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Fried or P(c)oached?

“How would you like your eggs – fried or poached?” is actually what the waitress asked me about my cooked breakfast*. But clearly I was on another planet and for a split second I could have sworn I heard her ask: “How would you like your deal reviews – fried or coached?”

Obviously, the right answer is coached (I know, it’s my job) but from what I’m told there are still salespeople who dread the deal review – feeling like the eggs being dropped into the sizzling oil or the toast under a hot grill. It makes no sense that a salesperson would get a grilling in a deal review; this is the time when a manager wants them to be open and honest about what’s going on and then be motivated to do what’s been agreed at the end of the review. A grilling is counter-productive – a salesperson may be defensive, bluff their way around the issues and outwardly agree to actions put upon them but be resistant to doing them.

There is a great and simple coaching model called GROW** – Goal, Reality, Options, Willingness. In a deal review the W (Willingness) is the key thing managers are looking for from a salesperson – willingness to be open and willingness to act. By spending a few moments at the start to establish what would be useful for the salesperson – their Goals from the review – rather than going straight for a grilling, it might help get the Willingness they are looking for. A simple: “What are you hoping to get from this review?” sets the right tone for coaching not frying/grilling.


* The breakfast in question was at The 1955 Club café, Walton on Thames – marvellous
**From Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore.