Top 5 Sales Coaching Models Used By Top-Performing Sales Leaders

Sep 5, 2022
Collin Stewart

Sales coaching is one of the best investments you can make to grow revenue. According to a recent research report, leaders at high-performing sales organizations spend up to 25% more of their time coaching compared to average and low-performing organizations. 

With only 24.3% of reps exceeding quota, effective sales training can make all the difference. Read on for the best sales coaching models to try at your organization.

Why is it important to follow a sales coaching model?

Most sales managers recognize the benefits of regular coaching, but few take full advantage. Sporadic coaching sessions aren’t enough to encourage long-term behavior change.

The most effective sales coaching follows a consistent framework with defined steps and checkpoints, almost like its own playbook. Following a sales coaching model ensure you make the most of each coaching session and don’t skip any steps.

A well-defined coaching model can also help you achieve buy-in from the rest of your team or organization. Sharing the model with your reps helps them better prepare for coaching sessions, creates a culture of collaboration, and ensures that everyone is on the same page.

That said, there are hundreds of different sales coaching models to choose from. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular.

Top 5 sales coaching models

1. GROW

GROW is one of the most well-known sales coaching models. It consists of the following steps: 

  • Goal: Define the end goal, focusing on SMART results that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound. What habits need to be built to attain this goal?
  • Reality: Where is the rep starting from? What’s holding them back from reaching their goals or targets?
  • Options and Obstacles: How can you address the obstacles standing between your rep and the goal? Brainstorm several different options, including internal behavior change, external skills training, or a combination of both.
  • Way Forward: What specific action steps can they take to overcome the obstacle and reach their goals? Put together a plan and define the timeline, along with any support or accountability they’ll need to get there.

GROW is a very useful model for navigating sales coaching conversations. 

The important thing to remember is that the Goals portion should be defined by the rep, not the coach. Empowering reps to choose their own goals will help them feel more motivated to reach the finish line. 

Likewise, with the Reality, Options and Obstacles, and Way Forward portions, let the rep guide the conversation. Ask open-ended questions and encourage them to take ownership of the plan.

2. OSKAR

Like GROW, the OSKAR sales coaching method starts by defining a goal or outcome, then putting together a specific plan of action. The major difference between the two is that OSKAR focuses more on affirmation and encouragement.

  • Objective: Ask the rep to define the outcome or goal they’d like to achieve.
  • Scale: Ask the rep to rate their current performance (or how close they are to solving the problem) on a scale of 1-10, so you know where you’re starting from.
  • Know-How: How can you help the rep move closer to their goal? Do they need training, resources, or accountability? 
  • Affirm and Action: Let the rep know what they’re doing well, specifically concerning their goal or area of focus. Then identify the actions they need to take to reach their objective. Don’t forget to include a specific timeline with follow-up dates.
  • Review: Review the conversation you’ve just had and ask the rep for their input and feedback. Take a moment to acknowledge what the rep did well during this coaching session. 

The OSKAR sales coaching model is particularly helpful if you have a rep who thrives on affirmation. The regular acknowledgment of their accomplishments can provide great motivation to improve their performance. 

Top 5 Sales Coaching Models Used By Top-Performing Sales Leaders

3. CLEAR

CLEAR is less structured than some of the other sales coaching models but has similarities to GROW and OSKAR. The five steps of CLEAR include the following:

  • Contract: Define how you and the rep will work together by laying out a “contract” or agreement for the coaching session, including expectations, goals, and success metrics.
  • Listen: After the rep has defined an area of focus or topic for the coaching session, you can then begin to ask questions and dig deeper.
  • Explore: In this stage, you’re helping the rep understand how they feel about their current situation, what they’d like to change, and how they can reach their goals. Keep your questions brief and open-ended.
    • Action: Ask more specific questions that will help the rep understand what actions they need to take. Try not to guide the rep in any specific direction; let them draw their own conclusions.
  • Review: At the end of the session, you can reflect on some key points and takeaways, and summarize the progress the rep has made, along with their plan for the future.

The CLEAR model works best if you have a rep that needs to be listened to. This model focuses more on the transformation than other models, so if a rep’s progress starts to stall, you may consider switching to a more action-orientated model like GROW.

4. FUEL

The FUEL sales coaching model focuses on evaluating the rep’s current state, exploring their desired state, then devising a plan to help them bridge that gap.

  • Frame the conversation: Like the Contract portion of the CLEAR model, the first step in FUEL is to set expectations. The coach and rep should agree on a purpose, process, and desired outcomes for the conversation. 
  • Understand: Begin by exploring the rep’s current state. Ask lots of open-ended questions and help them discover the root issues of any current problems they’re facing.
  • Explore: Move on to the desired state by taking a closer look at the rep’s goals. Help them explore different options for achieving those goals, then prioritize the best methods.
  • Layout a plan: Identify specific action steps the rep can take to reach their goals. Be sure to include a specific timeline along with follow-ups for accountability.

5. WOOP

The WOOP sales coaching model starts by defining a more abstract “wish” the rep hopes to achieve, then narrowing in on more tangible outcomes. 

The steps are less defined than some other sales coaching models, which makes the WOOP a great method if you prefer more flexibility in your sales training.

  • Wish: What the rep hopes to achieve. 
  • Outcome: Specific and measurable goals the rep will achieve when their wish is fulfilled.
  • Obstacles: Challenges the rep must overcome to achieve their goals.
  • Plan: A specific roadmap to achieving the wish.

Choosing the right sales coaching model

Although all of these sales coaching models share some common elements, each is a bit different in approach. To find the best model for your team, consider how much flexibility you’d like in your sales coaching and if you’d prefer a more structured model or looser guidelines. 

Another factor to consider is if your team needs help with a particular area. For example, if your reps need more sales training on cold calls (a hard skill), a model like GROW might be more effective. If your sales coaching will be more focused on behavior change or your reps require more encouragement, then OSKAR or FUEL might be a better fit.

There’s no right or wrong answer for the best sales coaching method because it depends on what your reps respond best to. That’s why you must ask your team for feedback as you implement these models and continue to iterate as time progresses.

Need help implementing your sales coaching strategy? 

Matching a coaching model to your unique buyer’s journey, sales process, and organization can be challenging. In addition, many sales managers don’t have the time or experience to coach their reps effectively. 

If you need help coaching your team to success, click here to book a free discovery call with our expert coaches.

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