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Number One Rule of Coaching

Even though Jill, a sales coach, called me for advice on a “disaster,” I knew she’d just been handed a gift from the coaching Jason Forrest quote managers versus coaches creating urgency leadership coaching new home sales traininggods.

Jill described an interaction that ended with a top-producing sales pro leaving her office in tears. She said, “I know I didn’t handle this situation well and I need help. Have you ever dealt with anything like this before?” I had.

One of Jill’s top producers, Morgan, was offended that Jill hadn’t chosen her as a team captain. Jill practically scoffed, thinking the reasons she didn’t choose Morgan should be obvious. She rattled off her laundry list of frustrations (including Morgan’s chronic late and incomplete paperwork). She made a strong case. And Morgan walked out in tears–feeling defeated.

I saw an opportunity. Jill saw a disaster. What she didn’t see is that Morgan had just given her permission to be her coach–the most valuable thing a coach can have in a team member. So I advised Jill to call Morgan back, apologize for letting her emotions drive her response (leaders can never apologize too much), and work with Morgan on a plan to reach her goal.

She could say, “I didn’t know being a team captain was so important to you and I would be so proud to have you contribute in that way. Let’s talk about how to get you there and make a plan so that, as soon as you reach the following goals, we can make it happen.”

Can you see the difference? In contrast to the insecurity she left Jill’s office with the first time, Morgan now feels empowered and has the fire in her belly that comes with having a goal to work towards. And Jill has the best gift of all–permission from Morgan to be her coach.

Reflection questions:

1. Have you ever attacked a team member’s weaknesses without providing a plan or a goal to work toward?

Why do you think it’s important for a team member to want to receive coaching from you (rather than having to)?


The above excerpt is from Jason Forrest’s upcoming book on sales coaching. Stay tuned for more details.

Jason Forrest (named one of 2012’s Top Young Trainers for Training Magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change.  Learn more at

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