Posts Tagged ‘Business Coaching’

Will You Be a Casualty of the Sales Coaching or Business Coaching Stampede?

Well, it seems like everyone is now a coach, be it sales coaching, business coaching or even executive coaching.  From local Small Business Development Centers to recently unemployed executives, there continues to be a plethora of “coaches” ready to solve their clients’ problems and fill their own bank accounts.



Yet most have just swapped consulting for coaching and therein lies the problem.

Coaching is not consulting or even mentoring.  Let me repeat that critical statement:

Coaching is not consulting or mentoring!

Coaching in its original intent is about having the client find the answers to her or his own issues. Consulting and mentoring is when the answers are provided by the consultant or mentor.

One of the best definitions regarding the role of for those engaged in sales coaching, business coaching or executive coaching is from Resource Associates Corporation:

“The role of your coach is not to provide answers or solutions. It is to help you develop the potential that lies within you so that your increase your capability to overcome all obstacles and achieve all of your goals…it is to help you discover for yourself where you are today and where you want to be in the future.” (Reprinted with permission)

I share this definition with all clients so that they understand our respective roles.

Great coaches also have employ a process for self discovery supported by proven tools.  The tools in many instances are not the latest and greatest technology applications, but rather tried and proven tools that have been employed for decades if not centuries.

No, not everyone is a coach. No, a coach does not have to be certified through some coaching organization.

If you are thinking of hiring a sales coach, business coach or executive coach ask about his or her process.  Ask about the results that have been achieved and most importantly are those results sustainable? If possible talk to some of his or her past clients, hear from their mouths what results they achieved.

Want to discuss sales coaching with Leanne Hoagland-Smith? Ask about your process for self-discovery. Click here to schedule a free 30 minute session.

P.S. If you want someone else to find your answers, then hire a consultant not a coach.

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How Process Trumps Price in Business, Executive or Sales Coaching

Once again I heard, “Your price is too high.  I can get sales coaching for a much cheaper cost.” Possibly you have also heard a similar sales objection to your price?



My direct reply to this sales objection was:

“Then that other coach may be a better solution fit for you.  My fees that you believe are too high are the result of 19 years as an executive, business and sales coach with a proven track record.

There are only two problems in any SMB – people or process.

Many executive coaches, business coaches and sales coaches lack a process.  This is why I have personally coached numerous executive, business and sales coaches who did not have a process.  Effective coaching be it for executive, small business owners or sales professionals is 100% about continuous improvement. How can anyone engage in sustainable continuous improvement without an initial process?”

Sales Coaching Tip:  Not everyone is the best fit as a sales coaching client. I already had a sense this was not my ideal customer because forward thinking people do not bring price up at the beginning or sometimes never at all.

In speaking with my colleagues on the East and West Coast as well as with some of my clients, my coaching fees are way too reasonable for the proven results I deliver. However a SMB owner one must be cognizant of the market place.  Also having separate fees for different geographical areas just seems unethical to me.

If you are thinking about hiring a sales coach, then the first question should not be about price, but rather about process.  What process does the coach employ?

The second question should be directed to what are the results generated by the process?  Results must be quantitative (measurable) not just some feel good qualitative results. This may require you speaking with the clients of the coach you are considering hiring.

As to the third and final question, is how do your clients get those results? Here is where the rubber meets the road for those engaged in executive, business or sales coaching.

Click HERE to schedule your time to learn of my answer to that third question.

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How Sales Coaching May Lead to this Unintentional Result

Sales coaching continues to grow from internal coaches, sales managers to the hiring of external coaches.  Yet quite often this unintentional result happens as I was reminded by this statement made by a respected colleague:

Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.

How can any professional coach worth his or her weight prescribe a solution without using a proven diagnostic tool is counter intuitive. To take this Captain Wing It action lessens the overall proven effectiveness of sales coaching, executive coaching, leadership coaching or business coaching. This statement is also true for workplace culture consulting to talent management.



Imagine for a moment going to the doctor with a headache.  The doctor listens to your complaint and says “you need immediate brain surgery.”  No tests had been ordered. Not even a thorough examination was undertaken.  He listened and then prescribed.  Probably you would have walked or even ran out of his office seeking a second opinion.

When speaking with sales leads who are seeking sales coaching, I explain my coaching process and how it always begins with an assessment to better diagnosis the real problems and not the symptoms many others solve. Sometimes the sales lead does not want the assessment and that is okay because his or her refusal tells me he or she is not a right fit for my coaching approach.

Without the use of a proven diagnostic tool such as a psychometric assessment, the coach is assuming what he or she is hearing is accurate. Additionally the lack of a diagnostic tool weakens or totally eliminates the coaching plan and supporting process.  This lack of clarity dooms the desired results for both the coachee and the coach.

Read about how many diagnostic tools (psychometric assessments) are not proven in this LinkedIn Pulse Posting.

For example, one of the questions I ask any coaching sales lead is “If you were being interviewed for a job and asked to share your strongest talent, what would you say?”  I wait for the response and then ask this second question “How do you truly know you do that well because my experience is 98.7% of the people I have coached do not know what they do well?”

The second question is the one that justifies why my sales coaching process is different from many others.  So if you are considering hiring a coach internally or externally, it just may make sense to begin with a proven diagnostic (psychometric assessment) to ensure your coach is not committing malpractice.

Download 78-core-talents-self-eval-dl to self rank your own 78 talents and take advantage of a special offer.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip #14 Clarity

One of my favorite quotes is by Marcel Proust who wrote “The true voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes, but seeing with new eyes.”  Proust recognized the power of clarity and how humans have a tendency to seek something new because their vision is clouded. For salespeople seeking sustainable sales success, clarity is very important specific to:


  • Who is your ideal client?
  • What is your message to your ideal client?
  • Where do you find your ideal client?
  • How does your solution meet the wants and needs of your ideal client?

In working with business coaching, executive coaching and sales coaching clients, I share the essence of coaching is clarity.  Many within the SMB marketplace lack clarity.  This lack of clarity has them focusing on:

Instead they should be focusing on gaining clarity specific to:

  • What sales skills require development?
  • What skills require sales training versus intrapersonal training versus marketing training?
  • What is reach and depth of my current target market?
  • How will this technology tool help me increase sales and work with my other strategic initiatives?

Possibly the reason for the lack of clarity is the tendency to seek the quick fix.  The quick fix reaffirms the lack of clarity to current beliefs (attitudes), actions and results.

In the movie, The Patriot, there is one line that emphasizes the importance of clarity:

Aim small; miss small

When we have clarity we can aim small and therefore we shall also miss small.

How much of the failure to achieve sales success is because salespeople are aiming big and missing big?

If you want clarity, then invest the time to reflect.  Having a goal driven written strategic plan might help along with WAY SMART goals. Finally, maybe you do need some new eyes by finding a mentor to hiring a results driven sales coach.

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The Essence of Executive Coaching Is…

Executive coaching is becoming a recognized sustainable solution to improve the business leadership performance of individuals.  Yet, how often are people asked to explain the essence of this powerful solution?

executive-coachingHere is a statement that I make somewhere during the sales conversation with potential ideal customers or clients:

“Coaching be it executive, business or sales is about clarity through tools and processes beginning with assessments. These provide the information to ask the right or often unasked questions to get clear answers from you, the coachee, as to what is happening around you.”

The essence of coaching is clarity.  This is the same reason people seek out mentors.  It is not just the advice they are seeking, but gaining a very sharp, crystal clear picture of:

  • Where they are
  • Where they want to be
  • How to get to where they want to be
  • What is limiting their ability to get to where they want to be

Of course, sometimes executive coaching clients do not realize they have most of the answers within themselves. All the coach does is to ask the right or often unasked questions to have the “coachee” make that self discovery.

With business coaching and sales coaching clients, clarity is still the essence however the role of the coach may step into the role of consultant by providing answers.  Many new to sales for example do not have the tools or even sales skills necessary for sales success. The coach may provide those tools, additional knowledge and offer further guidance through role playing to reviewing sales scripts to prospecting activities.

Getting to where one wants to be is not easy especially when the path is not clear. Executive coaching helps clear that path.  Theodore Hesburgh is quoted as saying “No one can follow an uncertain trumpet.” That uncertainty is a lack of clarity.

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Sustainable Sales Success – Tip 09 Gratitude

Sales success demands being busy.  However none of us are too busy not to say thank you, not to show our gratitude.

sales-success-gratitudeIf people buy from people they know and trust, the demonstration of genuine gratitude will help to build that needed trust from sales leads to centers of influence to colleagues.

Two weeks ago I received a book from a colleague, Mark Hunter, entitled High Profit Prospecting. After I started reading the book, I sent Mark a short thank you for sending me the book.  Mark did not ask for any book recommendations. His book was a simple gift.

Earlier this week, I met with a local colleague who I had just connected on LinkedIn.  He said he had read about my book, Be the Red Jacket, and would like to purchase an autographed copy.  I gave him an autographed copy as a gift. He was truly appreciative and sent me two different thank you notes via email.

Some say gratitude is an attitude. I read something by Zig Ziglar that said an attitude is a habit of thought.

For me, it is a little deeper than just an automatic response or thought. I genuinely appreciate when people are kind to me or to others. This appreciation is part of my sales success.

With my business coaching, executive coaching and sales coaching practice, I encourage my clients to buy thank you notes and to send one out on a daily basis. These notes can be sent to current clients, colleagues, family or friends.

Writing these thank you notes, keep us grounded as human beings. We are far less likely in our quest for sales success to take our own success for granted.

Another colleague on Facebook, asked if “Did you make someone smile today?”  A genuine smile is a physical thank you note because what happens is you give the gift of a smile and usually a smile is given back to you.

Yes sales success is not always easy. Genuine gratitude is.

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Sowing the Seeds of Sales Distrust Part 1

sales-distrustPeople buy from people they know and trust. The seeds of sales distrust can be sown anywhere along the sales process path.

When working with a small business coaching client, I again saw how the seeds of sales distrust were being sown. My client and I are working on his succession plan.

In speaking with his financial advisor, he was encouraged to work up to age 67 even though he told the advisor he would like to sell his business earlier if the opportunity presented itself.  This recommendation began to create distrust with my client because my client saw the advisor thinking of his own wealth first and not putting his client first.

Sellers must always recognize the wants and needs of their clients before their own.  In this example, given my client and his wife invest thousands of dollars each in their retirement funds, his financial advisor was looking at less investment vehicles being purchased probably to the tune of at least a $100,000 over the next 9 years.

The seeds of distrust can be sown with that first handshake, the first sales conversation or even after the sales lead has become a client.  To be successful in sales is to continue to build upon the established trust.

Sales distrust for many begins with that first contact especially if it is a direct mail piece or an email.  Not only can the words create distrust, the overall look can begin to sow the seeds of distrust.

Yet with so many people having distrust of their leaders from managers (69%) to executive board positions (80%), there is a virus called distrust growing and running rampant in our business or sales culture. (Source: Harvard Business Review). Tomorrow’s posting with be part two and examine one simple trust building model that can be used not only for sales, but in all interactions.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is Trusted Authority for Forward Thinking sales culture. She works to close the knowing doing gaps that restrict sustainable business growth. Call her at 219.508.2859 Chicago USA time.

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Certification Does Not Guarantee Ethical Leadership

Within the business coaching industry and some other “unregulated” industries, there is a continued movement towards certification.  The premise is “certification” will improve the industry because of certain knowledge standards have been maintained.  Unfortunately there is a very large problem with this premise because certification does not guarantee ethical leadership.



We have seen certified industries such as financial, medical and legal all experience the impact of unethical leadership. These industries are highly regulated and individuals are supposed to demonstrate a high level of knowledge, expertise along with ethical leadership.  Yet, even though people may respond with the correct ethical answers, living an ethical life is much more difficult.

Having a Master’s of Science within education, I have the extensive knowledge of how people learn (educational psychology) and the skills to write practical training programs that deliver a positive return on investment. My knowledge base is far more extensive than many “certified coaches.”

Then add in my now 18 plus years of delivering sustainable results within my  own executive coaching, business coaching and organizational development (workplace culture/employee engagement) practice, I truly do not believe certification would add that much to my expertise.  If I were to embrace certification, it would be for my own benefit not to showcase how much more qualified I am than someone else.

I truly wonder how many “certified coaches” begin their day by reading their “core values” or business ethics statement. Each day I read mine.  These are my own non-negotiable ethical leadership behaviors I will demonstrate 24/7.  I developed these from crafting my strategic business plan many years ago.

As noted in yesterday’s blog Is What You Do Priceless?, I recently came across a “certified coach” within the Dallas/Ft. Worth Texas area who was claiming the work of two other noted psychologists from the 1970s as his own.  He was not the first one I have witnessed demonstrating the lack of ethical leadership nor will he be the last one.

Then there are the “certified coaches” who continually steal the published works of others, thinking they will not be caught. I belong to informal group of sales coaches and consultants who regularly monitor their online postings.  When a member finds his or her work plagiarized the group will “bombard” the guilty person with comments. Usually, the post is quickly removed. This just happened yesterday when an unethical sales trainer had without permission plagiarized the works of five members of this group. Due to the quick actions by this group, he removed his blog.

This may sound somewhat jaded, but coaching certification only guarantees money for those who offer certification. Coaching certification does not guarantee a higher income for the now “certified coach” nor does it make him or her more ethical.  If coaching certification really was a true money maker, the majority of business coaches would be earning far more dollars.

Also I have a sincere problem with universities being the official designated coaching certification centers. Given their dismal graduation rates for 4 year full time college students, coaching certification is about making more money and not improving the industry.

No certification does not guarantee ethical leadership.  Some human beings will always take the easy road to make money and the easy road in many instances means engaging in questionable, unethical behaviors. No amount of certification will change those behaviors.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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If Your Sales Competition Is Not Against You, Then Maybe They Are With You?

The fear of sales competition is very real for mid-size to small businesses.  So many salespeople live with negative feelings to behaviors about their competitors.  From my experience, this fear is keeping them from understanding how these competitors maybe with them instead of against them.

sales-competitionOver the years I have developed incredibly strong relationships with other executive coaches, business coaches, sales coaches, organizational and leadership consultants. These relationships begin because we as small business owners share the same positive core values (business ethics).

In many instances, I have initiated the first contact to better understand what this allegedly ‘new competitor” does.  What I have learned is the individual’s expertise is different than mine and usually so is that person’s core business.  The other positive aspect of this first contact with the sales competition is some of them have hired me as a business coach to help them with their strategic plan and marketing.

Recently I reconnected with another business coach and I learned his business coaching practice did not have a proven and affordable assessment to understand the failure of strategic initiatives for mid-size to small businesses with under 100 employees.  I shared the sample of the one I use. Now we are currently discussing how his business coaching practice and mine could work together through a strategic partnership.

Call 219.508.2859 if you would like a sample of this assessment.

Until you have that first conversation, you are making assumptions about the sales competition. These assumptions can be just as wrong as the could be right.

The fear of sales competition goes directly to having a scarcity mentality instead of an abundance one. When we immediately fear something because we make invalidated presumptions, then we are short changing ourselves and future opportunities to increase sales.

As President Roosevelt said “the greatest fear is fear itself.” Fear be it of the sales competition to cold calling to even asking for the sale is 100% within our control.  When we no longer fear the sales competition and begin to see opportunities instead of barriers, we may just realize those perceived competitors can become incredible resources to increase sales.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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LinkedIn and Effective B2B Marketing Strategies

LinkedIn closely follows Twitter when it comes to effective B2B marketing strategies according to a survey conducted by Regalix Research. For myself I know LinkedIn as a social media channel has been more effective in securing new business coaching clients as well as corporate clients seeking support for improved execution due to workplace culture barriers.

B2B marketing strategies

Source: Regalix Research

What continues to amaze me is the number of B2B professionals who fail to engage in effective B2B marketing strategies. Instead they continue to employ everything from direct sales pitches to more indirect, sneaky outreaches.

In the last several weeks, I have received very few examples of effective LinkedIn outreaches.  For example, one contact just asked me to endorse me for five skills.  I know this person and he is a business coach and executive coach.  I have endorsed him in the past for particular skills that I have personally observed.  However I believe sending an email apologizing for not being active on LinkedIn and asking for LinkedIn endorsements is potentially not the best B2B marketing strategy.

As I track my LinkedIn endorsements, I can say 95% come from people who personally know me or who have been exposed to one or more of my skills through my corporate training sessions to my writings.  Additionally, I do attempt to send everyone a LinkedIn message thanking them for the endorsement.  If I do not remember meeting them, I do ask where we interacted.

LinkedIn Coaching Tip:  If you are receiving endorsements from people you don’t know, then it is time to purge your LinkedIn first degree contacts.

Whenever I accept a LinkedIn invitation, I immediately send the following personalized LinkedIn email asking for that individual to share what prompted him or her to reach out to me.

“Good morning and thanks for the outreach. Currently I am conducting my own personal LinkedIn research and was wondering if you would not mind sharing what prompted the invite such as a shared connection, a shared group, a comment or something else?

Additionally, possibly we could connect over a virtual cup of coffee to get to know each other as well as better understanding our respective businesses? Just let me know if that makes sense to you?”

This approach is a tactic to determine if the person really wants a viable connection,  just building up his or her contacts or trolling with sales pitches.

One of the more recent responses was a backdoor sales pitch.  This individual wrote:

“We do business with consultants like yourself who don’t always have time to do the things they should be doing. If you have some gaps in your strategy or effectiveness.”

If marketing is about attracting attention and building relationships, making a sales pitch by assuming I am like all those other consultants is not effective.  Additionally, the vagueness of the response was also suspect. Possibly this was supposed to create some curiosity, but for me it did just the opposite.

The best LinkedIn effective B2B marketing strategies are those where you are truly authentic.  LinkedIn exemplifies the words of President Theodore Roosevelt who said “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Social media is about engagement that means two-way interaction. Requesting endorsements to worse yet LinkedIn recommendations are one way engagements.  Possibly the better B2B marketing strategy is to make a phone call and personally connect with the individual.  Sure, this takes more time, but then to make a sale takes more than 3 contacts according to most sales research.

P.S. Most people (99.9%) admit to wasting 12 minutes a day, so you do have time to make that phone call.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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