Sales Coaches Need Coaching Too

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A good friend of mine, Ms. Tamara Schenk, who is with Miller Heiman in Frankfurt, Germany, recently blogged about “Why Frontline Sales Managers Need Enablement”:  In her blog Tamara mentions that “Many newly appointed frontline sales managers are thrown into the new role with little-to-no training or coaching.” She went on to write that “The resulting consequence is an onboarding time between one and two years. What sales organization can afford that? None.”

Tamara is so right.  The scenario for most organizations is to take one of their top sales people and promote them into “Sales Management”.  We all know that this oftentimes winds up being a lose, lose situation for everyone, because not only do you lose the revenue of a top performing sales rep, but you may also have an ineffective sales manager.  Good sales people don’t necessarily make good managers because they have totally different skill sets.  Those skills that made the sales person successful may not transfer into being an effective sales manager or sales coach. I remember the old adage that said “Those that can do, and those that can’t, teach.” Believe it or not, some poor sales people have made great sales managers and sales coaches.

OK, now that we have established that some people are better than others at coaching and sales management, what happens then? Again, my experience with most organizations has been that once they have their sales manager/coach in place, they feel their job is done. They throw that person into the water to sink or swim and they don’t get the kind of help and coaching that they need and deserve to be as effective as they could be.  That is why there are so many turnovers in those positions. Senior managers simply have other things that they feel are more important to deal with, so those newly appointed manager/coaches don’t get the coaching they need.

In my mind, a good sales manager/coach is more important and better than a great sales person because they affect more than just one person and their ability to produce revenue. In fact, I would rather invest money in a sales coaching program than a sales training program.  I also believe that there should be a “train the trainer” course for senior managers enabling them to help their managers.  They, too, need to be trained in the skills needed to help their manager/coaches.  All too often, newly appointed sales manager/coaches get into trouble early on in their jobs causing problems that could have been avoided if they had received closer monitoring and coaching.

So, for those organizations that don’t have a process or strategy in place to coach their frontline sales manager/coaches, then you are probably experiencing some of the same problems mentioned above and aren’t having the success that you want for your organization. At least that’s the way I see it, what say you?


  1. No one is promoted and automatically understands how to be a manager. There is a whole new laundry list of responsibilities that you have to handle and one of those means coaching those who used to be your peers. Being great at one thing does not make you a great teacher. Learning how to share information and share your skills takes time.