Have you ever been told to do something, and you know you SHOULD do it, but you just can’t seem to make it happen? Conversely, do you remember experiencing something new and thinking to yourself, “this isn’t so difficult… I can do this!”

This is the difference between coaching and training!

Recently I was in a new client’s office introducing myself and doing an introductory coaching session. The purpose of the coaching was to get some of the new sales professionals over the fear of cold calling. They believed they were always going to be given warm leads to follow up on, and not have to make the effort to call anyone new. When the leads started getting less and less, the business strategy was forced to change and they knew they needed to start the sales and marketing process with current team.

The management team told the sales team that they now had to start seeking clients. The phone records showed a different story. No one seemed to be doing an effective job so they decided to bring in a coach in to see if that would help the sales team to make outgoing sales calls.

The sales team was all extremely friendly, sharp and outgoing. But when the manager started announcing why I was there, two individuals clammed up, crossed their arms in front of their chests, and seemed incredibly intimidated and closed minded.

So after being given the floor, I introduced myself, gave a bit about my background and what I do and then started asking questions. I asked about them and their job backgrounds, what they loved and didn’t love about their former jobs, and I asked about their strengths and weaknesses. I asked about the environment that they were finding in the marketplace. I asked about the strategies they had in place. I asked about their systems. I asked about how their best calls went and then we determined the best type of buyer or an ideal client. At about this time, the CEO told me in front of the group, “they already know this. We’ve already had training on qualified buyers.”

At that point, I looked at him and said, “That’s great! But I need to hear from THEM about what they are doing and understanding and feeling. I need to hear where they have total confidence and where they find blocks. This needs to come from them, not from anyone else.”

Then I continued to ask questions. From that moment on, I had everyone’s attention, and they all started sharing. They shared with each other about what was working, what wasn’t working. They shared about some of the best conversations that had taken place. They announced that they felt they needed a script to help them get comfortable with what they were doing and they mentioned not ever doing phone cold calls before and that they were unsure of how to do it and a bit intimidated.

I listened to them as they admitted their fears with as much openness and acceptance as I could. Then I acknowledged them for feeling that way and shared with them that that was extremely common and that they were completely and 100% normal!!! They shared stories of obnoxious sales professionals that I asked them to compare or contrast their own personalities to and then I asked what they would suggest to the obnoxious sales professional if they were coaching them. I asked them if they were also intimidated when they first started this job and they admitted they were. I asked how they got comfortable with doing their current job and they shared that they watched others, learned the strategy, the “language” and then practiced. I asked if they’d be willing to take on that same strategy when learning this new skill of cold calling. Then through a series of me asking questions and them answering, most of them felt that starting a marketing process before they had to cold call would introduce the company and its services first, so they wouldn’t be making actual “cold calls” when the time came to reach out to the client. They all seemed to be comfortable with that idea.

At the end of the 2 hour session, all of the sales team were sharing, taking notes and offering to type up their findings with the group. Then I asked each person what was their “take away” from today and 1 goal they were going to set for the next week. Each person had something great they were able to take away from the coaching session and had set new goals that included putting a strategy in place for marketing, making new cold or warm calls and finding new clients. The stiff bodies were replaced with a relaxed and comfortable team who seemed to be enthusiastic about moving ahead.

Later that day, I received an excited email from the CEO who was in the room the whole time. He told me that he had tried to get them to make cold calls for the past 5 months with no effectiveness. He shared with me that several of the team had had mentoring and training from management on the cold calls for weeks at a time, but still, it was ineffective. He seemed genuinely blown away that after one coaching session the entire team was excited and open to moving forward and now had a specific strategy for doing so. And he was excited to continue moving forward with coaching and saw that no matter how much people are told what to do, that if they have fears, they won’t do it until they feel they CAN do it.

So I shared my very deep and wise philosophy that I hope he never forgets.

“Coaching….. works!!!”