Truth be known, many managers don’t get it – at least not initially; until the blind spot is exposed and placed in their line of vision for them to see. Do you know where your blind spots are?
I had a woman ask me: “Keith- I’m a huge fan of yours, let me say that first so you don’t get mad at me, but every single one of those questions above 1-12 would infuriate me if I ever had my VP of sales ask any of them. And I would feel dumb asking my reps too! I don’t get it.”
Please keep in mind, their inability to see this blind spot has nothing to do with their acumen, experience, abilities, commitment to their team or intelligence and everything to do with one of the common traps that management has tendency to fall into which is due to the fact that coaching is often counter-intuitive.
Here was my response: Thanks for the comment! Much appreciated. Why would I get mad? Keep your comments coming! I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I write. Besides, if I post stuff that everyone agrees with, then I’m not doing my job! Just like I told a client today; “If you plan on doing what you did yesterday, aren’t open to challenging your current way of thinking and are able to see every blind spot on your own which is getting in the way of better performance (you can’t self diagnose when you’re in the middle of the game), then what do you need me for?”
Buffet of Questions
Back to your question. I was very mindful when posting these questions that they may not work for everyone and are distinctly positioned for specific situations. As I wrote in this post, “Remember, treat these questions like a buffet. So, take what you like and leave what you don’t. Depending upon your situation and the individual you’re coaching, every question may not work for everyone. Conversely, since we all looking for new and better results, take some of these questions out for a test drive, as you may not know how effective they are until you try them out.”
So, who are these questions for? Well, probably not for your top performer or the person who’s self driven and accountable. These questions are for the salesperson who may be stuck, either in follow through, in their own story and excuses or in taking the necessary actions to better their performance. For the manager, getting on your soapbox and preaching what needs to be done gets old fast and doesn’t work for the long haul.
Which is the point of these questions. So often, managers see the problem, see what needs to change in order to fix the problem and as such, get into the tell mode of dumping the solution on their people. Conversely, these questions find the gap, or what is missing either in the person’s thinking, skills or resources and deepens the level of accountability that every manger is looking to instill, preventing the salesperson from using more creative excuses to justify their performance!
I’m guessing that you personally, (I don’t like to make assumptions) don’t fall into the category of the underperformer? So yes, in that case, these questions certainly would not fit for you.
A Good Fit
Conversely, be mindful that, just because they don’t fit for you, doesn’t mean they won’t fit for anyone or for another person on your team. After all, just like in selling, you don’t want to sell the way you buy, that is, instilling your values and decision making process on the customer, assuming they think and process information the same way you do. You also don’t want to coach the way you like to be coached, because then you’re essentially coaching in your own image (building robots vs. respecting each person’s individuality and where they’re at).
Look at the spirit behind each question. I have hundreds of coaching questions that I use, and it’s not only about having the right questions, but when to use them and with whom that makes the difference.
Photo credit: Glyn Lowe