When things go wrong (and they will!), change management can be scary.
Tell us your scary change management story and pitfalls to avoid.
I believe the biggest mistake I make is not coaching on a consistent basis. Intermittent coaching is my biggest pitfall. When I use GONG consistently, I am able to keep my pulse on how things are going with my fully remote team. When I don’t I have to be concerned about things falling through the cracks like my reps not using their cameras, not blurring their backgrounds etc. GONG has definitely been a game changer when it comes to remote coaching!
One pitfall I have run across has been not following up with coaching action items after 1:1s or trainings with my team. It’s easy to give the coaching but the reinforcement behind it throughout can be the difficult part. What I found that works for me to manage the follow up is to pair my team in a buddy system so and give them action items to deliver to me. Helps take the pressure off me and gives them more ownership in their development. Along with that I leverage trackers and alerts in gong to help me have visibility on how its going.
When I was first promoted to a Managerial role, I didn’t consider that people understand and process information differently. I always was upfront to communicate what I thought was appropriate in a way that I thought that made sense, but as a manager, you need to read and understand people to craft the right message and get your point across. Like the book of the 7 Habits - “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”
Biggest pitfall is putting 100% trust in what a rep tells me about a deal. They can have happy ears, not have a strong path to close but are confident the deal will close within a given month/quarter. Gong allows me to validate or challenge what they are telling me and reveal truth through data. It has enabled me to become not only more confident in my forecasting ability but more accurate as well.
Love the books ‘Fanatical Prospecting’ and ‘Virtual Selling’ by Jeb Blount
One of the biggest coaching mistakes i have made is not creating a structured format for me and my team. I was a new manager and just assumed my reps would come to our 1on1’s prepared.
Half of my team “understood the assignment,” while the other half showed up without any indication of progress on their work or pipeline management.
Gong has a lot of great info and templates to use, but I found that ensuring that:
I always operate by the platinum rule: treat others how they want to be treated. That means you’ll have to learn different styles on communication, different strategies to motivate, and how to adapt. IT’s tough but can be done.
One of my biggest coaching mistakes was going too “H.A.M” with the feedback via comments on calls versus providing some high level notes and discussing in person.
My initial thinking was:
… and here’s why that doesn’t work:
Instead, I’ve found a better approach which is: less is more.
One of the biggest mistakes I made early on in my sales leadership career was not making enough time for coaching & providing real time feedback to my sales reps, even though I knew how beneficial it is for both parties. The platforms and tools at my previous 2 companies did not make it easy to coach at scale, and because of this, I deprioritized the activity based on the level of time & effort it took to coach.
Now that I have access to utilize Gong consistently, I am able to set strong goals as far as the number of coaching moments that I would like to have with each rep, and across my team each week. I have a dashboard that keeps me motivated and accountable to ensure I am coaching more than I ever have. I have listened to and coached more calls with Gong during the last 3 months than I did over the last 3 years in my previous sales leadership role.
Biggest pitfall in coaching I have seen is not following up on your reps efforts against your coaching. It’s critical to set short/medium/long term goals to see change at the IC and org wide level. Utilize data but also qualitative information to rally the team around your change goals and consistently share the progress against those changes consistently over time!
Early on in my leadership career there were many changes as I was promoted to lead individuals I was previously colleagues with right before the pandemic and the transition to remote work.
With all the change I found that my messaging and coaching needed to be more crafted, detailed, and practiced when rolling out how we were going to manage and track remote work. Luckily this was early in my transition to leadership and it taught me valuable lessons in preparation, coaching as a habit, and starting with why.
As a new manager, an early mistake I made was to not have consistent 1:1’s. Because 1:1’s weren’t habitual, it would cause stress for my team if a 1:1 did occur. If the meeting was with them, they would be stressed about what we were going to be talking about. If it wasn’t with them, they would stress about what I was discussing with the person 1:1. By changing to a consistent 1:1 schedule, meeting together stopped being stressful and transitioned to a time for me to check-in and show my support and empathy. What used to be stressful became a favorite block of time for everyone.
I find it so hard to resist the temptation to just fish for someone instead of teach them to fish. We all know it’s an age old recommendation but when you really see it play out before your eyes it so apparent that you are only creating more work for yourself when you take the reins away from the person you are coaching. Another great rule of thumb I’ve heard, is that the coach should rarely be the one screensharing. It’s such a good way of insuring that you are instructing while the person you are coaching is practicing.
A huge coaching mistake that I try to avoid is assuming that other people think the same way that I do and understand information and concepts the way I do. An important attribute of a great coach is someone who can distill a concept to its core essence to make it tangible for many people regardless of how they’re wired.
A practical way to ensure this is a mainstay of your coaching practice is by asking more than you tell. By letting your rep frame the situation in their mind and what they see of it, you then get invited into their context and mental framework and are challenged to bring the thought in your head to them by way of their framework.
That’s not to say their framework will always be correct. Sometimes you have to ask a bigger question, a different question and/or a follow up question to continue to direct their thinking the way you want it to go. With time, this process becomes second nature.
I honestly think the biggest mistake or pitfall of coaching I made personally at this company was trying to coach without proper analytical data and call reviewing capabilities! In hindsight, I was truly leading the pack without a sense of direction. With gong, I’ve been able to really dive into the calls on our sales floor and gain a deep understanding and knowledge of not only what is working, but what is not working.
Early in my management career, I may not have always started a coaching conversation with praise. What I learned is to prop people up and point our some great things I heard right away prior to inviting that rep to self assess, what did you do well and what do you think you could have done better. Ex - your tone and articulation is crisp, clear and professional. This approach has worked for me in the past and tends to make the rep more comfortable in being more rigorous with the self assessment prior to my final feedback / scoring
One of my biggest coaching mistakes was not being specific enough in my comments or scorecards. Partners can become overwhelmed when they are not given specific data and examples of what you are looking for. GONG helps me narrow in on key topics to help coach during 1:1s!
One of the biggest problems I ran into when coaching teams on adoption of new tools was not first going through and tracking every possible bypass in the workflow and playing devil’s advocate by trying to come up with a defense against every excuse for a workaround that could come up before going live. I was always amazed at the acrobatics individuals would go through maintain legacy workflows. As Seinfeld said “If they (at the unemployment office) knew how much effort and energy this guy is expending to avoid work…..they’d give him a raise.”
The trick is to find every loophole and try to preemptively counter it with a “WIIFM?” to incorporate more efficient tools and pathways.
Biggest learning curve for me was just because something seems straight forward for me or makes complete sense, doesn’t mean it will also makes sense to the person you are coaching.
Everyone learns differently.
Everyone thinks differently.
Everyone communicates differently.
50% of being (an effective) coach means you are not just sharing what you know, but you are committing to adapting to how your mentee/employee/report learns.
Ongoing issues with compliance in EMEA and Germany in particular. Not having the reps record calls is throwing off important metrics, and the leaders of those teams are not full on-board either. Coaching here is virtually impossible - so working on team engagement is an ongoing struggle. This is noth a problem and a frustration - but it is very much on my list to address as we near EOY
Hi Molly,I managed 5 different teams from 5 different countries within 1 year and I had to adapt every single time with their culture. My tips are below.
I hope it helps
One of the biggest coaching mistakes I’ve made in the past is not framing the coaching session first and trying to focus on coaching too many things at once. The last thing anyone wants to hear is all of the ways they’re not doing well.
One thing that I’ve found beneficial for reps (the hard way unfortunately) is when leaving comments on what changes they need to make to their talk tracks, how they are handling objections, or what questions they should have been asking, is providing them with the WHY.
If we aren’t providing them with that reasoning and how it will change future conversations, they are bound to make versions of that same mistake over and over. If reps are bought into the WHY, it’ll start to click.
One of my first lessons after being moved into an enablement/training role in a very high intensity sales cold-calling environment was focusing on every way a rep could improve after hearing a call. I wasn't focusing on the bigger picture, but more so nitpicking. I think its important to take a step back and focus on the overall progress of the sales person rather than each mistake they make. No one wants to hear everything they did wrong!
One of my early coaching mistakes was to focus on the negative, and not celebrate the wins the rep had while on the call. This had lead to reps ‘tuning out’ of future conversations and making a poor overall experience. I’ve learned to never be afraid to celebrate and even promote wins when they happen, while also including opportunities for improvement.
Launching any initiative without identifying your key promoters who will help rally the team with you! After launching a program several years ago from the top-down with no buy-in from other employees that fizzled out and was quickly swept under the rug, I will never make that mistake again. Identify the team members that you know are excited by this change, bring them into the fold pre-launch, and ask they help generate excitement. Opponents to a change can spoil an entire initiative if their attitude or lack of adoption is perceived as the norm across the team/dept/org. Don’t let that happen by getting ahead of it first and finding your promoters.
I think it’s important to stay focused on the big picture. I have found myself very focused on specific call feedback and forget to see the common themes across a team. I am started to dig into more analytic tools to help with coaching
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