Methodology Workshop Trainees’ Three Typical Groups – Coaching Suggestions for Managers


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Participants completing training workshops tend to cluster into three rather distinct groups (based on our experiences with Great Demo! Workshop and other workshop trainees):

– Group 1: Those who “get it” and put the ideas into practice right away

– Group 2: Those who understand the concepts and are interested, but need encouragement to try out the new methods

– Group 3: Those who don’t care and aren’t going to change (“no-how, no-way…”)

Group 1:

The first Group generally leave Workshops motivated, willing and able to put the ideas into practice right away – they may even seek opportunities to try out the new methods as soon as possible. They are typically confident enough in their own capabilities to move forward on their own.

Coaching members of this group is easy and a delight: support their efforts, highlight their successes (extremely important), and promptly respond to their questions as they encounter new situations or challenges. Enable this group to lead the way and establish credibility for the new method and ideas. Publishing their successes both within the team and beyond is a key tactic to achieve this. Managers who hold weekly team conference calls will often use these calls as opportunities to poll for success stories and to address questions.

Group 2:

Members of this Group often like the ideas and are interested in trying them out, but may lack sufficient confidence to try them out in front of customers. They need to be gently (but firmly!) pushed, pulled and encouraged. Success stories coming from their peers (initially from Group 1 members) is one of the strongest ways to help Group 2 people move forward. Proactively harvesting and publishing successes (both verbally and in various written formats) from others is a critical step in achieving substantive implementation, particularly for Group 2.

Group 2 people can also be encouraged to “pick one idea and try it” – as opposed to putting an set of methods into practice. Success with one idea often

Managers often also use quarterly or annual objectives to drive Group 2 member behavior. For example, in Great Demo! methodology, many managers establish quarterly objectives for presales team members to harvest one or more Informal Success Stories per quarter, and/or to publish one or more Situation Slides and accompanying Illustrations to their peer group on a quarterly basis. Both of these objectives drive the behaviors needed to achieve methodology implementation.

Group 3:

Sigh. In a typical normal distribution of people there will nearly always be a few percent who simply won’t change, in spite of encouragement – even in the face of specific quarterly objectives. Members of this Group may or may not understand the concepts from the training – they simply don’t/won’t change the way they operate. They will often articulate this as, “I’ve been selling/demoing/marketing for 20 years and nobody can tell me how to do it…!”

Coaches and managers of Group 3 people generally are left with two options… If the employee is consistently achieving the key objectives (e.g., achieving sales quota if he/she is in sales), then the employee may be allowed to simply continue to produce. If the employee is not generating the desired output, it may be time to help them find a new position…!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


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