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the HeART of the CLOSE: What Sales Coaching is Not

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Let me start by talking about what coaching isn’t.  Coaching is not telling.  It is not teaching, not training, and not even mentoring. When you tell something to someone, you deliver sound and the listener probably hears it. Does he accept, understand, and act upon it? Only he will know and only he can say.

Coaching is not teaching. Teaching is when your listener doesn’t know the subject or the skill at hand as well as you do, and so you explain and maybe demonstrate. In this case you need to know the subject at hand much better and deeper than your listener or student.

Coaching is not training. Training is when you facilitate the learning of a skill; say biking or using Microsoft Excel. You can be referred to as a “coach” but you’re not truly coaching in the real sense.

Coaching is not mentoring. Mentor is the name of a man in whose care Telemachus, the son of King Ulysses of Ithaca was put under.  Ulysses (also known as Odysseus in Greek) asked Mentor to look after his son when we went off to fight the legendary Trojan Wars which lasted 20 years.  Apparently, Mentor did such a good job of caring for Telemachus that the word “mentor” moved into the language as the name for a person who teaches principles and practices to his pupil and protégé. Thus, you mentor someone also when you are better than him in specific  subjects and skills.

To be a coach or to coach someone, you do not have to necessarily be better than the person you are coaching in that specific skill set. To coach is to evoke and to facilitate the unlocking of innate potential in the person you are coaching.

The professions that come closest to coaching might be a combination of doctor, counsellor, and guide. Yet these three are not quite coaching because they somehow prescribe and indoctrinate.

Coaching provides context but no content. Coaching provides the framework but doesn’t provide any principles to the one being coached. Coaching only challenges assumptions, unearths desires and strengths and then maybe co-designs a strategy to achieve those desires and optimize those strengths. A coach helps sets goals and then watches you while you execute and achieve them. There are thousands of definitions of coaching and thousands of principles for practicing coaching.

To establish a clear understanding of coaching let me, again take you back a few hundred years in time to Italy and modern day Rome.

In Florence, Italy, a young sculptor was commissioned to do a statue of a well-loved Biblical character out of a discarded Carrara marble piece. It was a project nobody wanted to be part of. Many other sculptors said the piece of marble was rotten, porous and scarred. None of them wanted to be associated with such work lest their names and honor be tainted.

Young Michelangelo, as he approached and circled the stained and scarred rock, paid little attention to the rumors or the damaged external conditions of the rock. His eyes and his heart saw only the beauty and elegance that lay hidden inside the rock. He imagined what the rock could become when all the unnecessary parts were chipped away by his skilled and caring hands. After many days and nights and months of laboring with love and chipping away the unnecessary from the rock, artist Michelangelo succeeded in unearthing and bringing to life the amazingly beautiful statue of David.  It still stands tall and proud at the Galleria dell’ Accademia as a homage to an artist –a coach who saw beauty, brilliance and potential in a piece of discarded rock.

the HeART of the CLOSE by Raju Mandhyan

the HeART of the CLOSE by Raju Mandhyan

That, essentially, is the heart of coaching. It is the art and science of seeing something powerful inside of others and then carefully, lovingly and scientifically releasing and unleashing that potential.  To be a coach is to be an awakener of sorts. To be a coach is to be an almost invisible, non-interfering guide by the side of your salesperson. Yes, that is coaching!

 

Taken from my upcoming book, the HeART of the CLOSE.

Find more insights like this one in my other books on Amazon

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It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.

Taken from the book: Pit Bulls & Entrepreneurs http://tinyurl.com/of4nnk9 

It’s an amazing thing – this trait called intention.  I can’t really tell you where exactly it is born in the human mind. In the human brain, I suspect it begins as a spark through a neurological synapse deep within the amygdala, the part of the brain referred to as the heart of the brain or the beastly brain.  I am slightly biased towards the term “beastly brain,” because once a desire is unleashed from there, it turns into a raging, screaming animal wanting to rip apart anything and everything that gets in the way to its goals.

In our previous chapters, we gave weight to identity, intelligence, imagination, and integrity as traits that enable the entrepreneur to systemize, sympathize, and synergize with reality and nature towards attaining one’s goals and entrepreneurial ambitions. Intent integrates all these traits together to drive the entrepreneur into action and consequent success.

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Decision Making, Visually!

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So, recently, LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, asked me why my activities on their networks standout? Why is it that I am so partial to visual presentations than textual ones? Here are my responses to their questions and I hope you can use them too.

  1. Compared to the rest of the parts of our neo-cortex, our visual cortex is larger, and it stores larger amount of data than all other parts of the neo-cortex. It is also more intimately connected to our deeper, limbic brain. Visuals/Images are attractive, easy to understand, harder to misinterpret and they help us discern and decide more rapidly compared to data from senses like taste, touch and smell. Text or scripts are really tiny images but scores of them have to put together, interpreted correctly before being understood and accepted.

When visuals are colorful they also stimulate and excite the creative, playful nodes in the whole brain. They bring up instantaneous smiles from the viewers while releasing increased happy chemicals inside the brain.

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Appreciative Inquiry, Way of Life

Though this has impacted me several times and through multiple avenues, I can’t seem to be impressed any lesser every time it happens again…the fact that assessing any situation through a proactive stance and doing something concrete about challenges and hopes most often than not generates happy and constructive outcomes.

Recently, I spent three months working with a bunch of senior executives of a global corporation. In the last quarter of last year their sales were down, they were developing lesser new products and people in several of their departments were low on energy and low on engagement. Upon probing deeper and conversing with people at multiple levels we sensed a drop in trust levels among the senior management. Though this was barely visible in their behavior and internal communications, it seems that production, sales and even marketing had read between the lines and gotten a whiff of the underlying tremors. The infliction had spread and was slowing down progress and even routine work.

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Managing the Maps in our Minds

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The maps in our minds are our, very own, perceptions of realities. They are our points of view and since each one of us is totally unique then, obviously, every perspective we own is unique.

That is all fine and dandy but we get into murky waters when we begin to assess other people’s intentions and begin to believe that our assessments are true and that there is no space for doubt. Thus our perceptions become assumptions of truth and we get into murkier waters when we begin to react to these assumptions. These are maps yes, but many a times, negative ones.

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Intention and Action in Sales

I am a big believer in the power of intention. Of course, believing in the power of intention does not, for me, cross out my faith in the power of action and my trust in taking action. Intention is the non-tangible seed and action is that aspect of all successes that is visible and measurable. Thus, without the right intention, your actions can be insipid and your outcomes can amount to zilch. Nada. Nothing!

In sales and selling when approaching new clients, analyzing their needs and presenting them with options or, even, solutions your true and authentic intentions will have a direct correlation to all outcomes and to the closing of the sale.

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Sales Coaching, a Calling

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The real value underlying coaching others, especially your sales teams, is the fact that while you are helping, guiding and nurturing others into being their own best and unleashing personal resources for personal success, is that you as a coach, as a leader learn thrice as much. These are just three of the things that happen to YOU when you coach others:

  • Your own insights into the finer nuances of selling skills multiply exponentially.
  • You become a more cautious and a careful person and develop an uncanny ability into seeing what others need, what others say and how others express themselves.
  • You also learn to assimilate information in a dynamic and a holistic way.

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Enterprising Young Musicians

It is true that the cognitive business skills for starting, running, and succeeding at a business venture can be gleaned from a book and learned from business schools. But there is no entity that can impart and equip an entrepreneurial candidate with what economist Joseph Alois Schumpeter rather romantically described back in 1912, as “the will to conquer, the dream and the will to found a private kingdom, and the joy of creating, of getting things done.”

Most successful entrepreneurs do discover and master the science behind, “the will to conquer, the dream and the will to found a private kingdom, and the joy of creating, of getting things done.” But, after suffering excruciating pain and paying an enormous price.

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I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?