The Power of Coaching

Good coaching empowers individuals, inspires teams and drives results. But it’s often undervalued because it’s not always accessible and its importance may not be obvious.

To help tackle to topic we sat down with Linda Page, AVP Global Field Enablement at Splunk, a company that makes machine data accessible to everyone. Driving productivity across all customer-facing roles, Linda’s role is to help the company scale to the next level.

Creating a Coaching Culture

In organizations without a coaching structure, the question is, “Where to start?”

Linda believes the starting point, or moment of truth, happens between the first line manager and the sales rep – or the person they’re responsible to manage. “The opportunity to motivate, to change, to improve really happens with that interaction,” Linda said. “From a company perspective, the only way I can see that scale is to ignite that first line manager.”

At Splunk, Linda is creating a movement around coaching by getting more than just the enablement team involved and raising this idea of learning and continuous improvement. “I want something that I can directly correlate success around for my team,” Linda said.

Once trouble starts and performance indicators start showing up, Linda says, it’s really difficult to change. “How do we anticipate and proactively address leading indicators of success versus just measuring the lagging indicators, which are really less actionable?” Linda said. “If you start looking at coaching to competencies, that’s really more in our control.”

“The only way I can see that scale is to ignite that first line manager'”


Coaching vs. Feedback

There’s a time and place for both feedback and coaching, but it’s important to be able to build them into an existing system. That’s why it’s crucial that first line managers are able to understand the value they bring and the difference between them.

“Sales leaders don’t typically see themselves in the learning business, so it’s really up to the enablement team to partner effectively and provide the tools and coaching portfolio to remove those barriers,” Linda said.

While feedback is immediate and fleeting, coaching is about creating long-term potential. “Good coaching can create ‘aha’ moments and make knowledge sticky,” Linda said.

“Good coaching can create ‘aha’ moments and make knowledge sticky'”


Coaching Baseline

In order to establish a coaching baseline, you have to have a clear idea of excellence, Linda says. Then, it’s about focus and measurement to take bite-sized steps toward your goal.

“Coaching has to be seen as essential,” Linda said. “It has to be to be owned by the people on the front line. They have to see value in it. And then we have to partner with all the organizations to build it into a day in the life, because if it’s something that’s separate and distinct it’s really hard to create that movement.”

With coaching it’s difficult to measure the impact it has on revenue, but what you can do is measure the before and after. “Data is our friend, sales ops is our friend,” Linda said.

“Coaching has to be seen as essential'”


What is Most Effective When Someone is Trying to Sell You?

We like to ask our podcast guests this question. Here’s how Linda answered:

“For me it comes down to relevance and understanding my business. I think one that that you can never undervalue is the importance of timing. Timing is everything. Some of that is pure accident and some of that can be planned by understanding what people are doing. If they can articulate an issue that I’m in the process of dealing with in that moment, even if I don’t know then, oftentimes I will talk to them or have someone from my team talk to them.”

Acceleration Insight

In every episode of the B2B Revenue Executive Experience, we try to pull one nugget of wisdom from our guests that they would impart on a sales professional. Here’s this one:

“Do the work. There’s a lot of good practices out there but there’s not a silver bullet beyond doing the work. It’s all about planning and being prepared and then being able to act on it when the opportunity presents itself. I’m a big believer that preparation allows acceleration and that if people are focused on getting better at what they do and not just on the revenue number then they’re both going to come.”

This post is based on a podcast interview with Linda Page, AVP Global Field Enablement at Splunk. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to the B2B Revenue Executive Experience.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.

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