A Coaching Failure

Henry completed his sales evaluation on 8/16/2010. He was one of the first 12 Hubspot Partners to sign up for the training and coaching that Frank Belzer and I were doing. We eventually worked with hundreds of partners, reps, managers, executives and customers, but Henry was my personal coaching failure.

This is his story.

So, six years ago, Henry signed up for our 12 week program called Sales Development for Marketing Agencies. Completing his evaluation was the first step. We would be having live webinars every week during which we covered a step in the sales process. The program also included group and 1:1 coaching calls every week.

Henry was a chronic 'no show'. When he did show, he hadn't done his homework. Hadn't practiced. Essentially, wasn't doing the things that were necessary to grow his agency. Five weeks into the program, I sent this email to his channel account manager. 

I’d be interested in your take/direction w/Henry. He lost two $3K/month clients about the time he was starting our program. He’s got a BAD outlook right now and is consequently bleeding money and struggling. I haven’t given up on him, but he’s the only one in our program that hasn’t shown ANY improvement. Do you know anything that I don’t know?

His channel account manager, the program manager and I continued to try to get Henry to do the right things, but 8 weeks into the program, I sent this email to the program manager.

I have contemplated dropping Henry from the program. He’s been beat up pretty badly (his fault, but he won’t see it) and on every other call with me, he wonders aloud whether he should just leave the business. He’s had some big jobs talking with big people and thinks that people should just pay attention to him because he’s Henry rather than earning their respect. I'm  scheduled to coach him Tuesday at 4:20. (If he shows.)

It looks like we dropped him a week later.

Fasy forward to 8/9/2016. Henry invited me to connect on LinkedIn. I replied, 

Henry, I'm a little surprised by this invitation. I don't have great memories of our relationship in 2010. Do you remember differently or did something change?

Four days later, Henry wrote:

Hi Rick, I appreciate your candor, as always. I have great memories of my time as Hubspot partner and all that I learned, including from you. You were an excellent sales coach, trying to work with someone coming to the realization that he didn't want to be a salesman. I later spent a year starting and building a sales team for a startup, and spent all day every day prospecting and making cold calls. Everything I had learned from you was very helpful, but I still didn't want to be the salesman. So, I was the problem, and you did a great job trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.

I accepted Henry's invitation to connect and we are looking at doing a joint program to help his clients and introduce them to Unbound Growth. I also looked at Henry's evaluation from 6 years ago and saw.

  • No Written Personal Goals
  • No Written Plan for Reaching Personal Goals
  • No System for Tracking Progress

and because his goals weren't personally meaningful to him, he was not committed to change and therefore he was uncoachable. Check out all the ways you can be uncoachable.


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