How To Coach Your Team Members

As a manager, your toughest job may involve learning how to coach your team members. Some of your members will be easy to coach. But you also have resistant team members. You know who I’m talking about. Most organizations employ a brilliant networker who doesn't know how to conduct discovery. Or they have an employee who loves the idea of selling but won't stop talking long enough to listen to what the prospect wants.

This person might be resisting your coaching attempts. Or, they might be consistently failing to fit into the organization. Is there anything you can do to remedy the situation?

Assess Strengths and Weaknesses

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Amy Gallo encourages managers to assess what’s going on before jumping in with another strategy to ‘fix’ the employee. As you reflect on how to help, remember there’s a difference between coaching and issuing orders. Coaching is a time-consuming interactive process designed to guide an employee along a path to self-discovery and change. You may not have the time or resources to invest in this process. With a tool like SalesFuel COACH, your coaching job will be easier. To begin, you can ask your employee to take a sales skills assessment. The results will indicate where the employee needs help.

How To Coach Your Team Members

Review the results with your employee and talk about the skills you'd like to coach them on. If possible, get them to agree they want to work on these skills.  But if you agree coaching is the right path and you continue to encounter resistance, you need to get to the bottom of the problem.

Gallo suggests that when managers are upfront about the process, they may get more buy-in. Talk with your employee about exactly how you plan to proceed in the coaching program and tell them why. It’s important to establish the right tone in these conversations. You don’t want your employee to think you’re finding fault. They need to understand you’re trying to help them develop professionally, within the context of the organization’s expectations.

Two-Way Conversation

For some employees, a candid conversation won’t be enough. Continued resistance to your suggestions may be about lack of trust. You might need to take the next step. Try establishing a closer personal relationship. Build trust. Complement them on what they are doing right at every opportunity. You can also build trust by asking them which skills they want to improve.

Then, start coaching them on making small changes as they work toward achieving the goals that will allow them to be more successful in their role and as part of the organization. They may be more open to accepting your coaching efforts from that point.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.