Coaching vs. Counseling

Posted on 09/29/2015 in Sales Management

Most managers enjoy being a “coach” to their employees, but usually avoid the task of counseling when an employee isn’t performing as expected. There are motivation issues and competency issues to consider when diagnosing or assessing an employee’s performance. You might have an employee who is capable of performing a certain task but refuses to do it or continually avoids doing it. Determining the cause of the refusal or avoidance is key to understanding if this is a motivation or competency issue.


Three Key Differences between Counseling and Coaching

1. Expect more denial by the employee

2. You (the manager) must be more directive

3. Passivity by the employee is more likely; for example, no buy-in to the action

The Skill of "Confronting"
There is a difference between "confronting" and "aggression." We use confronting in a positive sense, meaning that you confront or deal with the problem rather than avoiding the situation. Aggression, however, is bad. Being assertive requires a “firm yet fair” approach. As a manager, you must be firm, yet fair when you counsel someone.

Counseling Tips and Guidelines:

• Be willing to face disagreement and denial
• Who owns the problem? (don't let the employee throw it back on you!)
• Be willing to invest the time necessary to reach a meaningful conclusion
• You must establish a timeline for a turnaround
• Don't personalize—focus on the expected tasks, behaviors, and level of performance

Avoid Legal Issues
When leaders need to take a more corrective action with staff, HR must be involved in order to avoid legal issues.

For more helpful tips for sales managers visit our Sales Management Blogs and Sales Coaching Blogs. If you are a sales manager and would like help improving the skills of your sales team, visit our Sales Meeting Kits pages for more information.