The Sales Management Specialists

Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Coaching Habit - Seven Questions to Manage Sales People (Book Review)



A few years ago I received a call from one of my sales managers to tell me that our best sales person had just resigned. I was new to the company and the sales person didn't report directly to me, none-the-less this news was like a blow to the stomach. It hurt. I knew that he was leaving because of the company's actions and that losing him was going to impact our overall sales performance.

Sales Leaders do you know what's troubling your sales people right now?

Which ones are motivated? How committed are they to their sales objectives? Will they stay with you? What would help them perform better?

Like to find out ...?



Then read and apply the lessons in The Coaching Habit. A brilliant, beguilingly simple book by Australian turned Canadian author Michael Bungay Stanier. This book gives you tools to understand an otherwise opaque and unpredictable entity - the mind of a sales person - and it will help you get (much) more from your people. I love this book.

The book is structured around seven 'type questions' for coaching and is supported by the latest neuroscience on habit management.

Here is a brief peek ....

1. What's on your mind? [The Kick start Question]
What's on your mind? <silence>. No prompting, no teaching no instructions. Just a simple question and wait for an answer. When you get an answer, no comment or advice, just ask the next question:

2. And what else? [The AWE Question]
The awe question allows your coachee to think more deeply and create options that can be prioritised with:

3. What's the real challenge for you here? (And what else?) [The Focus Question]
What is the real challenge for you? This focus question combined with the awe question will provide answers to questions posed at the beginning of this article. Now you know what is troubling them...but ...you don't need to do anything. Lets help our coachee learn to solve her own problems

4. What do you want? [The Foundation Question] The foundation question and the lazy question(below) gets your coachee doing their own problem solving. Your role is to listen carefully and prompt for more.

5. How can I help? [The Lazy Question]
This is not an offer of help, its just asking how could I help - they must think about it. You may make a gentle suggestion but as far as possible let the solution grow from them.

6. What are you saying no to? [The Strategic Question]
Often when we are overwhelmed and unsure the best path its because we fail to consider this strategic question.

7. What was most useful for you? [The Learning Question]
Your have just taken someone through a mind opening exercise, helped them layout solution options and prioritise the best next step. The learning question allows them to appreciate the process, replay it in their minds and solidify their learning.

What a remarkable series of questions! Buy yourself a copy, if you have people reporting to you this book will repay itself immediately.