Posted on 5 September 2008

Listen To Your Coach

A friend asked me last night for some advice in his job situation.  He’s been there only a short time, and interested in long-term salary increases and other promotions, etc. He was, in effect, asking me how and when to negotiate your next moves within a company.

How to do this?


Your “coach” in this sense is your best advocate. They want you to win.

My usage of the term here comes from the Miller-Heiman sales training series where a “coach” is defined as a certain individual of particular influence in the “buying” process… here, the so-called sale is you-being-promoted.

The unique and very special role of a Coach is to guide you to your particular sales objective by leading you to the other Buyers (people with other types of influence on the decision) and by giving you information that you need to position yourself effectively with each one… Your Coach’s focus is on helping you make this sale. [The New Strategic Selling by Robert B. Miller and Stephen E. Heiman, p. 68-69]

The point is, find the person in your organization who wants most for you to win, and can introduce you to the other people who will ultimately make the decisions about your promotion, etc… the “buyers”.

Your coach might be:

  • Your boss
  • Your CEO
  • The CEO’s admin
  • Your recruiter
  • An outside consultant
  • Another team’s director
  • The receptionist

When you determine who your coach is, ask for their time. Buy them lunch if you need to get them offsite, and let them know what you’re trying to accomplish and ASK FOR THEIR HELP and ADVICE.

Note: Make sure to give them the opportunity to back out. Coaching doesn’t work when they don’t really want YOU to win THIS promotion. If this backfires on them–if they even sniff that in the air–they will run from you like you have the plague.

Finally, remember the COACH watches from the sidelines. Strategy and Timing. YOU have to EXECUTE. Nobody ever blamed a coach when the receiver fumbled the ball. Don’t forget your part… execution.


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