By Keith Stoneman, Published October 29, 2014
Football season is starting (the American variety at least) and many of us in the United States are turning our thoughts to our favorite teams. Regardless of the sport, think of your favorite team. It’s the beginning of the season, and the leading players are being interviewed about the upcoming season. A reporter asks: “What are your thoughts on coaching and the coaching staff?” The players respond: “Coaching? We don’t need coaching.” And the coaches say: “We’ve assembled a team of winners who will succeed. We’re going to get out of their way and let them give their best performance.” I can’t imagine any sports team responding in that way. And yet, every day I see sales teams and their respective leadership who respond in those ways to the suggestion of coaching.
Why does coaching get short shrift compared to training?
Here are a few practical reasons:
- A training event is an easy, “check the box” activity. If you tell a senior leader you’re going to do training, it’s pretty simple: you do the event and it’s over. “Hey boss, we did the training.” Over and done. A one-time event will help put the keys
- Coaching is tough to measure. It’s truly difficult to measure the effects of coaching.
- The “budget won’t allow it.” Easy reason – it costs too much, or in a training initiative it’s the easiest part to cut out. So it gets lopped off or lip service only.
- The time investment. Coaching is time and effort intensive – which is why it gets such good results when done correctly. You have to first train your coaches and then they have to invest the time to actually coach their employees. Now everything from that 90 day past due account that accounting is screaming about to the service issue with your last product delivery are competing for attention with coaching. And in those one-on-one battles, coaching usually loses.
In short, I tell customers:
- Training without coaching is giving your team the playbook without feedback and practice.
- Coaching without training is giving feedback and practice without a model for behavior.
- Combining coaching and training creates a powerful combination to change performance. Only with both the playbook and practice can the team win.
So, who’s ready for some coaching?