About Mark Garrett Hayes: SalesCoachr’s Founder, Mark Garrett Hayes, is the author of the value-packed and highly-praised book ‘Sales Coaching Essentials.’ Endorsed by best-selling authors like Mike Weinberg, Matt Dixon, Jeb Blount, and top sales leaders worldwide, this book will help you crack the code and show you how to enable your frontline sales managers to perform at their best as coaches. You’ll discover why all sales leaders must become better coaches and learn practical ways to make this happen – so you can get the best from your most important strategic asset – your people. Check out the latest episode of our Conversational Selling podcast to learn more about Mark.
In this episode, Nancy and Mark discuss the following:
- The importance of coaching in the modern world.
- The difference between coaching and bossing people around.
- Why trust is the fundamental skill required to coach people.
- Mark’s story of transition from business development representative to a coach.
- How long does it take a person to make that transition?
- Different coaching styles.
- How often should people get coached?
- Proactive and reactive coaching.
- Coaching will help you think more about how to involve your team in thinking for themselves and coming up with solutions.
- Coaching is like connecting with someone’s operating system.
- We look at coaching through the prism of the kinds of meetings or reviews that sales leaders would run.
- Also, we apply coaching as a style in how you recruit, identify, recruit on board, and keep great salespeople.
- If you are running a business, you must ask yourself, where will something like coaching pay dividends?
“Well, my area is sales coaching, but coaching is a universal skill because it leverages people’s innate abilities. When we direct people, we boss people, we over-manage people, and we tend to impose our solutions upon them. In doing so, we overlook their contribution, responsibility, and accountability and shortcut their creativity. So, when I’m directing, bossing, and telling people what to do, I’m not involving them. Secondly, I’m creating huge amounts of work for myself. So, if I coach people, I get to enlist them and get them to co-create solutions, which often they will understand better than I will because they’re the ones experiencing them through their eyes.” – MARK.
“So, coaching also involves curiosity. To coach people, you must be curious about what they think and are experiencing, so you have to ask questions. And in doing so, that curiosity is helping people to create perhaps an understanding of something they didn’t see before that. When you think of the great, I think the great movie parents, if you will, they’re less autocratic and more democratic, which is not to say that we just throw all the strictures out the window and say, yeah, let’s go crazy here and have no form of leadership, but rather it’s a way to give people a feeling that, okay, you’re my leader, but you trust me to think. And as a child, what is it like to be given that feeling that my parents trust me? Okay, they say, this is how we’d like you to behave. We don’t want you to do these things, but we trust you to think, and we will involve you in decision-making what you think your boundaries are. And that’s a whole different conversation.” – MARK.
“I’ve coached in different parts of the world, understanding what coaching is and how coaching fits into sales leadership. The challenges that people face when using coaching styles and what that is. We used elements of psychology to understand what coaching means in terms of how you change gears in your mind and various psychology models, not too much psychology, but enough to be useful. And to help people tactfully and tactically apply coaching in everyday sales leadership positions. And what people said to me afterward was, this is practical. And I said that’s the nicest thing you can say because I don’t want people to say, oh, we love the handouts. Oh, we love the PowerPoint presentations. But people felt this connected with me. And I can now turn conversations and relationships with my salespeople around. I’m a better leader, and they’re being led better.” – MARK.
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Voiceover: You’re listening to The Conversational Selling Podcast with Nancy Calabrese.
Nancy Calabrese: Hi everyone, it’s Nancy Calabrese and it’s time again for Conversational Selling, the podcast where sales leaders and business experts share what’s going on in sales and marketing today and it always starts with a human conversation. Today we’re speaking with Mark Garrett Hayes, founder of SalesCoacher, a boutique consultancy for highly effective sales coaches. Working both in-house and remotely with sales teams internationally, Mark has developed powerful tools to help sales leaders get the best from their teams. He is the author of the value-packed and highly praised book, Sales Coaching Essentials, the Essential Guide for Sales Managers which helps to discover how to turn everyday conversations and situations into coaching opportunities and transform teams’ performances. Mark is also the host of the Sales Coach Podcast and interviews sales leaders and thought leaders at SaaS and tech companies worldwide. Welcome to the show, Mark.
Mark Garrett Hayes: Thanks, Nancy. Thank you for having me. [1:30]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, very much. So why is coaching so important?
Mark Garrett Hayes: Well, coaching, my area is sales coaching, but coaching is a universal skill because it leverages people’s innate abilities. When we direct people, we boss people, we over-manage people, and we tend to impose our solutions upon them. And in doing so we overlook their contribution, responsibility, and accountability, we also shortcut their creativity. So, when I’m going around directing and bossing and telling people what to do, one, I’m not involving them. And secondly, I’m creating huge amounts of work for me to do. So, if I coach people, I get to enlist them and get them to co-create solutions, which often they will understand better than I will because they’re the ones experiencing them through their eyes. [2:21]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, but like, let’s just dive deeper. What’s the difference between coaching somebody and as you said, bossing them around? Give us an example.
Mark Garrett Hayes: Well, several perspectives. First, from the, let’s say the recipient’s perspective, if I’m on the receiving end of direction or micromanagement, then I simply disengage. I feel that it’s your responsibility to tell me what to do. And I become dependent upon you to guide me, inform me, train me, and keep me accountable. But when I’m coached, I more likely feel a sense of control. I feel a sense of responsibility and accountability, and I’m more likely to take ownership of what my challenge is and how I’m going to solve that for my reasons. [3:11]
Nancy Calabrese: Right. I read on your website, that if you’re like many sales leaders, chances are your front-line sales managers are probably functioning at an acceptable level. And so how can these leaders or managers go beyond acceptable?
Mark Garrett Hayes: They must become coaches. It is that simple. There are, there are many challenges, particularly when people are told, hey, guess what, you’re, you’re now a manager. We have taken you from, um, let’s say a position and we’ve elevated you. And now we expect more from you, but we haven’t enabled you to help yourself be a leader. So what coaching is going to do is going to help you to think more about how to involve your team in thinking for themselves and coming up with solutions. If I’m the boss all the time, I tend to negate your contribution. And I was that person, by the way. I was one of those people who thought, hey, I’ve got the badge, now I’m the sheriff. And so, my view was, well, if it’s my responsibility, then it’s going to be my decision. And that kind of theory X approach works well in some kinds of institutions, but not these days, not in, in meritocratic, highly agile, fast-moving organizations where we want a fluidity and responsibility in our people to be able to say: “Hey, you know what, that that’s different”. That wasn’t that way yesterday. What did I do, what did I do here? What’s my skill set, rather than saying: “Hey, Bob, you’re my manager. What do I do now?” [5:01]
Nancy Calabrese: Right.
Mark Garrett Hayes: And so, we almost create in someone’s mind that they have the power, the skill set, and the mindset to adapt and to understand challenges for their reasons. I’ll give you an example. Let’s say, for example, I’m working with salespeople. Now I’ll go into some places, and you can tell that the manager is the law and the way they run things is how things are done. If you take out that person, if they’re away or they’re ill then that person has created dependent dependency, and that team is at sea, they’re flummoxed, unable to perhaps function, and perhaps the routines that they’re used to, uh, also don’t work because they all involve and revolve around one person or one leadership style. But when we create coaching or use coaching as a means of creating self-leadership, people are more likely to say, you know what, I’ve got the broad strokes here. I know what I’m supposed to be doing, what results look like, what good looks like. And I’m entrusted to come up with my solutions myself. I will check in with my manager to make sure I’m on the right path. I will ask for feedback because as a coachee, I’m comfortable being given feedback and I’m asking for feedback. And that’s what coaches do. They create that sense of, um, cooperation, collaboration, and co-creation. And that’s a whole different thing when you compare that to many top-down, do it the way I do it, the way I say it leadership. [6:33]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, I mean, even hearing you say that kind of gives me a tight feeling in my stomach. Nobody likes to be bossed around. And you don’t get the best out of anyone if you boss them around even your kids, right? Yeah.
Mark Garrett Hayes: Hmm, that’s true. That’s it. That’s a very good point because coaching is more than I think I said at the outset, it’s more than a skill set, which is applied to work. It’s something that, in many respects, can revolutionize your approach to relationships. And I know what life was like before I did that, because, again, perhaps it’s something one has inherited from a parent, this feeling of, well, you know, I’m the parent, and I now get to throw my weight around as opposed to saying, hang on a sec I’m dealing with people who surely can see things differently to me. What are those things? So, coaching also involves curiosity. To coach people, you must be curious about what they think and what they’re experiencing, and so therefore you have to ask questions. And in doing so, that curiosity is helping people to create perhaps an understanding of something they didn’t see before that. When you think of the great, I think the great movie parents if you will, they’re less autocratic and more democratic, which is not to say that we just throw all the strictures out the window and say, yeah, let’s go crazy here and have no form of leadership, but rather it’s a way to give people a feeling that, okay, you’re my leader, but you trust me to think. And as a child, what is that like to be given that feeling that my parents trust me, okay, they say, this is how we’d like you to behave. These are the things we don’t want you to do, but we trust you to think, and we’re going to involve you in decision-making what you think your boundaries are. And that’s a whole different conversation. And I kind of wish I had more of that parenting, but thankfully my parents aren’t listening. [8:30]
Nancy Calabrese: Right. Maybe they will be careful what you say. So, you know, I love your story about how you got initially involved in sales. You mentioned to me that you struggled as a first-time BDR. Tell the audience about your story.
Mark Garrett Hayes: Yeah. So a BDR for people listening means business development representative. And, and that is, uh, I worked for Disney, by the way, years ago as a student. And I worked as a busboy. And in some respects that was a similar role because you are serving someone else and helping them to do their job. So, I was working and, as a BDR, which means an assistant to a more senior salesperson. And so, I had to prospect, lift the phone. I felt rejected, rejected sometimes people wouldn’t answer the phone or respond to my emails, et cetera. And when I found someone to talk to who was qualified and I tried to qualify them by asking them qualification questions, then I could say this is a lead and I’ll pass this to my salesperson. And that person then would progress that, that lead. So, I was good at that. I like the routine and I would have no problem making 125 calls a day more or less which these days is not very intelligent I have to say because we’ve since then now had all kinds of software which we can use to almost Pre-qualify or to more rigorously qualify people before we end up speaking to them But back then it was spreadsheet phone go but what I realized was that when it came to being entrusted with a sales team, I was, I was more like a boss than a coach because I had no clue what coaching looked like and why would I use coaching when everyone else who’s managed me tells me what to do and so it’s my turn to pass this on, but thankfully I got help from a guy called Matt who coached me and eventually I realized the power of coaching. So, I wouldn’t say I was a very good sales manager, but I can say that coaching saved me and thankfully through that experience, I’ve helped other people not to make mistakes that I made. And that’s what’s helped me in my journey. Fast forward a couple of years, and I’ve written a book on the subject and work with organizations helping sales managers, particularly new managers to become coaches rather than bosses to their teams. [11:03]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah. Right. How long does it take a person to make that transition?
Mark Garrett Hayes: That is a great question. I’ll tell you why I like that question. It’s because sometimes it’s quite emotional. That’s a thing. It’s not procedural. It’s not technical. Its emotional coaching gets right to the heart of people. Why, why do I think this way? Why do I say these things? Why do I do this thing? These times of the day and so on. It’s like connecting with the operating system of someone. And I’ve seen people literally in an afternoon, um, almost go from, oh my God, that’s the effect I’m having here. That’s the thing I’m sending out into the world. This is why I am where I am. This is why I have the relationships I have. And so, the answer is it can be pretty, pretty damn quick. When you see people in a room, as I had this July past, a large project recently, and, um, I saw people almost have light bulb moments. And they began to open up without prompting to their peers and talk about the kinds of challenges they were having as a leader to people. Didn’t have to mention names. People knew who they talked about and who they were referring to. And I could see that transition in people’s minds visibly, and emotionally. And I saw other people connect with that person and go, that’s me too. That’s what I’m getting. I hate to say it but in a room of peers, people were able to almost unload themselves and say, thank goodness there is a solution here. I am fed up with being the boss, the sun, and the solar system around which everything revolves. I want my team to do more of the heavy lifting think for themselves and be accountable and resourceful. And this is what I need. [12:59]
Nancy Calabrese: Right. You know, I think being a boss or a bossy boss puts so much pressure on that individual by enabling your team to coach and make mistakes and learn from them. I think it’s a much smoother way to operate in business. And in my personal life, yeah, I agree with you.
Mark Garrett Hayes: It is, it is, yeah. Yes, exactly.
Nancy Calabrese: Let me ask you this. I want to know, is there something you would like to spotlight and share with the audience?
Mark Garrett Hayes: Yeah, there is one program we’ve wrapped up recently. People might know The Economist as a magazine or newspaper. I have a copy right beside me here. So, we’ve just completed a program with all their sales managers in APAC, Asia Pacific, the EU, and UK, and North America. And we helped them on this program over three months to transition, if you will, into sales coaches. And we brought them through a program. I’ve coached in different parts of the world, understanding what coaching is, and how coaching fits into sales leadership. The challenges that people face when using coaching styles and what that is. We used elements of psychology to understand, what coaching means in terms of how you change gears in your mind and various psychology models, not too much psychology, but enough to be useful. And to help people tactfully and tactically apply coaching in everyday sales leadership positions. And what people said to me afterward was, this is practical. And I said that’s the nicest thing you can say because I don’t want people to say, oh, we love the handouts. Oh, we love the PowerPoint presentations. But people felt this connected with me. And I am now able to turn conversations and relationships with my salespeople around, I’m a better leader and they’re being led in a better way. [15:07]
Nancy Calabrese: Well, what are some of the different coaching styles?
Mark Garrett Hayes: Well, you’ve different schools of coaching. You have co-active coaching. If you go into it, you could say pure coaching. You have coaching, which is often used in conjunction with executive coaching or life coaching. My area is sales coaching. So, we try and look at, we don’t just try, we do. We look at coaching through the prism of the kinds of meetings or reviews that sales leaders would run, whether it’s in the case of a QBR or quarterly business review performance reviews, one-to-ones, or deal reviews, and we think of how coaching is applied in all those everyday business as usual conversations that we have with salespeople. Also, we apply coaching as a style in terms of how you recruit, identify, recruit on board, and keep great salespeople. So, there are lots of people I think of David Clutterbuck who will write extensively on how coaching is used academically or in a purer coaching sense. What I’m doing and what my team does is about bringing coaching as a leadership style into the world of sales leadership. [16:25]
Nancy Calabrese: And how often should people get coached?
Mark Garrett Hayes: That’s a hard question to answer because it depends on the situation. I think I think everyone needs coaching to some level. It’s not therapy. Coaching is not therapy. It’s not mentoring. It’s not training. It’s a different thing. Coaching in some respects is something that every coach should have officially. Because when you qualify as a coach, let’s say you’re with the EMCC or the ICF or the AC, the large coaching bodies internationally, you are expected to have a supervisor coach. So, I would have one of those and I check in with her monthly. Ordinarily, I had a coach during the summer who called me every day for four minutes. I tried that for a while. So, it’s hard to say what works for you. A lot of people find two weeks is a good cadence. However, as a coach, I think as a sales leader who is a coach to her/his people, you ought to be coaching every single day. In all kinds of situations. We have proactive coaching where you’ll go in and use coaching in an everyday one-to-one or some kind of performance review, but then you’ll have reactive coaching where you might help someone with a deal that’s stuck or stagnating in their sales pipeline. So, it’s really hard to say, you know, off the cuff here, it is situational. [17:53]
Nancy Calabrese: Right. Yeah. I’m a big believer in coaching. I have a business coach. Everyone in my organization has access to her. And she’s made such a big difference in the culture and keeping my people happy. You know, they have a voice that they can speak to somebody confidentially if they have something on their mind. So, I’m a big proponent of that. You know, I can’t believe we’re out of time. This went by so quickly. What is the one takeaway you want to leave the audience with?
Mark Garrett Hayes: It did. I think if you’re listening to this and running a business, then you must ask yourself, where is something like coaching going to pay dividends? And I would also say that many salespeople are overlooked. Sales is a stressful job. People go through tremendous amounts of rejection, phones being put down, being told not to call back, people’s proposals, going up and smoking, et cetera, et cetera. And so, the one place where you can bring coaching to bear that will make an effect on the bottom line of the organization, that that’s the frontline where your salespeople are. And I’m amazed at how often organizations don’t invest in their salespeople. We expect so much of them. Um, we, you know, there is no, I don’t know of any formal degree in coaching or in, in sales from a university. There is marketing, all kinds of, uh, professional qualifications, but not too many that I’m aware of in sales. And so no, hopefully, yes. And so if you’re going to invest in salespeople, great salespeople, and make them into great salespeople and keep those salespeople coaching is something you’ve got to think about seriously. [19:46]
Nancy Calabrese: Yeah, not too many, but they are getting into universities now. Yeah. How can my people find you?
Mark Garrett Hayes: You can check out the podcast, which is the Sales Coach podcast. I interview sales enablement people from around the world, and top organizations every week. You can find my book online, which is Sales Coaching Essentials. And then you can check me out on the team at Sales Coacher. That’s a coach without an E. So, it’s www.salescoacher.com.
Nancy Calabrese: Awesome, awesome. Thank you so much, Mark. You’re going to have to come back. We’ll have to continue the discussion. I think coaching goes such a long way. Again, we’ve said this in business and personal life. Everyone, please take advantage of Mark’s expertise. Reach out to him. And make sure, to look at yourself. Are you coaching people? Are you being coached properly? And if you have any doubts or questions, I’m sure Mark would be happy to have a conversation with you. So, until we see you again, have a great, great sales day. Thanks for listening. [20:54]