26 October 2023 |

the 6 coaching questions

By Gabrielle "GB" Blackwell

Now, I’m not usually a “go to the keynote” kind of conference girlie, but the person kicking off the Peak Summit was one I just could.not.miss. 

This year, Lauren Bailey, founder of award-winning sales rep and training company, Factor8, knocked it out of the park by giving the crowd her top six questions every manager should include in their coaching arsenal.

Here they are:

#1: What are you most proud of on that call?

Picture this – you and your rep just finished up a role play coaching call and you ask your rep to give a self assessment. 

What’s the first thing your rep is likely to do?

If your rep is like most people, they’ll start listing off all the things they did poorly while struggling to give themselves credit for what they did well. 

In asking the pointed question of “what are you most proud of on that call?”, you’ll encourage your rep to focus solely on what they did well.

#2: What should we do next?

One of the most game changing abilities a rep can posses is the ability to think critically. 

But this only happens if they’re given the chance to exercise those critical thinking muscles!

By asking your rep to think about what they should do next, you stop yourself from simply giving your reps the answers (*cough* inhibiting critical thinking *cough*) and help them consider their options. 

🎁Bonus: in asking this question, you give your rep the opportunity to come up with another path towards success you may not have thought about. More ways to win = better chances at winning!

#3: Why are you so good at this?

There’s just something about asking a question that affirms someone’s ability that makes me day! And that’s exactly what this question is doing.

Also, in asking this question, you’ll get your rep to think about the actions they’re taking to generate success. Oh hello conscious competence, you beautiful thing you!

#4: What one thing is most important to work on?

A lot of sales reps want to set their sights on a goal and work towards achieving it. It’s great, right?

Eh…it depends.

One of the shadow sides to being ultra goal oriented is trying to bite off more than one can chew, leading to frustration and burnout.

Rather than reps trying to accomplish everything they set out to do, by asking them “what one thing is most important to work on?”, you’ll help them see that not everything needs to be completed right away. Instead, they can think about breaking out their work and tasks to make things more manageable. 

#5: What happens when you knock this out of the park?

When I played sports in high school, I kicked off every season with a vision board. I envisioned what I wanted to accomplish and how I was going to do it. I’d even go so far as to visualize the specific moves I’d make or shots I’d take to score. In short, I’d see myself winning before I even stepped onto the court.

As an all-state hooper and all area volleyball player, I’d say this visualization exercise worked pretty well.

Given the success I got from this exercise in high school, I’ve found ways to bring it into my leadership toolkit. 

This question – “what happens when you knock this out of the park?” – is one easy way to begin incorporating visualization techniques with your reps. 

#6: Tell me about a time you had to do something similar?

This question is my absolute favorite question to ask to my reps, specifically if they’re struggling to develop a certain skill or falling behind in performance.

More often than not, there are challenges your people have faced that have given them a nugget of wisdom which can be applied in their sales role. In asking them the question, “tell me about a time you had to do something similar?”, you help your reps realize they’ve solved this problem in the past. 

When someone recognizes they’ve been successful in overcoming a problem once, they’ll have greater confidence in their ability to solve that problem again.

Are you game?

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m PUMPED to start using these questions in 1:1s with my reps! 

Question to you though – will you join me in trying these coaching questions out with your reps?

If you’re a “yes”, reply back with a “I’m Game”!

Visual of the Week

Celebrating my birthday with friends and loved ones was truly the icing on a beautiful metaphorical cake. And…this real cake was pretty sweet too 🎂!