Depending who you ask, skills coaching (as opposed to deal coaching) is either:
“THE answer to all our woes” or
“Something you waste time on instead of getting deals done”
I’m going to suggest that we slow down our race to either polarity and think about how to balance doing both.
Because the reality of a sales manager’s daily life is that it’s messy and reactive. Who wouldn’t say they’d love more time on strategic, focused skills development to bring out the best in each member of their team? But it’s often a fight just to get the basic 1:1 coaching time in the calendar on a regular basis.
Instead of throwing our hands up because we can’t magic time out of nowhere, what *can* we do?
So next time you’re asked for help on a deal, is there a way that you can help in a way that goes beyond that deal? To give support in context of the bigger picture, so instead of being a disposable conversation, it builds towards a skill at the same time?
Here’s how it might look. Say you get the “Can I give this prospect a 20% discount?” plea from a rep and you might say yes or no and move on. It could be a chance to step back and ask how they got to talking about a discount in the first place. You might discover a root cause in their behaviour that you have an opportunity to help them address in the moment, and you can feed that into the next development chat you have in a 1:1.
All I’m saying is,
“Do what you can with what you have.”