Your Sales Coach is Not Your Accountability Buddy

In last week’s blog post, I wrote about a friend of mine who is the perfect accountability partner when it comes to helping me achieve some of the personal fitness goals I’ve set over the years. In fact, if you were to look up accountability partner in the dictionary, it would have his face (with a blow horn in one hand) next to the definition.

If you haven’t read the post, I suggest you do because it is meant to be a springboard for today’s topic on the difference between accountability partners and coaches – and how your sales manager needs to do a better job at the latter.

First thing’s first, what is the difference between accountability partners and coaches?

Accountability partners are simply there to help you achieve a milestone. Take my friend as the example: I set my own goal, and several step goals along the way, and it’s his job to hold me accountable to the objectives I put in place by ensuring I show up to workouts, eat the right stuff, and train the way I’m supposed to in order to hit my long-term target.

Coaches are there to develop you as you achieve those milestones so that you get better along the way. A perfect example is a personal trainer, someone who mutually sets a goal with you and walks you through each machine and each cardio exercise to help you improve. You may stumble, but they ensure you don’t lose sight of the long-term goal.

But Brian, you keep talking about physical fitness! What does all this have to do with the sales world?

Well … having someone holding you accountable is great and all, but having someone who can coach and develop you is even more critical. And in the sales world, most sales managers and leaders don’t do a good enough job at that.

Why pick on the sales manager?

Most managers feel like they are coaching because a large chunk of what they do every day is prompting their sales teams to take action. In reality, they are mostly providing information or feedback with no direction whatsoever. Their job is to set the right conditions and environment so you can do what you need to do, and if you are falling flat on a target, their answer is simply to make more calls or do more in another area.

At Axiom, our goal is to help sales managers understand that they should focus more on being the external view of someone’s internal struggles and do that in a unique way to help them improve. To get there, sales managers should:

  • Mutually set a goal with their individual salespeople that makes sense to everyone involved
  • Put actionable steps in place along the way to help your staff succeed
  • If there is a problem hitting a target, diagnose the root cause (is there a skillset missing? is the employee committed?)
For more on goal setting as a part of Axiom's Sales Coaching model, download our GUIDE to Sales Coaching here:

Click Here to Download the PDF 

Brian Kludas, Senior Director of Client Success

For the past 15 years, Brian Kludas has been directly involved in developing, executing, and managing sales excellence initiatives in a variety of industries. Brian's success has come through dedicated service to clients and a focus on improving seller and leader effectiveness through coaching and development. Having served in sales, sales leadership, operations, coaching, and training, Brian brings a unique blend of technical knowledge, program design, project management, and operational efficiency to the Axiom team. Brian is currently the Senior Director of Client Success. Brian is proud of the impact he makes on his clients' success. He's also proud of his accomplishments as a dedicated father, husband, and friend. Whether coaching youth sports, mountain biking, camping in the Arizona desert, being MC at community events, or even doing occasional stand up comedy routines, Brian loves a challenge.

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Topics: Better Coaching

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