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Forgive Me, for I Have Sinned

To be a good sales coach you’re expected to be a good salesperson, partly because you practice what you preach.

However, it turns out I’m not perfect (despite my wife telling me that for 35 years) – even experienced sales coaches occasionally transgress. One such misdemeanour happened a couple of weeks ago with a new project that was progressing nicely towards a September start.

A week before the planning meeting in July the person working with me on the project resigned (nothing to do with me!). Bit of a nuisance but no great problem and I scheduled a meeting with the new person I’d been referred to, who would pick up the reins, plus my Executive Sponsor.

Twenty minutes into the meeting I realise this isn’t the person who will pick up the reins, when the person who is joins the meeting! The meeting continues but it quickly becomes apparent we aren’t in tune. The good news* is that I spot this, acknowledge it and we agree to set up a separate meeting to run through the original briefing and get his perspective.

The not-so-good news is we aren’t off to the best start; who knows how the next meeting will go and the implications for the project and my forecast.

What should I have done differently? I should have thought out and planned the meeting better (core skill: Get Set for Success). There are many questions I could have asked before the meeting, eg:

  • Who will be at the meeting?
  • What is their role in the project?
  • How much do they know about the project?

When I’d got the answers I would have realised we needed to go back in the process, which could have avoided another meeting but most importantly got us off on the right foot.


*At least I practised the core skill of Spotting and Acting on Signals.

Post script: We’ve had the meeting now and are back on track. I am redeemed.