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Research: Best Practices in Sales Coaching Across the Workforce

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Summary: Coaching is an interactive process between a coach and an employee that focuses on improving abilities, setting goals, and, above all, supporting behaviors that lead to better short-term results and long-term business outcomes. However; coaching in many companies is ancillary to formal training sessions, as following sales coaching best practices emphasizes employee strengths and performance improvement rather than teaching employees new skills or knowledge. Coaching represents vital opportunities for training follow-up and on-the-job learning when an employee can seek the advice of a more experienced manager or peer. It is this follow-up that helps close the gap between training and in-role performance. In sales, coaches are often, but not necessarily, sales managers - the important distinction being that what is being managed in a coaching dynamic is not necessarily outcomes and results but the behaviors and strategies that ultimately drive results. However, adoption of programs based in sales coaching best practices has not come without growing pains, as companies seek best practices for who should coach, what they should be coaching and encouraging, how to implement coaching programs and where to target their efforts and resources to actualize the most effective coaching program for their sales organization.

To examine such issues in greater detail, Training Industry, Inc, and Richardson Sales Performance conducted a study on how organizations across industries are supporting sales coaching, focusing on leadership alignment, communication plans, and metrics in sales training strategy. In Q4 or 2015, 266 companies completed a confidential survey reporting their companies' use of coaching programs in support of sales personnel. From the results of this research, a collection of suggested sales coaching best practices have been discerned and is provided. This report summarizes those findings.

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