The Discouraged Account Director
Account Director, Stephen, had been working successfully and enjoyably at a tech company for three years. Shortly after going into lockdown in the UK he realised how much stress he was feeling and sought help.
At the start of lockdown there was a lot going on in my life, not just professionally.
Being an extrovert the drain of living and working in the same four walls was having an effect on me, and my wife had just had our second child which brings logistical challenges.
Workwise, my Q1 results were pretty meagre, there was an uncertainty in the industry with opportunities getting paused and to cap it all I got, what I considered, an unjust bollocking from a senior director.
It was a high-stress situation. I was just off paternity leave, felt disillusioned and unsupported.
I Knew I Needed Some Help
A teammate mentioned that he’d reached out to Jim Wigg, Sales Coach, for 1:1 sessions.
Jim had started working with us early in the year, facilitating group sessions on Qualification, Deal Coaching, Account Planning etc. His style resonated with me – he kept things nice and simple, delivered in a relatable way and there were nuggets I could take away and implement immediately. I’d come across coaches in the past who have been cheesy or disingenuous.
So, I got in touch with him to see how he could help me.
What I Did with Jim
We decided on a series of six 45-minute 1:1 sessions. The first Zoom session was understanding my issues and the effect they were having on me.
Even over Zoom, Jim is majorly perceptive. He said: “you look like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’ve got a furrowed brow, you’re not the same Steve I saw at Kick Off.” It was refreshing to have a call with Jim who picked up on the ‘me’ – how I was doing, not just my output.
Jim has an array of techniques and exercises in his arsenal and he subtly and naturally weaves them in the conversation. That style of delivery allowed me to buy into it and brought me back out of my own head and back on track.
With confidence and self-belief restored, in later sessions we moved on to tactical, sales specific issues – restarting stalled deals, structuring an account plan, preparing for a certain meeting or penetrating a new account.
I have a great relationship with my boss, but the focus is on process and results. I get great coaching on my deals and accounts but he’s the ‘’head coach for the region’’ so there’s little time for empathy around what’s impacting my mindset.
Jim’s approach provided the empathy but not in a way that allows self-pity. Part of the content Jim taught me is about Yin and Yang and self-compassion – knowing when to live with something or when to take action on it – to get in a better state of operating yourself.
I liken Jim’s coaching approach to “Conditioning for Sales” – getting you mentally and tactically fit for the job. His coaching exceeded my expectations – it was less tactical, more holistic. Perfectly attuned for me and my issues.
As a Result of the Coaching
I have a much clearer perspective on my situation and the balance between commitments inside and outside of work.
Faith in myself to manage the stresses is restored. And a tangible result of which is sales performance. After five months I was No. 1 in the region for bookings and on 31 October became the first UK salesperson to achieve President’s Club.
I’ll continue with the coaching to make sure I keep “match fit”.
PS. The inspiration for Discouraged (in the title) came from the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Clarence, the Trainee Angel, is summoned by the Head Angel for a briefing on his mission.
Head Angel: “A man down on earth needs our help”
Clarence: “Splendid. Is he sick?”
Head Angel: “No, worse. He’s discouraged.”