Working with more than 700 leading sales organizations over three years, CEB developed Hypothesis-Based Coaching, a framework designed to address the most common pitfalls that cripple a coaching program’s positive impact on sales outcomes:
1. Generic Coaching Training Content:
Effective coaching programs must link to the organization’s sales model and address individual sales manager coaching challenges. Programs must be tailored to the sales manager, their team and the go-to-market strategy of the organization.
2. Discontinuous Coaching Approach:
Managers often see coaching as a sequence of separate events, similar to training, rather than an ongoing, continuous process where one coaching conversation is a continuation of the last. To solve this issue, embed a true coaching process within the normal workflow.
3. Blurred Lines between Coaching and Performance Management:
Managers must clearly differentiate these interactions and ensure that salespeople recognize a “safe” coaching environment. Address this by creating formal, scheduled coaching sessions that are clearly different from performance management discussions—inevitably the most common conversation in a sales organization.
4. Lack of an Effective Coaching Infrastructure:
Without the appropriate supporting “coaching infrastructure,” it is near impossible to sustain long-term coaching benefits. The most progressive organizations actively measure coaching effectiveness on an ongoing basis and fully engage second-line and senior managers in the process to ensure that coaching remains an ongoing priority, not a passing fad.
5. Managers’ Failure to Accurately Observe Behavior:
Managers often revert to teaching sales tactics that worked well for them rather than focusing on the new skills required to effectively coach in today’s environment. Critical to coaching today is the ability to correctly observe behavior and specify behavior change.
Managers should have a strong hypothesis surrounding the high-performance behaviors they should be coaching to before entering into coaching conversations with their salespeople. By having a clear picture of what they should be seeing, it becomes easier to observe and interpret sales behavior and in turn, have more prescriptive, objective coaching conversations.
Provided by Corporate Executive Board —What the Best Companies Do™ – Bloomberg Business Week
What’s in it for the Company employing coaches and trainers
Broad consensus on the benefits of coaching:
The benefits that are obtained are well recognized and varied. 95% of organizations believed coaching as a development tool benefited the organization, and 96% believed it benefited the individual. A broad range of specific benefits were identified including improvements in communication and inter-personal skills, leadership and management, conflict resolution, personal confidence, attitudes and motivation, management performance as well as preparation for a new role or promotion. ILM – institute of Leadership and Management
Coaching Paired With Training
A study featured in Public Personnel Management Journal reports that managers (31) that underwent a managerial training program showed an increased productivity of 22.4%. However, a second group was provided coaching following the training process and their productivity increased by 88%. Research does demonstrate that one-on-one executive coaching is of value.
by F. Turner, Ph.D. CEO Refresher 2001
Xerox Corporation carried out several studies on coaching. They determined that in the absence of follow-up coaching to their training classes, 87% of the skills change brought about by the program was lost.
Business Wire, July 30, 2001
Coaching & Sales Professionals
Michigan-based Triad Performance Technologies, Inc. studied and evaluated the effects of a coaching intervention on a group of regional and district sales managers within a large telecom organization. The third party research study cites a 10:1 return on investment in less than one year.
The study found that the following business outcomes were directly attributable to the coaching intervention:
Top performing staff, who were considering leaving the organization, were retained, resulting in reduced turnover, increased revenue, and improved customer satisfaction.
A positive work environment was created, focusing on strategic account development and higher sales volume.
Customer revenues and customer satisfaction were improved due to fully staffed and fully functioning territories.
Revenues were increased, due to managers improving their performance and exceeding their goals.
Many companies are still stuck in the old model of simply training their employees and then overtraining their employees.
Studies clearly demonstrate that leadership coaching consistently delivers business value where ROIs have generally been in the range of 500% to 700%. A 2004 study evaluated the business impact of Leadership Coaching at a Professional Services Firm and determined the ROI was 689% (factoring in the fully loaded cost of the coaching including opportunity cost associated with the time leaders spent being coached).
The main competencies that coaching assisted leaders to develop
- Included: Leadership behavior (82%)
- Building teams (41%) Developing staff (36%)
The leaders were very satisfied with their coaching experiences:
- 95% are doing things differently as a result of coaching, and 95% would recommend coaching to other company staff.
With the statistical evidence of “Return On Investment “of blending coaching with training, the obvious trend with continued awareness of these benefits. The coaching and training Blend will become a staple in every successful business
Training without coaching is entertainment it can either be a motivation to seek competent coaching from industry experts and trainers or it can be a cause for regret when you forget what you learned.
Note: A Duplicate report of this was also found at
ILM - institute of Leadership and Management
F.Turner, Ph.D. CEO Refresher 2001
Business Wire, July 30, 2001
Michigan-based Triad Performance Technologies, Inc.