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26 Oct 2023

The 4 pitfalls of sales coaching

The 4 pitfalls of sales coaching

Countless studies show coaching is the number 1 thing a manager can do to help their sales team hit the goals they’ve set of them and fulfill their potential.

If you’re coaching your sales professionals, are you making any of these common mistakes?

#1 “Confusing Training with Coaching”

For many, these words are interchangeable. They see them as the same thing but that's not the case.

Here’s the difference

Training is when you listen to someone, it’s when you're reading a book or watching a video etc.

It’s taking in information. Training (should) fire you up. Give you new ideas.

It’s very important. I’d argue you can’t be successful without training.

However there’s no accountability…

How many times have you been inspired from a talk, a podcast, an event etc and yet done nothing with it… absolutely nothing?
Happens all the time, right? You just forget about it. You stick with what you know.


It’s because you’re not accountable!

Coaching is all about being accountable.

A coach is who you take your ideas to. They’re who you share your goals, plans and dreams with - they then get into your head and your heart. Then, together, you figure out the gap between where you are and where you want to be… and then how you’re going to get there!

It keeps you in the rhythm of success, you stay on the track you want to be on and get to where you want to be.

Without coaching and accountability you’ll soon slip back into your old habits. The most successful people on the planet have a coach to hold them accountable. And if you want your sales reps to fulfill their true potential, that’s what they need. That’s what coaching is - it’s not to be confused with training.

#2 “Wanting more for others than they want for themselves”

Have you ever managed a sales rep that you really care about, one that you see the potential in & you’re desperate for them to fulfill it?

Of course you have, I get it, we want them to push on, achieve & earn more. We want them to succeed. But this is a challenge when coaching. As a coach you can actually want too much for your sales reps, perhaps more than they are either ready for, or even want for themselves.

And whilst coaching is about stretching & challenging a rep to achieve more than they could by themselves there is a difference between what they can achieve & what they want to achieve.

When the coach gets this difference wrong and pushes their coachee towards what they as the coach want instead of encouraging them towards what the coachee wants it’s because they’re attached to the outcome. And as a result, you lose them.

#3 “Judging instead of coaching”

Here’s some phrases that if you find yourself thinking in a coaching session then you’re likely judging instead of coaching:

- They should be further along.

- They should set bigger goals.

- I remember when I was selling and I…

- They should have closed this deal by now.

- They should know that.

- That’s not how I would have done it.

When a manager judges and presses their own values, ethics, ways of working etc onto the person they’re coaching it can create resistance as well as blind the manager from recognising and celebrating the person we’re coaching’s personality, aspirations, achievements and talents.

#4 Not being consistent

Let me start by saying I've been a quota carrying sales leader myself for many years so trust me, I get it.

Managers are busy, here’s just some of the way’s we spend our time:

- Hiring

- Onboarding

- Motivating

- Supporting

- Working with reps on their deals

- Forecasting

- Pipeline reviews

- Processes

- Managing the team

- Being dragged to help CS/ Marketing

- Dashboards Galore

- Back to back with meetings

- Urgent action items

And many managers have their own quota on top of all of that as well!

It's no wonder that with all of this on a manager's plate, coaching can always wait until tomorrow.

Here’s the thing,  it’s kind of like going to the gym. if you go once in a blue moon, it does nothing.

The bottom line is, for coaching to have the biggest impact, for managers to help their reps fulfill their true potential, coaching NEEDS to be consistent. It's got to be a non-negotiable event in the calendar.

Written by Mark Ackers, Co-Founder and Head of Sales at MySalesCoach

MySalesCoach is a sales coaching service that provides expert 1:1 coaching to busy sales leaders and aspiring, coachable reps to help them hit the goals that have been set of them and fulfill their true potential. They match you to an expert sales coach to accelerate your growth and results.  We offer experienced, best in class sales coaches for SDRs, AE’s and Sales Managers available as a subscription service for individuals and teams. 

You can learn more at

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