Move from Babysitter to Coach

Peri Shawn

Most sales managers feel some resentment toward their teams at some point in their careers. It’s unfortunate, but understandable – particularly when the team isn’t meeting sales targets. And to make matters worse, most sales managers feel they can sell better than many of their team members.

You may be asking yourself: Why can’t my team sell more? Why are some team members taking up so much of my time? And why won’t they just do what I tell them?

You may feel like a babysitter sometimes. If you do, it’s a sign that you’re doing something wrong. Consider shifting your role from babysitter to coach.

Effective Coaching Can Shift your Team’s Thinking

What determines your team members’ results? As you know, it starts not with their actions, but with their thinking. Until you know what they have done and the thinking behind what they did, you are less likely to improve what they are doing.

When frustrated, sales managers tend to tell their team members what to do. Given the nature of most salespeople, that doesn’t work.

But sales coaching – effective sales coaching – can help your team members think better, and therefore sell more.

In your coaching sessions, ask your team members to explain to you what they did in a specific sales conversation. Explore with them what worked, what didn't work and what they plan to do differently next time.

As your team members explain, neuroscience indicates that they’ll activate more neurons to make new connections. The more connections they make, the more their thinking will improve.  

Your questions will help your team members make more links, and as a result they will do some deeper thinking. Some effective questions you could use are:

  • How did the sales conversation go?
  • What happened first?
  • How did your prospect respond?
  • What did you do or say after that?
  • What made the prospect react that way?
  • Was there any part that was challenging for you?
  • If yes, what made it challenging?
  • What were the advantages of doing it that way?
  • What were the disadvantages of doing it that way?
  • What did you do to make it go well?
  • What did you do that may have prevented it from being even better?
  • What could you do next time to handle it more effectively?

Keep these questions handy, to help your team members sell better.

By focusing on improving your team members’ thinking, you’ll move from babysitter to coach in no time. You’ll be able to say goodbye to sales team frustration. And your team members will think better, perform better and sell more.                                                       

Peri Shawn is co-founder of the Coaching and Sales Institute, and author of “Preventing Sales Crimes: Coaching Secrets for Sales Leaders.” Contact her at