment to coaching.

As Director of Coaching and Development, my role changed significantly. I was

not working with one sales group, but now working with all the sales groups. We
focused on new hires as well as internal sales coaching. What do I mean by
that? We have an outside sales force and inside sales force. I was now working
to bridge gaps and strengthen those teams so they could maximize their selling
opportunities and create positive communication patterns which are the pillars of
successful teams. Again, there were the same challenges that existed before. It
became clear that being able to adapt quickly was another trait that was critical to
future success. Concerns by team members need to be addressed immediately
so trust is established early. We are now ending the first year of the program
and I believe it has proved beneficial to the company. For a program like this to
be successful, the support of the senior management team is critical. At InPro I
was fortunate to have a management group that believed in the core principles of
coaching and they gave me the latitude to be creative with the program’s
structure. In my new role I also make sure I provide feedback to the management
team as to how team members are developing and what we were doing to assist
them. The management team also provides me with feedback and direction as
to what they would like me to work on. I operate within the scope they define and
we communicate on a regular basis as to progress and strategy.

At InPro Corporation and working with Tim Hagen and Sales Progress, I learned
how coaching is one component of becoming a successful manager. So much of
what I have discovered was based in positive communication practices and it
appeared that coaching was one of those skill sets where you never reach your
zenith. It is a practice of continuous improvement. In my mind my dad keeps
throwing me pop ups and grounders. “Use two hands.” “Get in front of it.” “Keep
working, keep practicing and you will get better!” It’s not about you; it’s about
“them.” Sales Coaches do not make a sales team become perfect but helps them
to bring out their best. Keep learning, keep listening, and keep giving and you will
be successful.

Brian Thomson: Director of Training at Atrium
In short, Coaching to me has meant learning. Whether it was learning how to
play sports or how to make a sales call or even how to manage others, the folks
who coached me made sure I knew the "book" way to do it, and then provided
feedback to help ensure I did it correctly. Their feedback changed as I became
more adept at the task. First, they told me how I was doing vs. the book way,
then they challenged me to go beyond the book way and adapt according to the
situation. For football, it was how to run a proper down and in pattern. Then it
became how to find the opening on a down and in pattern between the
linebackers and safeties. For sales calls, it was how to perform the steps of the
sales call. Then it became how to modify the steps (but still go through them!)
based on my customer's preferences. For managing others, it was how to get the
weekly administrative done and moved to how to lead a high performing work
team. And the learning never stopped. As I move through life, I find that I am
constantly looking for ways to improve. While I don't run down and in patterns
any more, I always look for ways to move the ball forward to help the team score
and/or win.

When I first became a people manager, I led my district out of my home. Of

course, this meant A LOT of phone calls to my manager (who was working out of
the Sales Center office in another city) to ensure I was doing things right and not
making mistakes. On the fourth morning, I called my manager to get his approval
on what I was going to do that day, and he stopped me before I could get started.
He said simply, "Brian, I pay you to think." That may not sound like much of a
coaching moment, but a) that happened almost 24 years ago and I still
remember it to this day; and b) it reminded me that I knew what I had to do - I
simply had to do it. Of course, my coach wouldn't allow me to do anything stupid
- so we still had check-ins throughout the week - but he also wanted me to know
that it was not his job to babysit me. I can only hope that any players of direct
reports of mine with whom you would speak would tell you the same thing about

Jonathan Mensch: Project Manager and Training Director
at Qiagen
When working with sales reps in the field, one thing that I found worked best for
me was to never rush the coaching. I would plan for 3 working days in the field
with each rep. Day 1, the morning was spent catching up (building rapport and
trust), reviewing call objectives for the next few days, and review account plans
and calls planned. Days 1.5, 2 and 3 (morning) were spent making calls with the
rep and focusing on 1 or 2 key areas of development agreed to with the rep...also
by the end of the 3rd day you got to see all types of calls from the rep's favorite
customers to cold calls. The second half of Day 3 I always spent wrapping up the
prior 3 days, reviewing the coaching feedback, setting action plans with the rep,
and scheduling the next trip. When I employ this type of coaching with my team
and the results were amazing (target reps were the core performers, high
performers focused on continued support, but typically not working on
improvements to their skill sets). Our region was last in the country in March, by
year end we were 3rd, and by the end of the next year we ranked 1st and held
that top spot for 2 more years.

Coaching helped me in my career by helping me to develop good listening skills.

Listening well is the cornerstone to effective coaching, and being a good listener
translates into many more areas than just coaching. Try it sometime, listen to
really understand the other person and their perspective, their point of view. You
will have a very different conversation when you begin understanding
conversations from the other person's point of view.

Charles Flad: Senior Sales Representative at InPro
The biggest enjoyment of coaching is going through a workflow process with
newer employees. Initially they will struggle and feel overwhelmed; however,
when sitting with them and going over what can be done to 1) help them better
understand what they are doing and 2) find ways to make it more efficient, they
leave feeling more confident in their decisions. This in turn allows them to
accomplish tasks faster which can leave them with time to accomplish other
tasks and lower their stress level. Coaching helps me look at myself through my
managers eyes. Rather than be someone that is reactionary I can anticipate what
is going to be discussed and prepare myself accordingly.

Melinda Curtis: Customer Service Manager at Holt Dental
My first experience in coaching came when I first entered the office working
environment out of school. I was surprised by how similar customer service was
from a manufacturing standpoint versus the retail industry, yet there were
multiple ways they were different. I was learning all of these differences on top of
learning a small amount of inside sales (i.e., cross selling and upselling). This
was all so exciting for me and I really opened my mind to trying new things and
not being afraid of change. The company I was working for at the time was
working with a consulting company called Sales Progress, and Tim Hagen was
coaching all of our sales reps and customer service reps. I knew nothing of
coaching or consulting for that matter but I kept a positive attitude and decided I
was going to take as much information as I could and use this to better my skill
and the companies (and my) bottom dollar.

One of the first things Tim started working on with us all was role playing. Now, I
was pretty shy and not really confident with myself being from retail and now in
manufacturing, but we would all have to sit in a conference room and Tim would
hand out a scenario on paper and he would pick 2 people to play out the scene.
One person was a CSR and the other person was a customer. I was lucky at
first, he didn't choose me right away, but I knew my day was coming that I would
have to role play, in front of about 10 coworkers! When that day came, I was
handed my scenario and a co-worker and I were sent off to get through this role
play. At the time I didn't think of it much as an opportunity to grow and learn, but
just what's the quickest way to get through this without embarrassing myself! So
off we went and I proceeded to turn my chair and face the wall...

Everyone was looking at me (of course I couldn't tell) and finally Tim said
"Melinda, what in the world are u doing?" I responded with “Well Tim, I can't
focus or concentrate on what I'm doing with everyone looking at me so if I look at
the wall I can actually put myself into this role and act out how and what I would
say!” As you can imagine it wasn't my best work but it was one of those times in
my life I look back and think "Wow I’ve come along way!” I've come so far since
then including my current role as a customer service manager where I use most
of what I learned with my team today. Days when I struggle with certain
employees or situations, I find myself asking the question, "What would Tim do”
or "what would a good coach do to turn this negative into a positive". I do believe
that keeping a positive attitude and leading by example is a must! Using the
coaching skills I've been taught with Sales Progress helps make my team the
very best we can be!
Zoren Krecak: Education Market Manager at InPro
There are two factors that made Tim a great coach.
1 He made you think for yourself, it was a method that I fought in the
beginning but now understand that he wanted me to develop and evolve
as a salesperson instead of a “baby in a high chair” being spoon fed.
2 Tim brought it to your level, where you didn’t feel as if you were “in
trouble”, but here is a weakness, let’s make it a strength.

Chapter 7: Coaching Thoughts and Quotes

We have compiled the following quotes that elevate one’s awareness to the
power of coaching. Each quote has its own page dedicated to it as we feel its
important to let each one stand on its own.

Let Your Mind Expand

“I won't accept anything less than the best a player's capable of doing, and he
has the right to expect the best that I can do for him and the team.”
-Lou Holtz (Notre Dame Football Coach)

“Shoot from anywhere you want and have fun” (the air ball does all the coaching
for me and the kids need to feel the freedom to shoot to build confidence)
-Tim Hagen, Youth Basketball Coach

“Coaching is a profession of love. You can't coach people unless you love them.”
-Eddie Robinson

“I learn teaching from teachers.
I learn golf from golfers.
I learn winning from coaches.”
-Harvey Penick

“I don't believe in team motivation. I believe in getting a team prepared so it
knows it will have the necessary confidence when it steps on a field and be
prepared to play a good game.”
-Tom Landry (Dallas Cowboys Football Coach)

“My responsibility is leadership, and the minute I get negative, that is going to
have an influence on my team.”
-Don Shula (Miami Dolphins Football Coach)

“Leadership, like coaching, is fighting for the hearts and souls of men and getting
them to believe in you.”
-Eddie Robinson (Grambling College Football Coach)

“To solve big problems you have to be willing to do unpopular things.”
-Lou Holtz

“What makes a good coach? Complete dedication.”
-George Halas

“The secret to winning is constant, consistent management.”
-Tom Landry

“We would accomplish many more things if we did not think of them as
-Vince Lombardi

“Coaching is an action, not a title and actions result in successes!”
-Byron & Catherine Pulsifer

“Coaches have to watch for what they don't want to see and listen to what they
don't want to hear.”
-John Madden

“If you don't make a total commitment to whatever you're doing, then you start
looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It's tough enough getting
that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and
starts putting his jacket on.”
-Lou Holtz

“Probably my best qualities as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions
and let the person come up with the answer.”
-Phil Dixon

“A good coach will make his players see what they can be
rather than what they are.”
-Ara Parasheghian

“The fewer rules a coach has, the fewer there are for a player to break.”
-John Madden

“I found out that if you are going to win games, you had better be ready to adapt.”
-Scotty Bowman

“Winning is only half of it.
Having fun is the other half.”
-Bum Phillips

“Coaching is nothing more than eliminating mistakes before you get fired.”
-Lou Holtz

“Invest in others and they will in turn invest in themselves”
-Tim Hagen

“Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what
makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the
world needs is people who have come alive.”
-Harold Whitman

Inspirational Quotes from Pat Riley (Los Angeles Laker’s
I love Pat Riley because he obsesses about coaching and getting the most out of
his players. Here are some of his inspirational quotes.
"There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either IN or you're
OUT. There's no such thing as life in-between."

"There's always the motivation of wanting to win. Everybody has that. But a
champion needs, in his attitude, a motivation above and beyond winning."

"There's no such thing as coulda, shoulda, or woulda. If you shoulda and coulda,
you woulda done it."

"To have long term success as a coach or in any position of leadership, you have
to be obsessed in some way."

"When you're playing against a stacked deck, compete even harder. Show the
world how much you'll fight for the winner's circle. If you do, someday the
cellophane will crackle off a fresh pack, one that belongs to you, and the cards
will be stacked in your favor."

"You have no choices about how you lose, but you do have a choice about how
you come back and prepare to win again."

"A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning."

"A particular shot or way of moving the ball can be a player's personal signature,
but efficiency of performance is what wins the game for the team."

"Being a part of success is more important than being personally indispensable."

"Being ready isn't enough; you have to be prepared for a promotion or any other
significant change."

"Discipline is not a nasty word."

"Don't let other people tell you what you want."

"Each Warrior wants to leave the mark of his will, his signature, on important acts
he touches. This is not the voice of ego but of the human spirit, rising up and
declaring that it has something to contribute to the solution of the hardest
problems, no matter how vexing!"

"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better."

"Giving yourself permission to lose guarantees a loss."

"Great effort springs naturally from a great attitude."

"If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort,
eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for
greater challenges."

"Look for your choices, pick the best one, then go with it."

"Management must speak with one voice. When it doesn't management itself
becomes a peripheral opponent to the team's mission."

"People who create 20% of the results will begin believing they deserve 80% of
the rewards."

Inspirational Quotes from Vince Lombardi (famous Green
Bay Packer Coach)
As an avid Green Bay Packer fan, I love the Vince Lombardi quotes because
they get you thinking, and it’s hard to argue with his success:

“I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he
holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause
and lies exhausted on the field of battle - victorious.”

“Winners never quit and quitters never win.”

“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength,
not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

“It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up.”

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a
while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time.
Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect.”

“Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a

company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

“Dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the
price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you're
willing to pay the price.”

“The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the
determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves
to the task at hand.”

“Show me a good loser, and I'll show you a loser.”

“Football is like life - it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice,

dedication and respect for authority.”

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

“If you can accept losing, you can't win.”

“Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing.”

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football
defenses, or the problems of modern society.”

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.”

“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.”

“If winning isn't everything, why do they keep score?”

“The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to

excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

“Leaders are made, they are not born. They are made by hard effort, which is the
price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal that is worthwhile.”

“Leaders aren't born they are made. And they are made just like anything else,
through hard work. And that's the price we'll have to pay to achieve that goal, or
any goal.”

“Coaches who can outline plays on a black board are a dime a dozen. The ones
who win get inside their player and motivate.”

Inspirational Quotes from Tommy Lasorda (World
Champion Los Angeles Dodger Manager)
I was never a Los Angeles Dodger fan, but I always admired Tommy Lasorda’s
way of coaching. His passion was so obvious it was infectious to his players:

“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's

“There are three types of baseball players: those who make it happen, those who
watch it happen, and those who wonder what happens.”

“I bleed Dodger blue and when I die, I'm going to the big Dodger in the sky.”

“Guys ask me, don't I get burned out? How can you get burned out doing
something you love? I ask you, have you ever got tired of kissing a pretty girl?”

“I love doubleheaders. That way I get to keep my uniform on longer.”

“Listen, if you start worrying about the people in the stands, before too long
you're up in the stands with them.”

“About the only problem with success is that it does not teach you how to deal
with failure.”

“When we win, I'm so happy I eat a lot. When we lose, I'm so depressed, I eat a
lot. When we're rained out, I'm so disappointed I eat a lot.”

“Always give an autograph when somebody asks you.”

“Baseball is like driving, it's the one who gets home safely that counts.”

“I believe managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly
you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it.”

“My theory of hitting was just to watch the ball as it came in and hit it.”

“No, we don't cheat. And even if we did, I'd never tell you.”

“People say you can't go out and eat with your players. I say why not.”
“The only way I'd worry about the weather is if it snows on our side of the field
and not theirs.”

“Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of
pressure, it's because you've started to think of failure.”

Quotes are so powerful especially from those who have achieved success. Can
you use these quotes? Can your employees? The key is to use these quotes not
only as reminders but tools to stop people from thinking, “I can‘t do this.” I was
reciting some of these quotes during a recent visit to my partner’s home in

I recently visited Arizona to visit my friend and business partner Ron. One of his
suggestions was to hike Pinnacle Peak which took about two hours. The peak
had a trail that were steep going up and down, thus challenging anyone’s
stamina. I was really feeling it as I began to ascend, and it started to challenge
me aerobically. As my legs weakened, I thought, "Why was there not a sign at
the foot of the trail saying ‘Warning: Fat People from Wisconsin Should Not
Attempt This’?”

My partner suggested I could wait at half way point and he could bring the car
around. I thought “Would I let a client stop half-way? No Way!” I pushed forward
periodically stopping but mentally telling myself. "You can do this.” As we entered
the last mile, we met a woman who said the first time she did the peak she was
exhausted and red in the face, but she assured me not as red as I was. I actually
started to feel good and push myself a little bit more.

So, why is this a great lesson? I kept taking short walks and stopping to gather
myself before progressing forward. I think that sounds like something we have
been reading all along. That is just what coaching is all about. It is not about
getting it all done at once. Instead, it is about pacing yourself and not expecting
too much too soon out of us and our people. This does not detract from the fact
we need to push forward.

I sincerely hope this helps, and if you are from Arizona could someone call the
Arizona Parks and get that sign put up for Wisconsin People!

Chapter 8: Coaching Blogs

Important: Training and Coaching
After a long weekend, most people find it a struggle to get back into the work
grind. The same can be said about training. Weeks after a seminar or workshop,
employees find it difficult to change their day-to-day work. It is up to managers to
put training reinforcement and coaching into place. The two methods are
different, but using both together can amplify results.

Training reinforcement involves practice. Managers can use techniques such as

group, one-on-one, peer-to-peer and self-directed practice. During each session,
sales reps should be asked to demonstrate something that they have learned.
They can involve themselves in role-playing and “teach-the-teacher," which asks
the rep to show how to use a product or demonstrate how they would leave a
voicemail. The most important part of training reinforcement is the continuation of
learning. Employees need to be improving their skills, and this can only be done
with reinforcement.

Coaching, on the other hand, focuses more on measuring improvement. When

managers meet one-on-one with their employees they should be marking down
where they see improvements and where they see a need for change. They can
use the teach-the-teacher method to see how well employees comprehend what
they are learning. They can also use the self-directed learning technique. Each
week managers can ask their employees to write down three ways that they used
seminar training throughout their workday; then, they will see that their sales rep
is actually improving.

Training reinforcement and coaching are two techniques that managers can use
to help their sales reps enhance their performance, especially if they have just
returned from a workshop or seminar.

4 Coaching Tips for Employees About Ride-a-Long's with
Below are a few coaching tips to increase the learning opportunities when riding
along with sales reps for observation:

 Always debrief at the end of the day or in the car on the way to the next
appointment. Most importantly, be absolutely sure the client is out of
earshot. It can be very discouraging and detrimental to a potential deal for
a client to hear you critiquing and coaching the rep.
 There will certainly be things you will uncover that your rep must work on.
However, don’t lay them all out on the table at once because this could be
overwhelming. Present only 2-3 potential areas of improvement, and
make notes of others to be brought up at a later date. Bringing up 16
issues is a good way to get your rep to go on the defensive and shut
down. Plus, even the quickest learners can only effectively work on a few
issues at a time while producing real results.
 Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Speak, coach and
encourage your rep in the same ways you would want a manager to do
for you.
 Keep your distance. You are there to help, but most importantly, you are
there to observe your employee's strengths and weaknesses. Resist the
urge to try and step in and try to “save” every opportunity. This
immediately takes credibility away from the rep. Should any opportunities
be lost, treat it as a great learning opportunity for you to coach. Real
world scenarios are the best teachers.

Coaching Employees with Bad Attitudes
As coaches, managers and employees, we have certainly come across the occasional
(or regular) recruit with a bad attitude. They don’t want to be a team player, and they
complain about policy, other people and management. In general, they make the work
atmosphere uncomfortable. These bad apples can certainly spoil the entire bunch if not
dealt with, but how do you deal with these types of people successfully?

Communication is the cornerstone of any successful coaching program. When dealing

with an employee with a bad attitude try this coaching method to get them out of their
funk. First, set up a coaching meeting. Whether it’s lunch, coffee or a request for an office
meeting, set up a designated time for both of you to meet and discuss performance.
Next, confront the issue head on, in a non-confrontational way, by asking questions.
Sometimes employees are unaware of the impression they are giving off; so, simply
bringing their behavior to their attention may be a quick fix to the problem. For example:

“George, we brought you to our company because we liked your skill set and because we
believe you make a great addition to our team. You accepted the position along with its
pay, responsibilities and existing team. Now, you seem to be not quite satisfied with the
situation. Is there something you're frustrated with that we could discuss?”

“George, yesterday after the new policy was presented, you got up quickly and left the
room seemingly upset. What do you think the impression was of other team members in
regards to that reaction?”

Once you have confronted the issue, have them elaborate on what may be upsetting
them. Make sure to ask A LOT of questions.
“Could you elaborate on that issue a little more….”
“Help me understand…”
“On a scale of 1-10 how serious of an issue is this for you…”

Lastly, work on a solution together. The questions below are great for starting off the
“What do you think would help us improve this situation…”
“What do you need, and what role can I play in solving this issue…”
“What do you think should be done…”

Coaching employees with bad attitudes can be difficult, but if handled properly, everyone
can end up benefitting.

Why Coaching Programs Should be Focused on the Future
Over the next 10 years, Gen X-ers will be needed to take over the positions left
behind by the baby boomer generation. While this seems like an obvious
statement, what is not obvious is what companies should be doing to prepare this
new generation, or even how to keep them around long enough to fill the
positions that will be opening.

Recent reports point to GenX-ers as being the first group who will jump ship as
the economy strengthens. This new generation of workers consider themselves
fast trackers, and they feel frustrated and stuck in their careers as they wait for
the baby boomers to retire. This frustration is leading to a lack of engagement.

What are you doing to keep or attract this next generation of young

A strong employee coaching program can help in the fight to keep, attract, and
prepare this generation. They are fast –trackers, and even if you can’t provide
them with quick promotions or pay increases you can give them a bit of your time
to increase their skills and responsibilities. This generation historically chooses
amenities like working close to home or flexible work schedules over higher
salaries. This means that there are other way to entice Gen X-ers. Keeping this
generation from feeling frustrated by engaging with them, praising their efforts,
and generally letting them know they are not being completely overshadowed
and forgotten by their baby boomer counterparts.

By continually coaching them, you are simultaneously preparing them for their
future promotions while keeping them engaged enough in the company to stick
around until those opportunities are available. If there is no light (or promotion) at
the end of the tunnel, you will lose their interest and their work for your company.
Take the time now and reap the benefits of this talented workforce later.

The Most Effective Coaching Tool is Engagement
Engagement with your employees is the most effective coaching tool you have.
People remember the things in the morning and towards the end of the day best.
So, engaging with your employees at the start of the day and the end is a great
way to ensure that employees are retaining information. How are you beginning
your morning or leaving your team at the end of the day?

Say good morning, and ask a simple question that is much more engaging than,
"How are you?" After you ask your specific questions, use your communication
skills and actively listen to how they respond.

Towards the end of the day, try to do something nice to make sure you finish on
a positive note. Send out an email announcing someone’s accomplishments, or
leave a note congratulating the team.

Small coaching tools like these allow for improved morale and solidarity, both of
which are also positive traits for an organization with a successful coaching
culture. Successful coaching cultures lead to improved skill sets and productivity;
so, taking a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day can positively affect
your bottom line, and that makes it worth your time.

The Coaching Diet
How many times have you heard that you should eat 4-6 small meals a day in
order to get better results in weight loss and energy? Many times I'm sure, but
what does this have to do with training employees?

Think of typical training (a workshop or seminar) as a huge dinner. When it’s

over, you feel uncomfortable, groggy and maybe a little overwhelmed. A typical
training session can take anywhere from a half today to even a full week, and at
the end, you feel uncomfortable, and there is a good chance that you will forget
most of what you learned.

Now think about how great and energized you feel after eating smaller meals or
snacks throughout the day. This is also how training is best digested, in small
portions. Research shows adults remember and learn more in the long run when
information is fed to them a little at a time over an extended period. Feed
information a little bit at a time to give employees the opportunity to digest the
details. With this tactic, new or expanding content can be broken down and built
upon to create a strong foundation and ultimately a wealth of knowledge.

When considering your next taste of training, pick a program that will have great
results and make you feel great not groggy.

7 Reasons Your Organization Needs Business Coaching
We constantly talk about the importance of coaching, but why should your
organization take an interest? Here are the top 7 reasons why your organization
needs to coach its employees.

 Employee retention skyrockets with coaching. Research proves coaching

increases employee retention, which therefore decreases hiring costs.
 Managers who get close to employees and understand their work can
solve real world challenges. A manager's knowledge is one of the best
resources an organization can have. Coaching allows managers to have
insight into their employee’s work, which allows them to apply their
knowledge specifically to real world issues.
 Coaching creates better succession planning due to internal talent
 Coaching creates an organizational energy of growth and learning.
 Programs build coaches within all leadership circles. The more coaches
an organization has, the more “performance-improving” employees it will
 Business requires employees to constantly grow and develop new skill
sets. Organizations with managers who are coaching create a competitive
edge because they become more adaptable to needed change and
 Employees who experience a continuous increase in skills and work
performance actually become more open to change and challenges. This,
in itself, is enough to start an organization wide coaching initiative.

Coaching and Challenging Sales People
I often laugh when I hear people say they could never do sales. When I ask why,
they fear being rejected and hearing the word "no." It hit me that that is why so
many people actually fail at sales. They hear the word "no" so often. The sad fact
is that they should never hear that word. Especially if they follow a simple sales
 Ask open-ended questions. These usually start with "what" or "how"
 Stop talking & listen
 Address what the client said and seek a way to help or solve a problem
That's it, and isn't that really what sales is supposed to be about? We are there to
find out how we can help customers. Most sales people have preconceived
notions of what they are going to say or do in a sales call. What a BIG mistake.
This means they are just saying things instead of listening. This is the biggest
mistake I see when working with clients.

Mistakes in sales are usually very subtle and are attributed to a lack of sales
planning. Smart planning, though, should involve thinking about what questions
to ask to find out a customer's needs. Then plan out possible solutions to that
 Why are most people hesitant to deal with salespeople? They are too
pushy. They talk too much. They do not listen. I don't think I need to
continue! Here are the top mistakes salespeople make:
 They ask close ended questions (questions that require a "yes" or "no"
 They have no planned or defined questioning sequence.
 They rarely listen to what clients say because they are already thinking of
what they want to say next.
 Their call objectives are usually centered on the notion of what they want
to do as opposed to seeking information to help the client. This mentality
pigeonholes their thought process.
 Salespeople like to think they know what they are doing. The attitude is
centered on the perception they have mastered sales. Sales is NOT an
event you simply master. It is a process you can always get better at.
So, how do we help salespeople succeed? How can we get salespeople to
perform better? The first thing we need to do is break down the basics of sales
techniques into very simple components. Next, we need to condition their
behaviors to follow the sales components. The trick is to teach people how to
break their habits and accept ones that may be different but more helpful. It
sounds easy, but it never is. Sales people hate to change. Start off slowly.
Encourage salespeople to come up with at least one new question before each
sales call. This will ultimately require reps to ask and listen.

Sales can be really easy if we focus on what we should be learning about

customers. Think about what questions provide the best information, and try to
solve/address a customer's issues. Sales people often have their own way of
doing things, but let's challenge them to look at the fundamentals.

8 Key Attributes to a Successful Coaching Culture
Defining a sales coaching culture at any organization can be difficult because
coaches can take different directions. However, there are certain shared
attributes that will show if an organization has truly created a coaching culture.

 Coaching cannot be a departmental activity. The management team must

cooperatively and consistently drive performance using the same
methods and techniques throughout the organization.
 A coaching culture has managers openly discussing performance issues
and techniques to drive performance across departmental lines.
 Management cooperatively engages with one another to drive
 Successful companies produce employees who feel challenged and
inspired for personal development, career growth and continuous pursuit
of helping the organization’s bottom line.
 The organization has embraced a specific goal for performance
 Coaching should not be viewed as a task to be completed but rather as a
unique opportunity. The true relationship should be centered around the
opportunity coaching not only provides the employee but also the
 Managers value coaching and simultaneously admit their need to be
better coaches.
 All coaching and training leverages “real world” issues and solutions.

Reasons to Coach Your Employees in this Economy
The difference between managers and leaders can be a blurred line. As the year
comes to an end and reps begin to stress about hitting end of year goals, the
difference in performance of teams managed and those coached can be
astronomical. A true coach will want to see how their people changed and grew.
Their quotas will not be the only focus. Take this opportunity to lead your team to
success, and not let them hide behind excuses. It’s been a tough year for most,
use this as an opportunity to emerge as a coach by inspiring your staff to do

The end of the year can make any employee stressed. Show your people,
especially the struggling ones, you are there to help. Spend a few extra minutes
a day encouraging or complimenting them. Their output to customers will be
more professional and less frantic. Also, make sure to remind them there ARE
deals out there. Employees that give up are a reflection of your leadership.
Coaching shows great leadership and breeds the mentality “never give up”. So,
what are you going to do when they show signs of quitting? I would bet you
would want them to keep working hard. It is easy to make excuses for low sales
because of the economy or shrinking end of year budgets, but those are just
excuses. The truly skilled professionals know there are still sales to be won out
there, and it is your job to remind your people of that fact.

Sometimes at the end of the year, reps are scared about not hitting their
numbers and may not be in the right mind set to close deals. To solve this
problem, ask questions and listen for opportunities to coach. Sometimes just the
act of getting them to admit their fears out loud is enough to get them to begin to
work past them. Your reps are your kids. They are a reflection of you whether
you like it or not. Don’t assume they cannot finish the year strong. If you do, they
will read into it and give themselves permission to not try. Continue to coach
them and show them you believe in their capabilities.

Engage Your Way to Better Employees and More Sales
Managers need to come up with new ways to engage with their employees. They
can start by properly utilizing business time. Instead of e-mailing or messaging
content, make a phone call or walk down to you employee's office to hand them
the papers. Hopefully, this showing can convince your workers to do the same
thing. Encourage them to pick up to the phone to call a client instead of sending
that long e-mail. Employees should even be encouraged to go out to customer
sites. By taking the time to work on a problem face-to-face, a client's job can be
completed faster, and he will understand your company's commitment level.

Non-business time is another opportunity for engagement and example setting.

You should look to attend non-mandatory events in your field or your customer's
field. Managers can bring employees with them to trade shows or conferences. It
is here that you will run into your customers or better yet, future clients. This
method of engagement shows your support for your clients and their industry.

The organization's bottom line is one way to motivate others to be engaged.

Challenge yourself to find creative tactics that will help the company. Make a true
commitment to your goals and stick with it. By the end of the year, you will be
looking at significant results. Furthermore, if your employees see how hard you
are working to succeed, they will be more likely to do the same. Engagement is
important, and as the manager, it is important that you lead by example and

Shut Down The Management Machine
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different
- Albert Einstein

At some point, even the best of us fall victim to the insanity game. Most of us
eventually realize the faux pas and snap ourselves out of the episode, but
sometimes we get in so deep that we need someone else to step in and snap us
out. So, to all sales leaders who are still managing employees, “It is time to snap
out of it!”

Management is the exact act of doing same thing over and over again and
expecting different results. I hear the same excuses over and over:
“We send employees to training”
“I Hire ‘good’ people”
“We have a great e-learning system or portal”
“I tell my people what I need”

Yet these statements are never followed with, “…and it is working great. I have
the best, most knowledgeable, high performing employees.” These methods of
management are not working. Employee after employee fails out, loses interest,
becomes discourage and under performs. Still though, every new employee is
entered into the same management machine, and every time different results are

Shut down the management machine. Try engaging, motivating and inspiring
employees…try coaching. What do you really have to lose?

Office Projects Made FUN...well, as fun as possible!
Every employee knows that not all office projects are prestigious, inspiring tasks
that are exciting to be a part of. Sometimes they are just average, dare I say
boring, projects that need to get done. When your project needs to be assigned
and no one is chomping at the bit to volunteer, try another method. Pick a group
or pair employees together for the projects and follow the outline below.

Have employees get into groups or partners and take on the project together. Set
a minimal amount of requirements and supervision, and only involve yourself
where absolutely necessary. This will allow the group to truly own the project and
inspire them to be creative.

The group or pair can divide up the project between themselves if applicable.
The project team should schedule regular meetings monthly, weekly, bi-weekly;
whatever timeline fits best to finish the project by the deadline. Encourage
employees to think outside the box as to when or where they meet. Oftentimes,
after hours or off site locations can inspire and motivate employees to work
better. Allow the team to develop a plan of attack for the project as they see best
fit, even if it may be a little outside of standard operation procedures. This can
help project teams to create a new, more efficient procedure or policy for the
project that can be adopted department or companywide.
Since you will not be involved in the planning of the project, ask the project team
submit their plan outlining crucial details, responsibilities and schedule.
Employees should continue to meet as well as track one another’s progress, and
they should help each other work through any issues that may arise.

Once the project has been successfully completed, ask employees to give a brief
presentation on the results or outcome of the project to the entire staff. The
presentation will give the employees involved in the project an opportunity to
share with their peers how they tackled the project, what they learned from the
process and any noteworthy accomplishments. The presentation will validate the
work and the effort the team put into the project. Who knows, maybe it will inspire
other staff members to volunteer for future projects!

4 Sales Training Techniques to Give You a Competitive
“Sales without Customer Service is like stuffing money into a pocket full of holes.”
-David Tooman

With millions of companies out there, how do you make yours stand out? You
need to have a competitive edge. You can have flashy promotions and expensive
advertisements to draw customers, but it is going to be your employees that
make or break a sale.

Managers need to make sure that sales reps have extensive knowledge of
product, but more than that, they need to be personable, friendly, and reachable
(available for customer needs). Higher-level management should provide sales
teams with constant coaching so that they can land more clients. When it comes
to sales training, there are four steps that managers need to take in order to be
1. Base Training
Base training usually comes in the form of a workshops, webinars, or e-
learning courses. The sessions should be short, and they should occur over a
period of time. It is important to recognize that training reinforcement is
necessary because as a study by Sales Performance International found,
participants in sales training seminars forget half of what is taught within 5
2. Practice
Practice sessions do not need to be painful or even uncomfortable. Facilitating
practice or role-play sessions is critical for people to develop positive and
consistent selling habits.
3. Coaching
Coaching does not mean telling an employee what to do when they have a
problem. Instead, managers need to help sales reps through their issue. It is
about asking questions and letting reps come to the decision or solution on
their own
4. Feed the Mind
The key to feeding the salesperson’s mind is to facilitate learning using simple
things like books and articles. A critical component of doing this is to build in

5 Time Management Tips
Recently while driving down the expressway, as if I peered to my left to see a
woman applying her make-up in traffic. I thought to myself, "How often do you
feel like there just aren't enough hours in the day, especially at work?" Time, or
lack of it, is an ongoing struggle for many managers. Not only are they managing
staff to ensure their work is done, but they also have their own work that needs to
be attended to.
If you constantly find yourself asking how you can find more time, there are some
simple, yet productive, ways that we can use to better manage our time and
achieve success.

Set aside dedicated, uninterrupted time. If you know that your staff starts at 8
am, be there at 7 am to allow yourself time with no interruptions. You will be able
to get to things that need your attention without being bothered. Down time
periods are the best time to do this.

Have your voicemail reflect your schedule changes. A good method to deal
with this is to have your voicemail indicate that you will not be available until "x"
time, and have your receptionist hold your calls as well. This will allow you to give
full attention to the task at hand.

Ensure that your staff is notified of your availability. It is also critical that they
are aware of who should be contacted at that time for matters that come up that
may require a manager's attention. Many times this task can be fulfilled by a
senior rep or handled once you are available. By letting staff know in advance,
they will have an opportunity to get any questions/concerns answered prior to
that time.

List items that need to be accomplished during this time. Often people will
find other things that derail them from completing the task they originally set out
to do. If you have a monthly report due but there are 5-6 other task that could use
your attention, then you need to prioritize what is the most important and in what
order you are going to address the items that need your attention.

Time management does not have to be difficult but it does require practice. By
carefully monitoring your time and setting aside uninterrupted time to work on
your tasks, you will find it easier to get to more things done. That short amount of
time can provide amazing benefits for both yourself and your team!

Positive Coaching = Sales Progress
I have two distinct memories from my childhood. The first involved my mom
picking me up from soccer practice as I sat on the side of the field crying. My
coach had yelled at me for playing poorly (I wasn’t exactly the next David
Beckham), and I just wanted to go home. The second revolved around my first
few days of t-ball. I was new to the team and had never played before, but my
coach eased my worries and took the time and effort to teach me how to be good
at the game, for which team do you think I enjoyed playing and excelled at?

Managers and supervisors can learn from their childhood days. No one wants to
play for the coach that is constantly yelling on the sidelines, berating his or her
players. That coach may see results in the beginning, but I highly doubt that the
players are enjoying what they are doing enough to return to that team year after
year. When it comes to the workplace, employees want to be in an environment
that offers positive feedback and coaching. Great salespeople do not perform as
effectively in a place that constantly downplays their achievements. The most
effective salespeople are the ones that are satisfied with their job and take
pleasure in what they do, and I’m willing to bet that these happy employees don’t
work for bosses that are always criticizing and yelling.

Oftentimes, an employee will make a mistake, and a manager will need to

confront them, but there are certain approaches that they can take to make a
meeting more beneficial to both parties. Instead of beginning the conversation by
immediately accusing the employee of doing something wrong, ask him how he
thinks he is performing and if he believes that he needs to improve anywhere.
Use positive language when you are talking to them because people will tune
you out once you start telling them what they are bad at, and you won’t see any
good results from the conversation.

If you yell at employees and don’t treat them well, then you may as well be
saying goodbye to your salespeople and their clients. Take the time to invest in
creating a positive work environment, and you will begin to see your sales

Even Ron Artest (Meta World Peace , Forward for the Los
Angeles Lakers) Can Teach Us a Thing or Two about
From infamous to famous, as most sports writers put it, Ron Artest has certainly
made quite the comeback. It has been a long road for Artest ever since that
brawl in Detroit, but it was one that he traveled well. There were many steps that
the new NBA champion had to take to restore his superstar status, and many of
these steps can be applied in the sales industry.

When it comes to coaching, there are many methods that you can take, but one
of the most effective, is the peer-to-peer coaching. Before he went to the Lakers,
Artest was a fantastic defensive player, but he tried to play every role and that
was not always possible. When he paired up with Kobe Bryant, Artest
immediately settled back into his defensive game, since he now had a partner
that would create balance. By having employees sit down with one another, they
can open the lines of communication and target areas of development. It will also
foster team development and build performance levels.

In order to be a good coach, you have to be able to define with which of the four
tiers, knowledge, behavior, skills, and/or creative, your employee has a problem.
For Ron Artest, his problem with shooting was behavioral. After missing
important shots, he no longer had confidence in his scoring ability. However, with
the proper training techniques, he was able to make, undoubtedly, the most
important shot in game seven. There are a couple of ways to help a behavioral
problems in the office, such as cold calling. First, you can have an employee
watch and reflect a co-worker who may be an outstanding phone salesperson. Or
you can question back. Do not just give an employee the answer to a problem
they have; instead, turn the question back around and ask them what he thinks
he should do to become a better cold caller.

When Ron Artest needed someone to help him progress from frightened shooter
to calm, confidant basketball star, he called on the one person he knew could
coach him through his problems- his psychiatrist.

So, be there for your employees; and when their performance starts to rise,
they'll have you to thank...or their psychiatrists.

New survey demonstrates the importance of building leaders.
According to a recent survey by the Hay Group, 64% of the top 20 Best
Companies for Leadership, say their people are expected to lead even when they
are not in a position of authority, a mere 35% of average companies have this
mentality. By expecting that all employees demonstrate leadership skills they are
developing employees internally to move up their ranks. Strategies like this
reduce turn over and down time needed to train leaders brought in from outside
the company.

Another key finding from the Hay Group, employees from the top leadership
companies are more comfortable that their company will come out of tough times
stronger. These people trust their company's leaders to bring them through
tough times, and they worry less about losing their jobs therefore allowing them
to put their full energy into their work without the fear that they won't be around to
finish it.

So how much time does it take to develop these top leaders? According to the
same survey, 22% of the top companies report spending 25 plus days per year
training leaders, while only 16.4% of all respondents of the survey reported
spending 25 days per year developing their employees. With this said, top
companies spend about 2 days a month training their leaders. These companies
understand that this time is a great investment to their future.

What does all this tell us? Top companies have great leaders, and leaders come
from our people, so we need to spend the time and potentially the money on
management training to develop them. This training effort is an investment not
an expense and should always be seen as such.

Hazards of Coaching Your Weakest Performer
When coaching employees that perform at different levels, it is critical that you be
conscious of the amount of time you spend with each employee. You may
instinctively want to spend more time and effort working with your weakest
employee(s) to guide him or her to perform better. However, over-coaching your
weakest link can be risky. Coaching down to an underperforming employee is an
easy trap to fall into.

Weakly performing employees usually struggle with glaringly obvious issues,

which will entice you to jump right into problem solving coach mode. First, keep
an eye on your weakest employee(s) to observe his or her behavior and attitude.
More often than not, a destitute employee is aware that he or she is a mismatch
for the position and therefore has stopped trying to improve. They may exhibit
low participatory levels, become disengaged from his or her work, and even
begin searching for a new job. This is a bad investment scenario. You will be
squandering valuable coaching time trying to develop the skills of an employee
who does not intend on producing a return on your investment.

More importantly, you will be unintentionally ignoring your top performing

employee(s). Even though high performing employees may not have overt
weaknesses, he or she will have areas that are in need of improvement and
require your coaching attention. It is more logical for you to invest your time,
effort and guidance in a high performing employee who has historically produced
more sales/revenue. Simple ROI principles applies here.

When faced with splitting time between high and low performing employees, be
sure to evaluate the your employee’s level of commitment and dedication to grow
within your organization, and then decide how and with whom you will be
investing your coaching and development efforts with.

How to be the Doc Rivers (Head coach of Boston Celtics)
of the Sales World
So, you want to have a high performing sales team, but you don't know where to
start. You could try reading hundreds of training books, you could send your
employees to a seminar or you could have turned on the TV and watched the
NBA playoffs.
The Boston Celtics managed to transform from an average regular season team
that was thought to be too old to compete into a stellar playoff team that was a
force to be reckoned with. How did they do it though? Simple. practice,
determination and the non-stop coaching of Doc Rivers.

Every team has the same the same types of players: the Rajon Rondo's, who are
stars that everyone has to deal with; the Kevin Garnett's, who may be older but
still have something left to give; the Rasheed Wallace's, who simply seem un-
coachable; and the Paul Pierce's, who are worn out and tired. These types of
personalities are also found in the office. So, how do you overcome daunting
odds and make them into a championship playing team?

Just ask Doc Rivers who, over the span of his coaching career, has always
preached two things: have confidence in yourself and play as a team. As a
supervisor or manager of a sales team, really take those words to heart and
apply them to your coaching style. Don't mention what your salespeople do "bad"
or "wrong.” That deteriorates confidence. By leveraging people's strengths, you
will open their minds to what they need to improve upon. Realize the areas that
your team excels at as a whole and emphasize it. The Celtics are one of the top
defensive teams in the league, and Doc Rivers knows this; so, he makes sure
that no team member specializes only in offense.

Follow these tips, and you can think of yourself as coach of the year.

Training is leaving the classroom
According to independent consultant Joe DiDonato in his article “The Future
Workforce," training is leaving the classroom in favor of more interactive and
successful training methods. He looks to the emerging overload of new
information and proposes the best new model for training to be 20% classroom
learning, 30% non-classroom and 50% performance support.

It’s important to note that 80% is to occur outside of the classroom. Keep this in
mind as you consider your new training efforts. If the proposed program includes
only classroom training then you should reconsider it. Successful training now
requires more than one-day workshops. Training reinforcement activities,
management coaching and real world problem solving are all now imperative to
successful employee training and retention.

Research by Sales Performance International supports this shift. According to

their study, participants of typical sales training methods forget half of what is
taught within five weeks. Protect your investment in your employees by choosing
a program that supports retention of skills and changes in behavior.

Chapter 9: Resources

How do you measure coaching success? Validate & Re-Evaluate by using
score sheets, scorecards and dedicated observation to ascertain a specific
understanding of performance strengths and areas for improvement. Sales
Progress has created coaching forms to help track the progress of employees.

3 Tiers of Learning
Skill -Role-Play Scoring -Role-Playing & - -Show Me -Cold calling
-Act it Out Scoring -Demonstrate & -Closing
-Observe & score -Observation receive feedback -Up-Selling
-Simple Observation -Teach the Teacher -Getting past the
-Role-Play & receive gatekeeper
feedback -Getting past voicemail
-Uncovering client
needs through needs -
based questioning
-Active listening
Knowledge -Test -Test -Email & Explain -Product knowledge
-Teach the Teacher -Demonstration “What you have -Industry knowledge
learned” -Gaining customer
-Teach the Teacher knowledge
-Read & Write “What -Computer system
you learned” knowledge
-Present Case Study -Order process
& ask “What would knowledge
you do”
Behavioral -Brainstorming -Self-Analysis -Non-Industry -Dealing with client
-Role-Playing -Group explanation with high energy
-Skit Brainstorming -Email brainstorming -No fear of asking for
-Structured -“What would you exercises the order
Experiences do” – Using Case -What/How Would -Open to managers
Studies You Do – Case constructive feedback
Subjective Rating studies, article, etc… -Defensive about
Surveys tasks at hand.
I.E. making
customer calls
versus admin
tasks. If an
employee is
avoiding making
calls this could be
as a result of fear.

Coaching Types
30 Second The 30 second coaching Daily use is the best way to If an employee just had a great
sessions is just that: thirty encourage/develop sales call and you can quantify the
seconds of “specific” employees and build a self- reason why, stop by and say
feedback for an employee. sustaining culture something like: “Tim, you did a
Its design is to impart positive great job of really listening to that
or constructive feedback customer’s issues. Keep it up.”
within 30 seconds to Turn and walk away without saying
condition the mind to change. anything else.
Scheduled The focus should be on 1 or 2 The key is to meet 1-2 times A person who has a genuine fear of
(One-on-One) points, such as cold calling, weekly for at least 15-20 asking for the order may actually be
ability to upsell or cross-sell minutes. Managers should coached for 2-4 months. Practice
or overcoming the fear of schedule the sessions on a within each session to help build
asking for the order. The consistent basis. If it’s at all the confidence, skill and mentality
goal is to have scheduled possible, they should never to ask for the sale.
sessions to practice and work cancel the sessions. The
on those specific areas of goal is to develop and
performance that need to be improve those areas that help
improved. the bottom line
Peer-to-Peer Peer-to-Peer allows for staff Peer-to-Peer coaching is Let’s say staff was just introduced
to work on their performance great for skill development to a new product and they not only
without the manager being and should be done when need to know the product’s
present. This is usually done more than one person needs technical specifications but they
in groups of two or three help training. Typically, these have the ability to present to
are completed weekly. customers. Schedule practice/role-
playing sessions where each week
a different client scenario is
presented and staff has to practice
together. The staff can score one
another’s performance and turn the
sheets into the manager once
Group Group coaching is great for The groups should get Let’s say a new product is being
those themes or areas where together once or twice a introduced and the product has
all staff have to get better or week to work on a skill or multiple uses. A group coaching
improve performance. Again, behavior germane to session could be used for 6 weeks
this could be a new product, everyone. to build upon the week’s prior
procedure or new skill. lesson. Groups can practice, create
new sales approaches, sales
responses to objections, etc…
Self-Directed Self-Directed Learning is a Use with direct conjunction If an employee struggles with active
Learning (SDL) great way to challenge with main area(s) of need. listening then have the employee
employees on an individual email 3 new things they learn about
basis in regard to their every client with whom they interact
specific areas of for one week.

Coaching Techniques
Question Back Question Back challenges the employee If an employee states, “I do not know
to come up with their own idea, solution what to do with this client. They want me
or thoughts. This technique is particularly to give them a big discount.” The
effective for those employees who are manager could respond with, “What do
always just looking for the manager to you think you should do?”
tell them what to do.
3rd Party 3rd Party Question asks the question of If an employee struggles with asking for
Question an employee from a 3rd party the order and is somewhat apprehensive
perspective, thus not allowing them to or even defensive about opening up, a
think about a defense mechanism. manager could ask “If the Fairy
Godmother came down and asked you
why you struggle with this issue what
would you say to her?”
Hypothetically Hypothetically is similar to 3rd Party If an employee struggles with cold calling
Questioning, but it’s an useful way to get a manager could ask, “Hypothetically if
an employee to open up and be honest someone from a prior job were sitting
about what they need to do to get better. here right now, what would they say is
the reason you may be struggling with
cold calling?”
Non-Verbal Non-Verbal is a great way to challenge If an employee continually asks the
people. Silence is VERY powerful. same question and the manager has
exhausted all efforts to get the employee
to realize the issue is theirs, a manager
may get up, roll their eyes, throw their
hands up in the air and literally walk
away. This is aggressive but gives the
employee something to think about.
Tech Me or Teach Me is a great way to develop A new product is introduced and the
Demo Me skills and/or knowledge company has provided the traditional
training. You want to ensure they not
only know the product but also have the
ability to use that knowledge to sell
flawlessly. A manager may schedule
short “teach-the-teacher” session against
different customer scenarios on a bi-
daily basis.

Additional Coaching Techniques
E-mail E-mailing employees is a great way E-mail every employee one specific
to challenge, develop and grow message bi-daily to remind them of their
their performance areas. individual goals/tasks/objectives. Do NOT
write a global email to everyone to just save
time. Make sure the emails are specific to
each employee.
Voicemail Leave a specific voicemail late in Leave a powerful message for the employee
the p.m. after work or early in the to condition or remind them of what they
a.m. before work. This timestamp need to do. For example: “Bob, you made a
will show the employee you really lot of calls yesterday, great job! For today, if
care and want them to succeed. you can exceed that number by 10% I
Use of Clients Have a client call in or write a letter Bring the employee in, show the letter and
about an employee to provide ask them how they feel. Then ask “What are
further encouragement you going to do to ensure you get more
letters like this?”
Non-Verbal Leave a handwritten note or card Leave the message in specific regards to a
performance area. For example, if an
employee stays to help another employee
who is behind with paperwork to get caught
up. Leave a handwritten note saying, “Thank
you for helping Bob get caught up with his
Challenge & Use any of the delivery methods, If an employee closed 3 deals on the phone,
Reward but the key is to lay down a leave a voicemail or email challenging them.
challenge specific to the Have your message say something like,
employee’s performance. “Betty, great job closing 3 deals yesterday. If
you can close 5 deals today I will…” Give
them some kind of incentive to really push.
Peer Feedback & Have an executive higher than the Have the VP of Sales or even the President
Reward manager call, email or even leave leave a note in some fashion saying, “Tom, I
a note stating specific feedback to hear from your manager and others you are
condition employee to keep up the really starting to close more deals and are
good work pushing your business forward. Keep it up!

Factual Score Sheets
Performance Areas Tally Marks Total
# of Closed Ended Questions
# of Open Ended Questions
# of Benefits Delivered
# of Positive Adjectives
# of Interruptions
# of Cross-Selling Attempts
# of Up-Selling Attempts
# of Closing Attempts
# of Interruptions
# of Features used where
benefits should be used

Performance Area Ratings
1 2 3 4 5
Performance Area
Poor Fair Good Very Good Outstanding
Active Listening
Maintained energy from
start to finish
Understanding of
customer’s needs
Stayed focused on
customer’s needs
Benefits delivered direct
to customer needs
Use of open-ended
Use of close-ended
Positive adjectives
Handling of Interruptions

Presentation Score Sheet
1 4 Outstanding:
2 3
Presentation Area Absolutely Above Could teach
Fair Average
Sub-Par Average or demo
Presenter was prepared

Captured attention in first

60 seconds
Got audience engaged
within first 3 minutes
Presentation was
persuasive, not a
Presenter delivered case
studies & evidence to
support business
Maintained eye contact

Maintained positive body

Demonstrated great
energy & enthusiasm
Set stage for next
meeting with confidence
& dates

Sample Scoring Report to Drive Coaching
Performance Area Ratings Poor Fair Average Outstanding
Greeting/Introduction to Client
Voice fluctuation (tone)
Involuntary sounds (umm)
Enthusiasm & energy level
Questioning Skills
Ability to ask good questions
Ability to ask open-ended
Two-way interaction
Listening skills
Note taking
Industry Knowledge
Demonstrated expertise
Sales experience
Answered questions
Demonstrated knowledge
Added value through
product/industry knowledge
Overall Sales/Personal Presentation
Presented themselves effectively
Asked defined questions
Offered advice/feedback with
Created up/cross selling
Set tone for next step
Offered references/Case studies

Below is a list of blog and article sites for you to use and help with your coaching.
You can share them with your employees to help them with their performance
improvements as well.