I was interested in reading the Harvard Business Review entry, The Dirty Secret of Effective Sales Coaching. It's an interesting article with many good points and you should read it.
However, I think the authors present a very narrow view of the manager and the goal of effective training. Many of the results are quite obvious and achieve almost "Duhhh" response. If you think of it, "training in the middle" has a lot of returns. It should be obvious, there are more people in the center, so every percentage of the performance improvement you receive from this population has a major impact (when taken from a macroeconomic survey).
But my problem with the article is that it involves management's emphasis on training is primarily to produce shorter results. They say that center performance could be the difference between throwing or losing goals this year. I have no argument at that point – if the management's job was to maximize performance for this year.
This is too narrow given the operational management and the real interest in training. The CEO is responsible for developing the highest level of performance in the company both this year and for the coming year. This means we need to take a broader view of training and performance management.
Training in the center can improve performance in the current year and maintaining this through continuing training should continue to improve performance over the years.
What about training in top performers? The authors would demand that the yield of these efforts be relatively small and indicate that time will be reduced to these top players. But it's forgetting. What if we want to bring these senior supporters into bigger donations? What if we want them to take much more responsibility, step into a new role – maybe move from the territory manager, to the chief accountant, to the global account manager, to the policy-general? What if we want to develop some of them to step into a stronger leadership and leadership role?
I do not think I'm alone in this regard – some of the world's leading companies take the development of current and future leaders who offer high training and developmental development, which are very serious, without focusing on their performance today, but emphasis is being placed on preparing them for future implementation.
What about boters training? Obviously, we want them to perform, we can not afford to get them pulled down the business. Here, training can take different perspectives – the key training problem might be how we develop them and get them into a role where they can really contribute and execute. We are not managers to move our people from jobs where they are C performers in which there can be performers (or at least B). Sometimes they are in our companies and companies, sometimes it means moving them out of the company.
Training is about performance management and reform. It's about getting each person to the fullest potential, in roles that maximize their contribution to the organization – now and in the future.
If this were a static world, if our people were in the same role forever, if performance requirements never changed, I could easily buy the authors' suggestions. Fortunately, that's not how the world works.
I think it's managers that take care of everyone in the organization. We need to get them in the middle to perform better, we need to grow them at the top to take more responsibility and increase their contributions, we need to do something with our low performers, not just let them sit.
I agree with the authors, training is not democratic. It is naive to assume this. Not everyone needs the same "cookie cutter" approach training. We train each person with different goals and goals. With some, we are trying to improve performance in their current roles, with others we are preparing them for future roles. In some, we are preparing them to move into another role or from the company. We invest different time in guiding every person. Some need more time, some need less. What we train and how we train varies by individual. The training will have different time limits for each person, maybe in the middle we are looking for improvements this year, but we also need to be worried next year and the future.
Thus, training is not "democracy."  Who are we coaches? I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to train everyone.
How do we train? We are irresponsible if we focus only on one dimension – for example, reaching the goals of this year. We must train for the goals and goals we take for each individual?
When are we coaches? All time.
What do you think? Am I to be naive?