Coaching is one of the most powerful tools managers have at their disposal. Although, with so many coaching models, it can take time to determine which is right for your team. For this reason, we’ve outlined 7 of the most popular coaching models below. Read on to discover which one is most effective for your goals, team, and process today!
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What is Professional Coaching?
Coaching is a method of improving performance, unlike Sales Training, which seeks to improve the team’s sales skills by telling them what they need to do.
Coaching focuses on helping the individual discover they have the answers and skills. As a result, coaching uses questioning to help professionals find the answers instead of being given the answers.
Why is Coaching Employees Important?
Coaching is an essential part of any manager’s role for various reasons. Not only does it help teams improve their performance by receiving valuable guidance, feedback, and practice. But it also allows managers to improve their processes by identifying areas of weakness in their teams. Yet, the biggest reason coaching is important is that it’s profitable.
A study from CSO Insights reveals a correlation between quota attainment and coaching. When coaching skills exceed expectations, 94.8% of reps meet quota. When coaching skills need improvement, only 84.5% hit.
In summary, when coaching is effective, team members become more autonomous and self-sufficient. As a result, coaching empowers the individual to take ownership of necessary actions. In turn, making them more likely to do it and be happy with the result. As we all know, no one likes to be told what to do. When coaching is one-on-one or as a team, you can harness group discussion and self-reflection to maximize results.
What is a Coaching Model?
A coaching model is a structured framework for helping salespeople go from where they are now to where they want to be or achieve in the future.
Overall, coaching helps guide the conversation by focusing on sales reps’ future improvement and achieving results. As a result, sales coaching models focus on the long-term relationship between coach and coachee; however, the coaching conversations or sessions are usually short-term and focused on achieving a specific goal.
The 7 Most Popular Coaching Models
There are many coaching models in existence, and they all have different uses, upsides, and downsides. Discover 7 of the most popular coaching models below, and determine which suits your team.
1. Solution-Focused Coaching Model
The solution-focused sales coaching model focuses on exploring solutions with the sales rep rather than discussing the intricacies of the problems encountered. The overall idea is that these techniques help the employee visualize the end destination so they can construct a guide for the journey to that point.
This goal is achieved by coaches heavily using “present tense” language that frames the goal in a way that it has already been completed.
Conversely, coaches use “past-tense” language when focusing on the problem as it helps to frame the employee’s perspective as the issue has already been solved.
As a result, the solution-focused coaching model relies on three essential components:
- Powerful questioning: Helps staff to look “backwards” as if they had already obtained the goal
- Scaling: Analysing where the employee is now and differentiating it from where they want to be.
- Imagination: coaches encourage sales reps to envision what would be different if they achieved the goal.
2. GROW Coaching Model
Developed by renowned business coaches Graham Alexander, Alan Fine, and Sir John Whitmore in the 1980s, the GROW coaching model seeks to promote confidence and self-motivation in staff to increase productivity and personal satisfaction.
As a result, the best way to envision the GROW coaching model is to see it as a journey. The process always begins with a goal (where you’re going), identifying where you currently are (reality), and then exploring the options that will help you achieve the goal (your options.)
Finally, all good journeys begin by committing to complete the journey while preparing for obstacles you could encounter on the way (will.)
Let’s explore the GROW model acronym in further detail, including questions coaches can ask to utilize this model best:
In the first stage of the GROW coaching model, coaches help employees identify what they want to do or achieve. To do this, coaches help staff explore their options by asking future-focused questions and guiding them to discover a specific, achievable, and rewarding goal. For example, the types of questions you could ask coachees can include:
- “What do you want to achieve from this conversation?”
- “What problems are you trying to solve?”
- “Is there anything we could work on that would improve your work experience?”
- “What are the benefits of achieving this goal?”
- “Will anyone else benefit? In what way?”
- “How would it feel to achieve this goal?”
Reality (current situation, internal and external obstacles)
Once the coachee has a goal in mind, it’s now time for the coach to help them gain a clear view of their current state. As a result, coaches must use exploratory questions with rounded thinking. Overall, the focus is to broaden the coaches’ thinking by considering different perspectives, such as feedback they’ve received in the past. Questions coaches can ask to achieve this introspection include:
- “What action have you taken so far to achieve your goal?”
- “Specifically, what is motivating you toward your goal?”
- “What is stopping you from achieving your goal?”
- “If things don’t change, how will it impact you and others?”
- “What are the main obstacles stopping you from achieving your goal?”
- “How do you feel trying to overcome this challenge?”
Options (possibilities, strengths, and resources)
The third stage of the GROW coaching model has staff determine precisely how they can close the gap between where they are currently and where they want to be in the future. To achieve this, coaches can prompt coachees with questions like:
- “What’s the ideal solution?”
- “What are your other options for achieving this goal?”
- “Is there anyone you could get a different perspective from?”
- “How have you navigated similar problems before?”
- “What else could you do?”
- “What are the pros and cons of each option?”
- “Do you anticipate any obstacles that may stop you from achieving this first step?”
Will (actions and accountability)
The last stage of the GROW coaching model sees coaches support the coachee in identifying the set of actions that will help them achieve their goals and make a commitment to them. Doing so helps staff to visualize the steps in their process and, therefore, increases the probability they’ll achieve these actions. Overall, it’s down to the coach to help the coachee accomplish a sense of clarity over their future steps and make a plan to commit to them. Questions coaches can ask to achieve this last step include:
- “What’s the first step you could take to realise this goal?”
- “When are you going to do it?”
- “What subsequent actions could you take?”
- “How committed are you, on a scale of 1–10, to fulfilling each of these actions?”
- “Will you need any support to fulfil this?”
- “Who could help?”
- “How would you like to follow up on this conversation?”
3. OSKAR Coaching Model
Another solution-based sales coaching model, the OSKAR model, seeks to emphasize the progress and positives of your team’s efforts. Like many models, it supports the coachee in understanding how to bridge the “gap” between their current position and future desires. Developed by coaches Mark McKergow and Paul Z. Jackson in 2002, the simple coaching model framework contains five simple steps:
The focus of the first stage of the OSKAR coaching model is on coaches supporting the coachee in understanding and verbalizing what they want to achieve from the coaching session. To help open up your coachee, you could ask questions like:
- What do you want to achieve?
- What are some goals you’re looking to achieve?
- What’s the ideal outcome of having this coaching session?
- What do you want to focus on improving?
- How will you know you’re making progress? What will it feel like?
In the second stage of the OSKAR sales coaching model, coaches seek to help coachees realize and refine their goals into realistic expectations. To do this, coaches use a 1-10 scale and simply ask the coachee to rate how close they are to achieving their goals. For example, coaches may ask questions like: “On a scale of 1-10…”
- “On a scale of 1-10… If 1 is nowhere near and 10 is ultimately achieving your goal, where are you on the scale right now?
- “Where would you rate others who are trying to achieve the same goal on the scale?”
- “If 10 is your end goal, what does that look like?”
- “Do you know anyone who you’d rate a 10 in relation to your goal? If yes, why?”
In the third stage of the OSKAR coaching model, coaches help coachees identify the skills and resources they need to successfully acquire their goals. Doing so supports staff in exploring and analyzing their current capabilities to determine which they need to develop. As such, this exploration will help to form a rough plan of action that will help them achieve their goals. Questions coaches can ask to achieve this range from:
- What skills do you need to acquire?
- What topics do you need to learn?
- Do you know what kind of support do you need?
- What knowledge could help you achieve your goal?
- What type of resources can help you achieve your goal?
Affirm & Action
In the fourth stage of the OSKAR coaching model, sales reps reflect on their current state and what actions will improve it. The focus in this stage is to help the staff reflect on what’s working well and what they will continue to do to achieve their goal. As a result, coaches will focus on helping to plan out the desired actions the coachee wants to achieve to reach their objective. To do so, coaches can ask questions such as:
- What are you already doing that’s working well?
- What’s effective about what you’re doing now?
- Would you like to change anything?
- What does the first step to change look like?
- What type of actions do you need to take now?
In the last stage of the OSKAR coaching model, coaches help sales staff to reflect on their progress while also identifying areas of improvement, as a result, keeping them accountable for the progression of their actions. In this stage, the type of questions coaches should be asking in the follow-up review session to determine progress can include the following:
- What steps have you taken to realize your goal?
- Have you done anything differently since our last session?
- What old habits (or ways of doing things) have you stopped?
- How do you feel about your current progress?
- What are you doing that’s new?
4. CLEAR Coaching Model
A less structured sales coaching model than OSKAR or the solution-focused model, CLEAR coaching is a question-driven framework designed to help individuals achieve transformational change rather than just helping them achieve a specific goal. Let’s explore the CLEAR coaching model acronym in detail below:
In the first stage of the CLEAR coaching model, coaches start by having a discussion about how the coach and coachee will work together, what the individual would like to achieve from this session, and what this success looks like. Questions coaches can ask to determine this include:
- What would you like to specifically focus on in this session?
- What does the outcome of our conversation look like?
- How will you know if you’ve had a good session?
- What can I help you achieve or do today?
After the contract stage, it’s crucial that sales coaches actively listen to staff. At this point, coaches should be looking for clarity, details, and connections to understand both what the individual thinks about this topic and how they feel about it.
In the next stage, the facts and feelings of the coachee should become more clear. This allows the coach to start asking probing and specific questions to help the employee understand their emotional connection with their current state – and what they think may need to change to reach another desired state.
The coach now asks questions to help the sales rep consider possible actions, explore how they feel about them and ultimately help them commit to those actions. It’s essential to note that these questions should be helpful but not guide in any specific direction or otherwise help the individual if they cannot think of suitable actions. Questions coaches can ask at this stage include:
- How will you start the change process?
- What do you think could help this happen?
- Is there anyone’s support or resources you may need?
- When will you start working towards this?
- How will you feel once you’ve begun?
- What do you think you need to do next?
In the last stage of the session, coaches review the key points from the session, including a reflection on the contract objectives and their progression. At this point, the coach should ask the employee if there’s anything else they’d like to cover.
5. AOR Coaching Model
The AOR coaching model doesn’t focus on predetermined goals but rather encourages a trial-and-error approach to achieving goals. In simple terms, it’s more of an “in the moment” coaching style and allows for fast turnarounds.
As a result, it’s seen more as a continuous process that occurs monthly. That’s why managers like to use the coaching model as a competitive tool to allow team members to compare their activities to their teams.
Overall, the model is ideal for coaches looking to set the pace with their teams, which allows extra flexibility to adapt and evolve the process when necessary.
Let’s break down the AOR coaching model further:
- Activities: Refers to the individuals’ activities; this could include: cold calling, analyzing leads’ LinkedIn accounts, cold emailing, qualifying leads, and so on.
- Objectives: These are the set goals for the activities; for example, a sales coach may set the sales rep a goal to make x amount of cold calls per day or week.
- Results: The analysis of what was achieved from the objectives, for instance: higher profits per sale, improved profit margins, quicker turnarounds, or lower rates of deferred payments.
6. FUEL Coaching model
First developed by John Zenger and Kathleen Stinnett, the FUEL coaching model seeks to pair coaches who ask open-ended questions with a coachee, whose function is to analyze their situation, formulate an ideal outcome, and take ownership and accountability for achieving it.
Let’s break down the FUEL coaching model acronym below:
- Frame the conversation: by setting the context for dialogue by agreeing on the discussion’s purpose, process, and desired outcomes.
- Understand the current state: by exploring the current state from the individual’s perspective and expanding their awareness of the situation to identify the real issues.
- Explore the desired state: by explaining the ultimate goal and exploring options before prioritizing the suggested methods for achieving this vision.
- Layout a success plan: to identify specific, actionable steps staff must make to achieve their goal. This roadmap for success also includes milestones for follow-up and accountability.
7. WOOP Coaching Model
As a result, the coaching theory focuses on how staff are affected by cognition, emotion, and behavior. The model helps coaches concentrate on the mental contrast between where the coachee is now and where they want to be to achieve their goals.
Building this type of dissonance becomes a prime motivation and momentum for the salesperson to achieve their goal(s). In simple terms, the model helps the coachee identify career wishes and then determines the support mechanisms that will build the roadmap to success.
Let’s explore the breakdown of the WOOP coaching model in more detail:
- Wish: What the individual hopes to achieve.
- Outcome: The specific and measurable goals that an individual will achieve when the “wish” is obtained.
- Obstacles: The challenges that individuals must overcome to achieve their “wish.”
- Plan: The roadmap to achieving the “wish.”
How do you Measure Sales Coaching to ensure it’s effective?
While measuring the effectiveness of coaching is measured chiefly at the performance level, such as perceived changes in individual behavior, there are several official metrics you can track and analyze to determine the impact of your coaching efforts:
- Performance metrics: Track the leading sales performance indicators during the progression of deals, such as quota attainment, win rate, revenue, average deal size, pipeline value, and velocity.
- Activity metrics: help coaches understand where staff spends most of their time and input, such as the number of calls, emails, demos, appointments, leads, or prospects in the pipeline.
- Cultural metrics: track the impact of coaching on staff. Use these types of metrics to identify which sales reps feel overwhelmed and which feel supported: Perceived stress levels, sick days, employee satisfaction scores, and employee retention rates.
Final Word: Address Real-World Scenarios with Personalised Support
Every salesperson is unique, as is every deal they work on. That’s why by implementing a consistent coaching program, sales teams and individual reps can get the support they need to close the deals in front of them.
SOCO’s Peak Performance Coaching program is designed to coach teams one-on-one or as a group to address real-world scenarios and unique challenges individual sales reps face.