Performance Coaching – The Key to Driving Sales Performance

Performance Coaching – The Key to Driving Sales Performance

Research shows that a store manager who focuses on effective performance coaching, can increase sales on average between 30% and 62%. An effective performance coach holds their team accountable for the outcome (their targets) and for their actions (the activities that move numbers).

What is Performance Coaching?

Performance coaching is the process that enables staff to change their behaviours and improve their performance. It isn’t just about giving orders, it’s about guiding and inspiring your team in a way that enables them to achieve their full potential. Performance coaching focuses on an individual’s specific development needs, and it’s possibly the most effective method for individual development.

An effective coach will  track your sales and KPIs, scope and document the sales process, then performance coach your staff against your sales process and the behaviours that deliver your sales KPIs.

The RPS coaching process is a 4 step process listed below.

Like sports coaches, performance coaches observe and give feedback. You need to be able to listen to your staff during their interaction with customers and you need to have your eyes and ears open all the time.

“A good performance coach must watch for what they don’t want to see and listen to what they don’t want to hear.”

KPIs and statistics offer a solid foundation for performance improvement. Combining this information with behavioural observation is the most powerful method that managers have for driving sales performance.

The RPS 4 Step Process for Coaching Against KPIs

  1. Opportunity (Mindset & Targets)
  2. Focus (Plan & Processes)
  3. Do Differently (Improve)
  4. Review (Outcome)


Identify the KPI to be improved and establish the potential for improvement.

Your KPIs show where your opportunities are. Once you have identified the deficient KPI, you can address the skill and behaviours which will change it. Consider the average statistics for the store, area, region or company and set targets accordingly.


Sit down with each individual/team and create a plan to address deficient KPIs or to take their KPIs to another level. Make sure they understand the plan and have them sign off on it – this creates ownership.

Do Differently

Ensure that the individual/team know exactly what is expected – what specific new behaviours or new skills development needs to be introduced or modified to generate the desired improvement.


Observation must be based on previously established and agreed standards. Staff must have been previously made aware of what is expected of them, and feedback must be objective and not subjective. The purpose of feedback is to give staff information, which encourages, corrects or improves performance. It is vital that the individual perceives your feedback as helpful. Remember that negative feedback is only effective if you are in the habit of giving positive feedback – otherwise it simply comes across as criticism.

Share the information you have in your business to help the person you are coaching. KPIs, customer feedback, mystery shopping, role-plays and observation to ensure that the changes are being implemented and that the individual performance is consistently improving.

Coaching fundamentals

“Coaching is most effective when there is a clear process and when using effective coaching techniques.”

Giving effective feedback on performance

The team need and want feedback on their performance. A good performance coach will regularly catch people doing things right and feedback accordingly, but will not shirk from addressing performance issues.

“If you observe it and don’t address it you, condone it”


The value of questioning in the coaching process cannot be underestimated. Finding out how the individual feels about their performance and behaviour is crucial to improving performance. Use open questions to draw out errors, absent or sub-standard behaviours, skills gaps and poor knowledge.


Ask for, and provide, consequences. The best consequences are those that the individual personally values. One person may be motivated by the promise of increased commission as a result of modifying their behaviour or improving their skills, whereas another may be motivated by career development. A common motivator for people is simply having the ability to do their job better or with more ease.

Behavioural Agreements

Behavioural agreements are an excellent tool to embed and monitor behaviours and to cement the coaching process. The basis of the agreement is that both you and the individual you are coaching agree that certain behaviours have been observed, discussed and addressed. The individual then signs to confirm that they have understood what is required. Having a set of Non-Negotiable Standards allows you to frame your conversation and what behaviours are acceptable and expected.

A good performance coach is long remembered, greatly admired and amply rewarded. But coaching is a skill that you need to learn and practice in order to use effectively, so heed your own advice and practice your coaching skills, just as you coach others to practice to improve their own skills.

The RPS performance system, based on Olympic sport performance principles, has delivered great results for retailers for over 35 years.

Performance Coaching Workshop

Experience a full day of hands-on retail coaching training that leaves you with a proven Model to motivate and empower your team to achieve their targets.

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