Coaching: The Three Challenges and the “One Thing”

Coaching is hard.  Why?  Well there are many reasons, but there are 3 primary challenges we see financial services sales leaders struggle with the most.

  1. Limited Time to Coach:  Coaching, in its purest sense, is only a fraction of the role most leaders play.  In numerous surveys we have done with financial services sales leaders, most self-report that they spend only about 10-20% of their time in active coaching.
  2. Advisor Engagement:  Let’s face it, most advisors consider themselves experienced, successful professionals.  While they aren’t openly antagonistic to coaching, they don’t necessarily welcome it or seek it out as they often do not recognize value in the coaching they receive.
  3. Deal Focus:  The coaching we see most often is “deal-based,” meaning it is solely focused on helping an advisor close a specific deal.  While that is important, it is often only beneficial for that one deal.  Rarely do we see leaders with a clearly-defined coaching strategy focused on how the advisor can enhance his or her skills that lead not only to closing a specific deal, but also to performance improvements that will permanently improve the advisor’s productivity.

The central role of a sales leader is to incorporate a coaching strategy that will lead to long-term development of their direct reports’ skills, capabilities and, therefore, productivity.  After all, in the end that is what a sales leader is paid for.

So where do you start as a leader in developing a coaching strategy for your advisors?  Watch the short 45-second video below and take the advice of Curly from the movie City Slickers.  (small, one-word language warning)



Want to have more impact in your coaching?  It’s simple, but not necessarily “easy”…

Step 1 

For each advisor, assess the following:

  • Knowledge: Do they have the technical knowledge required to deliver advice and guidance to clients?
  • Skills: Do they have the ability to translate their knowledge into the conversations with prospects and clients and the other related skills necessary for success?
  • Practice Management: Do they have the proper routines and disciplines required for success?

Identify what you believe to be the “One Thing” that you can focus on for a defined period of time that will most positively impact their performance.  But keep it to one thing!

Step 2

Establish a defined Coaching Strategy that supports their development in that “One Thing.”  Specificity is important.   If they don’t know what you expect in terms of skill and performance, how can they ever get there?  Example:  Over the next 45 days, the way you can most improve your performance is to get better at…

Step 3

Define accountabilities!  Professionals must own the responsibility for their improvement. If you want them to develop and perfect their skills, let them know exactly what your expectations are.  Vague, conceptual objectives like “get better at prospecting” or “I want you to do a better job at questioning” might be an easy form of guidance, but does the advisor know what you expect and how to get there?  Give them specific expectations and the benchmark that defines what good looks like - and inspect it. And remember, the best advisors are the ones who WANT to be challenged and driven to improve!

In our work with leaders, Greene Consulting has developed an extensive set of resources designed to provide tactical support for frontline coaches.  One of those is an extensive set of Knowledge, Skill and Practice Management benchmarks of the best advisors in the industry and the specific coaching strategies associated with competencies in each of these categories.  For coaches and leaders that are seeking to more clearly define the “One Thing,” these are invaluable, proven resources.  For more detail or information, reach out to me at 404-324-4600 or email me at


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