Meaningful Win-Loss Review Coaching

I was asked to explain what meaningful coaching looks like in a win-loss sales review, and I think the best place to start is with what it shouldn’t look like. To illustrate that point, imagine a football coach and his star player sit down to talk about another big win, and the coach asks, “Why do you think we won the game?” The ensuing conversation goes like this:


Player – “I think it’s because we scored more points than the other team.”

Coach – “Right! But why?”

Player – “Well, we scored four touchdowns, and they only scored three.”

Coach – “OK, but where do you think we need to get better?”

Player – “I think we need to keep scoring more points.”

Coach – “Right. So my coaching lesson is: do what you need to do this week to make sure that happens. OK?”

Player – “OK.”

This conversation is an example of the inherent issues that exist every day in most win-loss sales coaching reviews. Many high-performing salespeople are like the player above in that they are so good that they tend to do things intuitively – they don’t know how they do what they do, they just do it – and aren’t used to defining precisely what they did well.

 This poses a big problem for the sales leader, who has no playbook or game plan and is coaching only to the win or loss and relying on what the salesperson thinks they need to do.


Newsflash: if the salesperson knew what they were doing right or wrong, they’d probably already be doing it.

 Axiom is unique in that we help sales leaders learn how to coach their people to a defined model that speaks to the behaviors, skills, and knowledge that drive winning outcomes.

We call this the Guide Coaching Model.

Goals to define what does “good look like” for each individual

Understanding the behavior gap preventing goal attainment

Identify the root cause of the behavior gap at the skill or knowledge level

Define specific corrective action needed to address the root cause(s)

Evaluate progress on the corrective action taken

High-performing sales people need a coach to slow them down and force them to define specifically what they did well and create actionable steps to open their eyes to what they can do better. So whether you won or lost a sales opportunity, you both can answer what specifically happened and what actionable steps need to be put in place.

Let me close with this point. I’m a slightly above-average golfer but I’ve only been playing for 40+ years; I’ve never had a lesson and, honestly, have never slowed down to think about how I do some of the things I do well (or not). I didn’t realize this until I tried to teach my daughter how to play and couldn’t explain what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure if I had the right coach, I’d not only be able to teach my daughter, but I’d also bet that coach could teach me how to do some of things I do well on purpose.

 That’s what meaningful coaching is all about. I don’t care if you’re Alabama coach Nick Saban or a sales leader in Dallas, Texas, if you don’t step back and think about what you did well, then you run the risk of missing out on an opportunity to be better. Know what your team does really well so you can go out and do it again on purpose.

 For more information, download our Guide to Sales Coaching white paper:

Click Here to Download the PDF

And be sure to register for our next webinar on December 13, 2018, on Adding the Human Element to Sales Pipeline Reviews.


Andy Smith, SVP Sales & Marketing

For 24 years, Andy Smith has been helping some of the world’s leading sales organizations, including Honeywell, MasterCard, ExxonMobil, Microsoft, and others increase their effectiveness through improved sales process execution, better sales coaching, consultative sales skill development, and higher CRM adoption. Andy holds a degree from Baylor University and prior to joining AXIOM he served in senior sales leadership roles for Sales Performance International, AchieveGlobal, and Acclivus Corporation. He started his career in sales with Xerox before joining ExxonMobil where he discovered his passion for the sales performance improvement profession. Andy lives in Denton, Texas. Ask Andy about his very average golf game, radio broadcasting of high school sports, or his three adorable grand babies.

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Topics: Better Coaching

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