I was asked for suggestions on a workshop a colleague was running called “Demand excellence in your sales team”. He was looking for content and opinions on how to shape the day. Here were my suggestions:

  • Leaders who must revert to demanding will fail. It is a strategy that only works for a short while. I would call it “Building excellent teams” or “Coaching for excellence”. A notion that Daniel Goleman put forth in Primal Leadership … the pacesetting style sets you on the path to failure and what you call the meeting will set the tone and expectation.
  • My themes would be:
    • Set clear expectations with the team (Performance, development, teamwork, etc.)
    • Follow up with regular 1:1s that are quality meetings. Not just a review of the funnel, but development and coaching events. Set the expectation of the leadership team.
    • Managers need to be in the field (so do executives). Participate with your sales team so that you can coach based on first hand experience. Participate in pre-call planning, sales calls and team activities.
    • Sales success and failure is a team event. Lead by example and invest in the success of your people. A personal motto – “I don’t think about how I will be personally successful. I spend all of my time thinking about how to make my teammates successful knowing that if they succeed, my success is guaranteed”

My 2 cents.


While on vacation I read an interesting book: the handbook of coaching. It was not what I expected.

It is a book that explains how to become a professional coach, like an executive coach or life coach. I have always told my wife that she would make an amazing executive coach, as she really understands people and how to manage.

One chapter I found particularly interesting was the do’s and don’ts of management coaching. Interesting thoughts:

  • Do direct the structure and process of the session (focus the conversation, the time constraints, the rules of the tribe) and the process issues of the session (the flow, sequence, what is appropriate when and where).
  • Do ask questions that explore ways your client might manage the future.
  • Do listen and reflect back what you hear to discover if your hearing is accurate.
  • Do ask your client questions about his or her experience that guide the conversation toward a preferred future.
  • Do stay with the coaching agenda, the topics in hand stay within time constraints.
  • Do stay in the present and future tenses, always looking for options and possibilities. Use yourself as an instrument of the future.
  • Don’t direct the content of the discussion or impose a prearranged agenda on your client.
  • Don’t rescue or offer direct advice to the client.
  • Don’t dominate the conversation.
  • Don’t compare the clients experience with anyone else’s, including your own.
  • Don’t let the client make you captive.
  • Don’t try to repair the past or to solve unsolvable problems.

I personally found the don’ts very interesting and a good lesson as I have found myself saying ‘Well, I did it this way’ instead of saying ‘Have you tried or considered doing it this way (Without a personal reference)’.

Interesting. Always learning.