Training vs. Coaching – There Is A Difference

The terms “Sales Training” and “Sales Coaching” are often used interchangeably. However, I view them as two totally distinct methodologies. It’s critical that both managers/trainers, as well as employees/students, understand the distinct difference between them. It is in understanding that difference which will provide the explanation as to why so much conventional sales training, even very high-priced training, fails to deliver positive and sustained changes in most salespeople’s behaviors or selling results.

Sales Training is providing new conditioning or is attempting to recondition the student. It is the process of teaching various sales methods, sales tracks, selling tools, tips, theories or strategies.

Teaching, by its very nature, is the imposition of concepts or ideas from the teacher who is an outside source of knowledge, onto the student. We understand that while conventional teaching is very traditional, it’s not necessarily always the best method to get the desired results.

Why? The answer is simple. Most of us, by our nature, definitely do not want to be controlled by someone else or by someone else’s ideas. Our ego often gets in the way of accepting someone else’s suggestions or rules. It violates our sense of personal freedom, doesn’t it? Regularly, the well-meaning and much-needed knowledge meets some considerable level of resistance from the student as a result of their defensive ego. This often means that much of what the teacher tries to download onto the student will be rejected, either at a conscious or subconscious level. This minimizes the effectiveness of the traditional teaching process.

Sales Coaching, by contrast, takes the position that while the instructor is important in the learning process, the individual needing the skills or knowledge is the most important element and must assume complete personal responsibility for both his or her life and career. Coaching is a process of helping the student on a journey of discovering effective methodologies.

Salespeople are encouraged to examine their personal core values and then they are coached to make the adjustments to their behaviors which will create improved outcomes in both their selling results and their personal lives.

Training, a.k.a. teaching, imposes. Coaching, by contrast, creates a learning experience that seeks to draw solutions out of the student. It continually poses the critical question, “Does it work or doesn’t it work?”. Thus, the student is invited and, most importantly, empowered to make mindful choices from the available knowledge.

Because students makes choices personally, based on their core values, there tends to be little or no resistance at all. Therefore results do become positive and most importantly, they are sustained.

Sales coaching is an interactive process that provides guidance and encourages the salesperson to make productive decisions while taking personal ownership of those decisions. This technique will encourage the development and expansion of his or her own mind, resulting in not only increased levels of self-confidence but also higher self-esteem.

Sales training along with effective sales coaching provide the best results for growth and sustainability. This personal growth motivates the sales team member to seek out and create more successes in both his or her selling career and personal life. These successes and positive, adjusted behaviors are sure to put more money into the salesperson’s pocket and onto your bottom line.

Jim Masson is an accomplished sales trainer, business consultant and author. Jim has published 3 powerful new “at Mastery” e-books to help you earn more, more often. “An Introduction to Selling at Mastery”, “Selling at Mastery” and Manage Your Sales Floor at Mastery” are ready to turbo charge your selling or serving career.

If earning more money is on the top of your to do list, please visit for a complimentary download of “An Introduction to Selling at Mastery”. No charge and no obligation. Free is a very good price. Decide to sell and serve at Mastery, starting right now!

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