Coach from the Zone

February 27, 2017
Author: Kevin Doddrell

Distinguishing yourself as a great sales coach, one who can drive your team’s opportunities over the goal line, is directly related to your ability to get into the zone as a coach.

What do we even mean by “zone?” The Japanese call the combination of being relaxed while focused in the present “Satori,” a type of Zen state, or “the zone.”  Elite athletes are familiar with this concept—as they are able to get into the zone and visualize their desired performance before stepping onto the field. Golfer Tiger Woods is famous for this. His mental game is fueled by his ability to visualize the outcome and focus on the solution.  

In sports, champions are made from getting into the zone. As sales coaches, the same concept applies. Visualizing the achievement of your sales goal is critical. 

We might not all have Tiger’s “mental game” view, but we can learn to incorporate visualization and get into the zone when it comes to leading our teams. These basic rules will get you into the coaching zone:

  • Do the research—Prior to any coaching session ensure that you understand the context of the target client, their market conditions, and potential business challenges.
  • Immerse yourself in the deal—Study the sales tools that have been provided to you for the coaching session to ensure that you understand the players involved. Know their backgrounds, potential business goals, and personal agendas.
  • The 30 minute zone period—immediately before the coaching session become totally focused 30 minutes before the conversation. Cease all interruptions, disconnect your cell phone, and stop answering emails. This is the critical time to mentally engage and get “inside” the deal. Consider potential strategies and tactics that could be deployed as a result of studying the tools and background information prior to the coaching session.
  • Be authentic—If the sales team that you are coaching believes that the one thing on your mind is to help them be successful you can be open and transparent with your coaching advice. If they feel this is your motivation then the coaching session will be a valuable encounter to advance their opportunity and help them grow as individuals.
  • Hold them accountable—Ensure that very specific action plans are built and that they feel accountable to execute within the time frames agreed. Document the action plans for both of you, as often new thoughts will come to mind following the coaching session.

The primary role of a great sales coach is to provide your sales team with the insight and confidence to take the risk to do something different tomorrow than what they would normally have done. The motivation for them to do so is a direct reflection on the ability of you, as the sales coach, to enter the coaching zone.


Personal Challenge
Follow all of the guidelines provided for a successful coaching session. Do a personal self-assessment after the session or even ask the pursuit team for their feedback

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