Coaching in Context

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Consultative Skills: For Customer-Driven Sales Conversations™

Business Challenge

In order to achieve critical business results, organisations must make a significant investment in their salespeople. For sales managers, coaching is becoming a primary means of contributing to this investment and building sales capability. Generic coaching skills are not enough; sales managers need to be able to coach, lead, and add insight on specific sales tasks and situations. In short, they need to “coach the

Coaching in Context

Coaching in Context is a series of modules that teach sales-specific coaching skills. The programme prepares sales managers to conduct coaching conversations in which they act as thinking partners to their salespeople, helping them explore tough problems with their accounts and opportunities, and develop innovative solutions. For example, the Key Account Strategies module helps a sales manager work with a salesperson to diagnose obstacles to account expansion (including factors in the account situation and in the salesperson’s own behaviour), to develop new options for working with key accounts, and to focus the salesperson’s time and energy on the right activities in key accounts.

Key Content

Key content of Consultative Skills includes:

  • Coaching in Context consists of six modules or contexts: Key Account Strategies, Executive Selling Situations, Large Sales Opportunities, The Sales Funnel, Territory Planning, and Consultative Skills.
  • The core framework is the Coaching in Context Cycle, a reliable four-step process for conducting a coaching conversation with a salesperson.
  • The first part of each module is devoted to the underlying attitudes and skills necessary for this type of coaching. Participants learn and practise techniques for active listening, testing assumptions, inquiry and advocacy, and setting expectations for the conversation.
  • The second half of the module is context-specific. Participants learn to use a set of exploratory questions in order to diagnose problems and barriers in the sales situation. They are then provided with a specific and robust set of tools designed to help them and their salesperson explore solutions and overcome the barriers. For example, in Coaching in Context: Executive Selling Situations, tools include a tip sheet for getting appointments with executives, a template for planning initial conversations with senior-level customers, and a checklist of the issues that concern line-of-business and functional heads.

Target Audience

Coaching in Context is suited for sales managers at any level of experience. Specific modules should be selected based on salespeople’s critical issues; for example, if salespeople require coaching on managing key accounts, the Coaching in Context: Key Account Strategies module would be a good choice.


By participating in one or more Coaching in Context modules, sales managers will be able

  • Proactively plan and conduct coaching conversations that foster thinking partnerships with salespeople
  • Diagnose various types of account and territory problems, and offer specific guidance on how to overcome them 
  • Improve salespeople’s judgment and innovative-thinking skills
  • Make coaching an ongoing, regular part of their sales management activities

Delivery Options

  • Classroom: Six modules, each of which can be delivered in a complete version (6.5 hours) or an
    overview version (1 hour). After attending one complete version of a module and learning the Coaching
    in Context Cycle in one context, participants can attend the overview version of subsequent modules to
    gain practice in additional contexts.
    1. The core programme consists of a 1-day session featuring two modules of your choice: one in its complete version and one in its overview  version.
    2. You may also select follow-on overviews of additional modules (1 hour each). These can be delivered face-to-face (for example, at a sales meeting) or via webinar or conference call.
  • Virtual Classroom: Three 2-hour virtual instructor-led sessions combined with 6 hours of inter-session