Managing the Resistant Salesperson—Coach Them Anyway!

Become a better sales coach and sales manager today.

How do you handle those who don’t want to be coached? A good place to start is by asking them some of these well-crafted questions.

8-Steps to Creating a Coaching Culture by Keith Rosen
It’s evident that today more than ever, we can all benefit from a little introspection and realignment in our thinking, in our approach to sales management as well as in our selling strategy. And while more people today are open to changing their ways than ever before which as been fueled by the current market conditions, as a manager, what about those salespeople who might decline your offer of additional sales coaching and don’t want to participate in coaching?

How do you handle those who don’t want to be coached? While there are several ways to handle a situation like this, here are some points to keep in mind:

1. It’s quite possible the person has a limiting misconception of coaching and what coaching is. This can be a result of a prior bad experience. Maybe they look at coaching as something that’s offered to those people who are “Broken and need “fixing.” Maybe it’s how the manager explained coaching to them. Coaching must be positioned as a perk, as a way of rewarding your employees because they’re worth it.

2. Is this another sign that you might have a person on your team who shouldn’t be there in the first place? Are they truly uncoachable? Are they poisoning others within the organization with their gossip and toxic ways?

3. Is this someone who’s a star producer who simply enjoys their autonomy and isn’t looking for additional coaching? Would they simply rather be on the phone or out in the field selling?

Here’s what I suggest: If They Don’t Want To Be Coached, Coach Them Anyway

Is it possible you can still coach them during normal conversation without labeling it coaching? The truth is, this person just may not want to enter into what they might perceive as an “official” coaching relationship. Said another way, if you’re a sales manager who gets the value and the importance of delivering effective coaching, ask better questions about each sales call without explicitly declaring it coaching. For example, stay away from, “Okay, we’re getting into a coaching session now.”

Rather than implementing a structured coaching program with them, what if you simply communicated with them like a sales coach would do from a coaching perspective? Rather than come across in an accusatory, curt or negative tone (i.e. “Why didn’t you close that sale?” “Are you going to reach your numbers?” “Here’s where you messed up and missed the mark.”) Simply start a conversation by asking better questions instead:

– “So, tell me about the meeting you just had. How did it go?”
– “What were you hoping to achieve?”
– “What process did you use going in to attain that result?”
– “What did you do well?” “Did you find yourself getting stuck in any particular area during the conversation you had with them?”
– “What did you notice you could improve upon the next time?”
– “Where are you taking this account from here?” (“What are your next steps?”)
– “What did you learn?”
– “How can I support you in making sure you get the results you want?”

(You can find a list of 400 of the most powerful coaching questions in my book Coaching Salespeople Into Sales Champions.)

Photo Credit: Nathan O’Nions