10 Oct The story of Charlotte and Sid
Charlotte and Sid are store managers who went on our People Performance Programme Manager as Coach.
Charlotte was already one of the top performing managers in an outdoor clothing company with a clear focus on sales targets and a strong work ethic.
During the 1st workshop Charlotte contributed and was as engaged as anyone else. This was good, as often good performers are resistant to anything they did not create – they may think, why do I need to change?
Nearing the end of the workshop Charlotte said loudly,
“Just got it! I see how this works!”
Following that Charlotte’s store went from achieving 10% to 30% increases in sales within 2 months.
I called to congratulate Charlotte and asked “what has made the difference, you were a great Manager already?” Charlotte’s answer was simple and inspiring,
“I studied what was happening when my team engaged with customers and I got it down to 2 questions everyone has to ask. I asked them and the conversations flowed.”
“Wow – that’s great – what are the 2 questions?”
“Simple, she said – where are you going and what are you using it for?”
So how did Charlotte get the team to do it? It was easy, she said, “I spent time watching and giving feedback for a week. Once the team noticed the numbers improving they took ownership and it became automatic. The team cannot believe how easy and successful it is. We share successes each week and tune our techniques from what works.”
Sid the Salesman
Sid is the traditional smooth sales person who can spot a buyer from 100 paces. You could put Sid anywhere and he would sell, but as a leader or manager he was not quite as successful.
Sid’s team was all over the place, some did well, some struggled, some did well once in a while. The environment was not a performance environment. When trade was slow conversation quickly turned to external factors, the weather, Brexit, the economy, the road works and even Jupiter not being in alignment with Mars (ok we exaggerated a bit with that last one!)
Trying to help Sid coach his team was impossible, he froze at the idea of coaching and he did not realise his coaching potential because he was so out of his comfort zone.
This meant, our programme was making Sid worse than he would have been if we left him alone, but something had to be done because his team needed help to achieve their potential.
Often when managers struggle to lead and coach their team, we help them with an easy to follow 4-step process.
We went back to basics and as coaches, followed the process. We observed Sid looking for what was working, what was not working and where to focus.
When Sid was with a customer it was a wonder to behold. He helped them to make great decisions and to banish even the notion of buying from anyone else.
The solution was to get the team to watch Sid with his customers. When Sid was in the zone it inspired the team and showed them the best practice for engaging and closing sales.
The team would then debrief what they had observed, brainstorm how to make it better, go and apply the new behaviour on the floor and feedback how well it worked.
Coaching means working with a person’s strengths to help them get to a new level and to see the obvious opportunities rather than focusing on weaknesses.
When people are focused on the future and what to improve, new opportunities will present themselves on the way.
For Charlotte and Sid the coaching process gave them the model and they worked with it to help them become great coaches with a clear vision for success.