If you are in a managerial or executive role within your organization, then you wear different hats every day as it pertains to the role within your teams. Let me give you three common roles: Leader, Manager, Coach.

This is a balancing act and I would ask you this question. What percentage of your time do you spend on these three roles?


  • Proactive and future oriented
  • Strategic and focused on long-term decisions and impact
  • Motivates and influences teams towards common goals


  • Tactical and present oriented
  • Focuses on efficiently achieving goals as successfully as possible
  • Accountable for driving organizational process


  • Focuses on developing the capabilities of individuals on the team
  • Creates developmental opportunities and accesses performance and skill growth
  • Provides and models effective interactive communication to reinforce process, behaviors and problem solving

There are various studies that identify two important trends. We spend much more focused on beingĀ  Managers versus the role of Leader or of Coach. The role of Coach is taking on much more importance to employee engagement, retention, development and performance. Ask yourself this question. The people on my team are most effective when I lead, manage or coach? Data from the Corporate Executive Board and others would suggest that the role of Coach may have the greatest impact on the effectiveness of your organization and it is a skill that is neither well developed nor an area we spend much time.

When someone shows up your door with a question or problem, how do you respond? We are all uber busy and we often gauge our own personal effectiveness based on how quickly we can make issues disappear. If you solve the problem by “telling the solution”, then you have your Managers hat on. If you are “asking about the solution”, then you have your Coach’s hat on and have seized the opportunity to have others self-identify possible solutions.

I was reading an HBR article today on Google and part of their employee survey is all about the role of their manager as a coach. In fact it appears it is the most important attribute they measure.

In the world of Sales and Sales Management, it is been assessed the optimal return on time invested occurs with 3-5 hours of coaching per direct report per month. If zero is the amount of time being devoted today, you will see material effectiveness gains by investing even two hours per month. This could take place during various types of interactions including one-on-ones, face-to-face, phone calls and joint sales calls.

Given the role that we play in the world of Sales Transformation and Sales Strategy, what is implied is that change will be occurring to achieve a different set of results. The role of the Sales Manager is the most critical link between Strategy and Execution. The high level guidance we would offer is that the simplest way to build a coaching model for your sales teams to is to align coaching based on the mutual expectations and standards you have set that overlay to how you sell. Take a look at the discrete activities that make up your Sales Process. Each one requires different skills and expertise. You can measure effectiveness and offer customized coaching at each step of the journey that make up the overall performance of the individual or team.

If you are a Sales Leader you will get a bigger bang for the buck spending time with your average performers. That median group, which is likely about 80% of your team, will provide the greatest return on your time. Your consistently Low or High Performers will only deliver marginal return for the coaching time invested.

Coaching is a journey and an investment, but one that has a proven pay-off.



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