Are You the Coach You Think You Are?

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No doctor has ever graduated in the bottom half of the class. 90% of drivers think they are above average. Many (you fill in the blank) have an inflated opinion of their performance.

Some refer to this as the Lake Wobegon effect (“where all the children are above average.”) It’s what Dilbert spoofs regularly. There’s probably a psychological explanation for this usually benign delusional behavior that helps most of us cope with our jobs or golf games or ability in a foreign language.

In a May 2015 Harvard Business Review article entitled “Sales Teams Need More (and Better) Coaching,” Scott Edinger shared the results of a survey he conducted in an unnamed Fortune 500 telecom company. “Leaders reported that they spent a considerable amount of time coaching their direct reports and scored themselves high on their efforts—on average just shy of the 80th percentile. Direct reports responded by saying that they’d received little to no coaching and scored them low– on average just around the 38th percentile.”

OK, maybe you are in the top quartile. But now’s a good time to get a reality check. If you think you’re doing a good job coaching, here are four suggestions:

  • Get some feedback from your team members. It may be hard to get some bankers to be candid critiquing your efforts. A suggestion: Ask them what you could do differently going forward.
  • Invite a colleague to sit in on one of your sales meetings or coaching sessions. See if you could watch her in action. Take time to debrief everything in nauseating detail.
  • Ask your boss to be brutally objective with you about your coaching. And if your manager hasn’t watched you in action, make sure he gets it on his calendar.
  • Review some of these posts from the MZ Bierly Consulting archive:

Sales Leaders: Are You Doing All You Can to Boost Prospecting Results?

7 Sales Leadership Rituals That Matter

First Things First: Weekly 1 on 1 Coaching

And here’s one final thought, courtesy of coaching guru Marshall Goldsmith: “I have personally worked with several of the world’s leading CEOs. One reason that they are so effective in leading people is that they are always trying to improve themselves – not just asking everyone else to improve. Our best coaching clients are dedicated to be great role models in consistently working to improve themselves.”

What are you doing to improve your coaching in 2017? Contact me at to find out about individual and small group coaching for bank sales leaders.





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