First Things First: Weekly 1 on 1 Coaching





It’s easy to get distracted. Urgent requests crowd out things that are often more important. We find ourselves spending the day reacting. If we don’t schedule priority activities into our weeks, sometimes they just don’t get done.


What types of activities do Bank Sales Leaders need to keep front and center? While the answer really depends a lot on your particular situation, here are the ones that most Sales Leaders need to allocate time to:

  • Identifying and recruiting talent for your team

  • Training team members to improve their skill sets

  • Reviewing pipelines

  • Making joint calls to observe your bankers in front of customers

  • Coaching

Let’s take a look at coaching. Sales Leaders know that coaching can have a huge impact on the results of their teams. And yet, for a lot of reasons, many bankers complain that they don’t do enough of it. (See my recent blog post Tips for Time-Starved Bank Sales Leaders.)


And to complicate matters, what I’ve observed is that a lot of the coaching that does get done falls into the category of deal or transaction coaching. While it’s important, it’s not enough.


Your team members also need help in identifying the best opportunities in the market. They often struggle with building momentum with desirable prospects, starting in some cases with how to make an initial contact to get an appointment with a decision-maker.


While some coaching can take place in group settings like a weekly sales meeting or a post-mortem of a deal for the whole team, the most effective way to develop team members is 1 on 1 .


Some of this can be “in the moment” or spontaneous, on the fly coaching. Sauntering by and chatting with one of your reports about an upcoming call on a major client clearly can be of tremendous value. But coaching can’t be just walking around.


You need to schedule time with each of your bankers to address important performance issues. Our recommendation is that for most business and commercial banking teams, these 1 on 1s should be for 45 to 60 minutes every other week. They’re best done outside of prime calling time—early in the day or late, often on days when there are other meetings.


What can you cover? Plenty, including a more detailed review of pipelines, calling activity, strategies for upcoming calls and, most importantly, specific developmental issues that you and the banker have decided to work on. Here’s a sample agenda:


Possible Topics to cover:

  1. Calendar

  • Review of last week’s calls and other lead generation activities (e.g. networking events, meetings with LOB partners, etc.)

  • Upcoming calls including any with the Sales Manager or partners

  • Prospecting initiatives

  • Non-selling time activities (e.g. research, customer service, credit)

  1. Pipeline

  • Review of opportunities in each stage of the funnel

  • Strategies to move customer/ prospects to next stage

  • Review of any stalled deals

  • Discussion of lessons learned on lost deals

  1. Coaching

  • Review of action items from last meeting if not already discussed

  • Review of progress on banker’s individual development plan

  • Reinforcement of sales skills

  1. Next Steps/ Action Plan


Don’t forget the coaching component (#3). Sales success is the result of having an articulated process, holding people accountable and coaching. Amping up accountability alone isn’t enough.


So remember, first things first.

  • Commit to scheduled 1 on 1 coaching for each sales team member. The open door policy does not count.

  • Get the dates and times in everybody’s calendar for at least the next quarter. No cancellations.

  • Use a structured agenda for each session.

Let me know if you have questions or comments. You can email me at or share your thoughts in the space below.

Looking for more tips on coaching? Check out MZ Bierly Consulting Articles on Coaching

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