Bill Gates wondered: how many teachers get useful coaching? What he discovered surprised him: ‘until recently, 98% of teachers only ever got one word of feedback: satisfactory’.
In a recent TED talk, Gates suggests it’s time we give teachers what they deserve: meaningful feedback. The opening line of his presentation: ‘everyone needs a coach’. He notes the profound, professional, value teachers have gained from feedback his Foundation has worked to provide them with. When teachers get feedback that lets them see themselves as they’re seen by others, they learn to better their practices, with the guidance and encouragement of a coach. Listen to what Gates’ observes and concludes. Teachers do deserve better.
Now ask yourself: aren’t Gates’ points equally true of salespeople?
Firms work hard to recruit top talent. Those recruits are then expected to succeed, quickly, often despite uncertain and risky circumstances. New products. New markets. New managers. New business strategies. It’s a lot to ask. It’s a waste of talent to not do more to help them succeed.
Salespeople deserve better.
They deserve meaningful feedback, with coaching. Of a kind like professional athletes get. Of a kind like Bill Gates is trying to ensure teachers get.
Something to consider as the feedback to Reps from the end of Q4 starts to roll in: will your feedback to your Reps be of the one-word variety? Or will it be of the skill-building, coaching-supported, variety that Gates suggests everyone deserves?