Sales Coaching Tip – Discover Where They Are

Sales Coaching Tip – Discover Where They Are

Sometimes team members get stuck in a performance rut and can’t seem to get out it no matter what you do.

The Knowing/Doing Distinction will help you when coaching team members who are performing poorly.

First, clarify if they know how to do what they need to be doing. You can do this by asking them to explain to you how they would do it.

Second, discover if they can do what the need to be doing. You can do this by asking them to walk you through the process with you while you watch (or do a role play).

Once you have tried these two options you will clearly know what is going on. You have three clear methods of approach:

If your team member doesn’t know what to do …

Your coaching will be around developing his knowledge. The coaching dynamic is focused on increasing his “knowing.” You will ask your team member questions to refresh his memory of how to do a specific part of his role, to rediscover the reasons for each segment or to figure out where to find the information is that he is looking for.

“What are the typical steps to this process?”

“What steps did you include in this process today?”

“What steps did you not include?”

“What would be the reasons for leaving out those steps?”

“Let’s go through each one of the steps. What’s the reason for each one?”

“What resource would give you the steps to the process?”

“How would you access it?”

“Which section would you look in?”

If your team member knows what to do but can’t do it …

Your coaching will be coaching in action or role play. Your team member engages in his activity with you watching or in a role play with you acting out the supporting role. You would ask questions to increase his awareness of what he should be doing next. Your questions might be like:

“What are the steps involved?”

“So what would you do first?”

“How come?”

“Walk me through it.”

“Then what?”

“How would you say that?”


“Now what?”

“What might that look like?”

“Did you miss any steps from your earlier list?”

If your team member knows what to do and can do it …

When your team member demonstrates he knows what to do and can do it, you typically have a motivational or attitude challenge. There may be something going on in his life. He may be having a bad day. Or he may not be enjoying his job and he’s checking out.

Whatever his reason for choosing not to engage in his work (even though he knows what to do and can do), it’s probably time to have a frank conversation with him.

Discover where your team members are at before you decide the direction of your coaching. It will help you make your coaching more productive and effective.

Who on your team is not performing well?

What are you going to do to discover if they know how to do their work and can do it?

Once you discover what the issue is for each of them, what are you going to do?

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