Over three decades of working with successful sales teams, coaching was an integral part of my daily ritual, of which I was passionate about. I would get up very early in the morning to plan for the regular coaching session. My coaching model was to carry out a morning engagement based on what I have observed the day before, concerning areas that needed improvements to be followed by role playing, referred to nowadays as Sales Simulation and not Sales STIMULATION to my disappointment.
In my sales journey, I have always arranged to be seated in the middle of the sales team or the battlefield, for all the obvious reasons. It was instrumental in leading the team and at times, very entertaining.
Now imagine a group of Real Estate sales individuals from different backgrounds, a different set of skills, diverse ethnicity, and various solar systems, driven by greed executing their sales pitch with great enthusiasm.
Mistakes were made, and the occasional “I-can’t-believe-that-he-said-that-to-the-client” moments were experienced. For example there was the young sales executive who innocently referred to his sales pitch as his sales b*tchand no matter how many times I have explained to him civilly the grief difference he kept at it (probably a genetic disposition rendering the P and B).
There was a one time incident where a gentleman new to the Real Estate jargon and the English language was trying to explain to an irate client why there was a delay in the HANDOVER of his property, however, he was apologizing about the delay in the HANGOVER!
Fear us! We are the sales gladiators!
The majority of the sales gladiators were passionate about their jobs, trying hard in an industry which believed in the ancient ritual of baptism by fire. The engagements continued throughout the dizzying and nerve-wracking cyclical nature of our beloved industry, losing comrades along the way. But my passion and dedication continued even when we downsize the sales team to three.
I tried to keep my coaching engagement relevant and practical but an anomaly existed which bothered me. The existence of The Reluctant Bunch — a group of sales executives ranging in sales performance or lack of it that no matter how much I put in and how passionate I was, I could not engage them. They came in two main flavors.
THE I KNOW IT ALL kind that thought of me as a blabbering old fart and could not teach them a thing that they didn’t know already.
You can’t teach me nothing, old fart!
THE WALKING DEAD that was waiting for their last paycheck and the termination letter.
Get me outta here…!
I could see it in their faces. It wasn’t the ones with the shifty eyes or the ones staring at their devices, not even the ones that drifted away with the Sandman. It was in the void that forms between a yawn and the look of indifference every time I spoke, and this was the eerie expressions of The Reluctant Bunch.
I kept on doing the best that I can with great passion until the day of revelation.
Throughout my life things such as a discovery or realization never came to me gradually, it is either an Ahhh moment or what the F**k moment.
My Ahhhhh Moment
THE DAY OF REVELATION
Earlier this year , I decided to part ways with a handsomely paying job with all the bells and whistles, the best address in town, an office with kick-ass views and a fancy title.
The next few days into my sabbatical and the journey of reinventing myself, I was reading everything that I could get my hands-on, blogs, articles, books, even food labels.
It was like having an unquenchable thirst for information and knowledge, exaggerated by my sponginess to learn more.
It was on a pleasant morning while I was enjoying my first cup of coffee and listening to my newly acquired audiobook, The Sales Acceleration Formula, when the word COACHABILITY was uttered into my ears. As I continued to listen, I experienced an epiphany, the answer to my coaching anomaly that I have experienced in yesteryears.
I never considered the ability to be coached as part of my formula to sculpting a good salesperson. I never factored it in, let alone thought it as a crucial part of the hiring process.
So, what is Coach-ability and how crucial is it?
According to Timothy R. Clark “Coachability is the willingness to be corrected and to act on that correction. When we are coachable, we are prepared to be wrong, we can withstand a high degree of candor.”
We are willing to let others evaluate — and perhaps even plumb the depths of our performance because we understand that the journey of personal development cannot be traveled alone.” — Timothy R. Clark.
“Being coachable is one of life’s most essential skills and attitudes, whether or not you’re an athlete. If you’re any person who wishes to grow, learn, improve, excel, or peak performs.” — Laura Probert, MPT
The are many more great definitions of what coachability is and although the word itself has not yet claimed its rightful place in the Sales Buzzwords’ Hall of Fame. Nonetheless the ability to be coached is becoming a vital attribute that the hiring community is looking for.
So, before you prepare for your next interview STOP take a minute and ask yourself are you coachable? Better yet test the level of your coachability.
“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.” — Josh Waitzkin
So how coachable are you? Take the Coach-ability Test