Becoming a skilled coach is what separates the person who just builds a group from the person who builds a team. I learned the importance of becoming a skilled coach almost 15 years ago when I attended one of my first company conventions.
I had been in network marketing for almost three years at the time. There were nearly ten thousand people cheering and applauding as the recognition portion of the event began. I had thousands of people on my team and halfway through the recognition, I realized no one from my team was crossing the stage. I dropped my head and said a little prayer, hoping that at least one person on my team would be recognized. As recognition ended, I sat there in that cold arena feeling embarrassed and defeated. The lightbulb came on and I had my first coaching Aha-moment. I realized if I had been a better coach, my team would have had better results.
Whenever a defining moment comes along, we can do one of two things: define the moment, or let the moment define us. That was the day I decided to become a master coach and build a top-producing team.
The plan I put together that day has helped me build a team that has been in top production for 17 years straight. It has led to several of our leaders earning more in one month than most people make all year working a job. Here are a few of my top coaching tips.
- Develop great relationships. Sustainable success is impossible without having healthy, powerful relationships. You must treat people with kindness and respect. We all know Maya Angelou’s saying, “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”
How do you make your team feel special? Listen to them and help them find solutions to their challenges. Let them know you believe in them and why. Hold them accountable and push them to give their best. My goal when I encounter people is for them to walk away from our interaction feeling better about themselves. I pretend there is a sign on their forehead that says, “Make me feel like I matter.”
- Lead with integrity. You must be the same person on stage as you are when no one’s watching. A team wants a coach they can depend on to do the right thing, even when it may be difficult. If you want a high-performing, lasting team, people must know you will always put their success, their income, and their recognition above your own.
My husband Steve and I have had to make many difficult choices over our 20-year career in direct sales. The way we have handled each decision is by simply answering this question: “What is the right thing to do that will benefit our team the most?” It’s quite simple: if your decision has the words “we” or “our” instead of “I” or “my,” you’re headed in the right direction.
- Listen. I once read a story coach John Wooden used to tell. “A wise old owl sat in an oak. The more he heard, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. The more he heard, the more he learned. Now wasn’t he a wise old bird?”
A great coach will listen first, then learn, then lead. Recently my husband and I had to make a tough business decision, so we immediately asked questions and listened to our team first. Once we understood how they felt, we were able to lead them into a direction that would fulfill them and ultimately lead them to massive success. If you don’t listen to your team, because you feel your opinion is what matters, you will eventually be forced to build a new team.
- Be bold and courageous. A great coach must lead and show strength at all times. When you are brave enough to step out and do what others are afraid to do, you and your team can go to levels that others won’t. It takes courage to confront reality head-on. In business, you must ditch the rose-colored glasses, face reality and be bold enough to do what’s right rather than what’s popular.
- Focus on strengths. A great coach must see the greatness in others even before they see it in themselves. The art of building someone’s confidence is to focus on their strengths. Too often I see leaders pointing out what someone is doing wrong. They scold their team for missing a meeting or a deadline. My philosophy is to point out when you’re doing something right. I am so focused on your qualities that I don’t have time to see your weaknesses. I know if I can increase your confidence, I can increase your ability to lead and succeed.
- Set team goals. If you want to be a million-dollar earner, focus on helping others on your team become million-dollar earners. Too often, we set personal goals for how much we want to earn or what rank we want to achieve. Here is my advice: if you have a vision board and it doesn’t include your team, take it down and start over. If your income goals are based solely on what you want to earn, add what you want your top 10 leaders to earn. If you’re working daily towards getting promoted, start working on helping your leaders to get promoted. When your natural instinct goes from “me” to “we,” you win the championship. When you win a championship, all the players get a ring!
The majority of people who have become the best at what they do have a coach. Look at Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, and several others at the top of their game. Much of what I’ve learned about coaching was through personal experience and taking the time to learn from the best. I read hundreds of books on leadership. I traveled and paid money to attend training events so I could learn from the most successful peak-performance coaches in the world. It took time, money, and commitment—and it came back tenfold.
If you want to build a winning team, hire a coach so you can learn to be a coach. In network marketing as in most sports, you’re only as good as your team.
PASHA CARTER is a direct sales expert, speaker, and success coach. She was named by Direct Selling News one of the Top Female Networkers in the World 2015 and featured in Dennis Kimbro and The Napoleon Hill Foundation’s latest book, The Wealth Choice. Pasha has mentored several of today’s documented millionaires in direct sales.