Top performers today consider their manager as a resource. Managers represent a wealth of knowledge, experience and objective ideas. In order to tap this resource, many top performers help guide their managers to become great coaches so that the coach in turn may guide them to a greater level of success.

The best way to turn your manager into a great coach is to tell him/her how you want to be coached. How you want to be coached all starts with vision. Not the company`s vision, the president`s vision or your manager`s vision but your vision. Help your coach realize that your vision is the key to your motivation.

Vision is a mental picture of your desired future state. Your vision represents what you are working for, not just money and business goals but personal goals as well. Make the effort to share your vision with your coach. Giving your coach this data will allow him/her to speak to you in your language about the things that are most important to you.

Your relationship with your manager is like a relationship with a good client or prospect. A prospect will tell you what their world looks like, how it operates and most of all their current and future needs. This data allows you, the sales professional, to customize a solution. In the same light, when your manager knows what your world is like and what your current and future needs are, the better equipped they are to help you. By giving your sales coach this information you are not only creating a long - term partnership, you are also giving them the specific data they need to do their job. Their job is to help you become a more successful professional.

One on One Meetings

If a sales professional is to utilize their manager as a sales coach, then one on one meetings are essential. Be sure to set up a one on one meeting with your coach once a month. These meetings can take place either face to face or by telephone. It is of the utmost importance that these meetings are considered a priority and are carried out on a regular basis if they are to be effective.

During the course of the meeting be sure to re-visit your vision with your coach. Remind yourselves why personal and professional development is so vital to achieving vision. Realize the fact that your career is the vehicle driving you to your vision. If need be, make adjustments to your daily tasks or your vision to be sure that they are in alignment. The key is in knowing that what you are doing today coupled with your continued growth and development, will get you and your coach to your desired future state.

The next step in the meeting is to create a simple development plan based on leveraging your strengths and shoring up your weaknesses. Strengths are the things that tend do come easy to you they are the things you do well and generally enjoy. These strengths also produce results either directly or indirectly.

Tell your coach what you believe your strengths to be. Ask your coach for his/her opinion. Understand that they may agree or disagree. Tap in to your coach`s ability to see things that you can`t. Once in agreement, together you and your coach can create a simple plan to leverage this strength. In other words, identify additional ways you can use this strength to maximize your results. Keep in mind that time may be limited therefore this plan should be realistic and easy to implement.

Now follow the same process regarding your weakness. A weakness does not have to be a glaring fault. A weakness is simply any area of responsibility or skill that prevents you from achieving your goals. A weakness represents an opportunity for growth and development. With your coach, create a simple plan to shore up your weakness. Here is an example of a simple development plan involving a Sales Professional`s strength and weakness:

Strength: Creating new relationships. "My prospects really like me." Plan to leverage strength: Take extra time to prospect this month. Contact as many people as you can and develop trust and rapport with them. This will fill your backlog and give you more closing opportunities next month.

Weakness: Closing. "I don`t like asking for the money." Plan to improve weakness: Try to close your business a meeting or two earlier than usual. If the thought of whether or not you should go for it crosses your mind, just do it. If you truly have trust and rapport built you will never lose a sale by asking too early but you may gain several. As you leverage your strength for creating relationships, closing will become easier and less stressful.

There is little doubt that this simple change in behavior will begin to produce increased results within thirty days. With your coach, create benchmarks to monitor progress and hold yourselves accountable to executing the plan. Review the plan once a month and make any necessary adjustments. Each quarter identify a new strength and weakness and begin a new development plan. This process keeps you and your sales coach constantly evolving and improving.

Rules of Engagement

As simple as this process seems, you cannot do it alone. As I mentioned earlier your coach can see things about your behavior that you can`t. Challenge them to do so. This cannot happen without clear and honest communication within an environment of no fear. One cannot occur without the other.

Check your ego at the door. Demonstrate to your sales coach that you can take the truth quickly and objectively as it applies to you. Tell your coach that when they feel you are off track, can do a better job or need more training, they have the green light to say it to you. When your coach does address an issue remember that they are speaking to your behavior and not attacking you as a person. Some coaches may be more tactful than others, but the bottom line is that they are trying to help you do your job better. Listen what they say and learn from their experience. The job of a coach is to help you reach your goals. If you want to have a willing coach, you must in turn be a willing student.

Follow these guidelines and you will get the most out of your student coach relationship. You and your sales coach will develop a long - term partnership built on trust, respect, mutual growth and development and achieving increased results.

------------------------------------------------------------Mark David is President of The Mark David Corporation, a sales and management training organization. The Mark David Corporation manufactures of job aids and productivity tools aimed at increasing results through development of skills and proactive habits. Mark David has been a Sales Professional, Sales Manager, Corporate Consultant and Executive Coach throughout the course of his 32-year career. As President of his own company he still performs all of those roles today. Contact: Daniel Higgins 650-341-6504 ext.008

Copyright 2000, The Mark David Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 


Mark David started his sales career in 1967, at the age of 20, as a
Professional for Smith, Corona, Marchant Corporation in New York City.
10 years spent gaining sales experience from the ground up ... Mark
to move corporate mountains!

In the late 70's, Mark accepted a position with Executone South Bay as
President of Sales/Partner. He played a key role in restructuring
sales force and ended up building the company into such an enormous
that Honeywell Industries purchased it.

Looking for further challenges, Mark then took on the position of Vice
President- Sales/Partner at Day & Night Telephone. While there, Mark
used his
creative sales strategies to increase company profits tremendously.
This led
to the company being Purchased by industry giant, Pacific Telephone.

In the mid 80's, Mark joined Business Communications Services, a
focused solely on service. He broadened its scope to encompass both
and sales, and the company was later purchased by TIE Corporation.

Mark took these startup companies and by applying his keen instinct,
sales experience and business expertise, turned them into tremendous
stories. This well-rounded combination of talents provided the solid
for Mark to pursue his true desire... to help both companies and
reach their highest potential.

In 1987, Mark founded Accelerated Business Concepts, a training
company. His
initial success as a keynote speaker quickly led him to venture into
one-on-one coaching and customized training development. Then, in 1991,
launched his publishing career With the introduction of several of his
productivity tools. The Self-Manager Development Program, the Personal
Business Plan, the Eye Chart Focusing Program and the Habit-Making
Cards were
created to give managers the coaching tools they need to grow, develop
hold their teams accountable to achieving success.

Since then, Mark has authored a complete line of Sales and Management
productivity tools and has become known as "the Coach with a real-world
approach." In 1994, the company was renamed The Mark David Company.
after experiencing a period of tremendous growth, the company was
from a sole proprietorship to a corporation in 1997.

The Mark David Corporation proudly offers a logical approach to human
development. With over 30 years of sales, management, coaching and
experience, Mark David develops all of his programs from the results of
research and testing in the field. This provides his clients with
tools and concepts that are actually three to five years ahead of their