The Necessity of Fluency Coaching

One of the claimed strengths of the traditional classroom training and enablement events was the power of roleplay, or “stand and deliver” activities. But there’s another, more effective way for your reps to gain proficiency in newly learned skills: Fluency Coaching.

In Situational Enablement programs, practice activities must be captured in video submissions that require practice and a level of demonstrated proficiency. Not unlike classroom roleplays, it’s still not salespeople’s favorite part of learning. But, incorporating a “fit for duty” exercise is essential to ensure proper adoption and utilization.

We call this online “mission” activity Fluency Coaching—ensuring your reps demonstrate an acceptable level of fluency on the topic. The opportunity is to make this experience even more effective than typical classroom practice assignments.

Traditional “Stand and Deliver” Constraints

Look at the constraints that typically take place during in-person enablement events, which all stem from limitations around time and class size:

Partial Assignments – You’re put onto a team of three or four people (triads or quads), which means you only perform a quarter of the assignment, not the whole assignment.

Insufficient Practice – You might get 30-45 minutes in a hallway to practice. With several people in a group and only a small window of time available, each participant doesn’t get much time to practice their portion of the assignment.

Fuzzy Coaching – When groups come back to present, the facilitator has to try to give each person actionable feedback and coaching. But it’s sort of fast and fuzzy. It’s not written down anywhere, so there’s no avenue for follow-up. And, the participants are just relieved it’s over.

Untested Proficiency – Since most learning stops at the end of the day, there’s really no way to demonstrate or certify levels of desired proficiency. You might receive a certificate of “completion” just for showing up, but that doesn’t mean you’ve truly mastered anything.

Limited Attendance – It takes an awful lot of classroom workshops to train a globally-dispersed group of sellers, often just 20 people at a time. That’s assuming their manager didn’t decide to pull them and “keep them in the field” when training day finally arrived.

The Fluency Coaching Alternative

Now, contrast this traditional classroom experience with Situational Enablement containing a Fluency Coaching component, where the rep must create and deliver an online challenge assignment:

Complete Assignments – Every individual completes the training assignments on their own. So, you’re responsible for the entire presentation—not just bits and pieces split across multiple people.

Repetitive Practice – You need to record a video challenge, so you’re going to practice a lot. Each salesperson is different, but the average rep records their assignment more than six times before hitting the submit button. That’s a lot more practice than in the classroom.

Documented Coaching – After you submit your assignment, you receive detailed, documented feedback and specific recommendations for follow-up. That review is time-stamped, memorialized, and available to you and your manager for review and coaching.

Demonstrated Proficiency – In the end, you know exactly how you did and how you scored. You might even need to repeat the process if you didn’t score well enough. Some companies use pass/fail grades because they want to know their learners are “fit for duty” when it comes to critical skills and important messages.

Unlimited Scale – Because it’s all individual and online, this approach can scale as fast and as far as you need it to. You don’t have to wait to schedule roadshows or classroom workshops across the country or globe to roll out situation-critical messages and skills.

Situational Sales Enablement with Fluency Coaching

In this blog series, I’m giving you more details on what it looks like to execute Situational Sales Enablement at your company.

Watch our on-demand webinar, The Power of Situational Enablement, to learn more about this new model for training and enabling your team.

Read the other articles in the series:

Next up: Field Tests Prove the Power of Situational Enablement

Tim Riesterer

Tim Riesterer

Chief Strategy Officer

Tim Riesterer has dedicated his career to improving the conversations marketers and salespeople have with prospects and customers. His books, “Customer Message Management”, “Conversations that Win the Complex Sale”, “Three Value Conversations”, and "The Expansion Sale", focus on improving market-ready messages and tools that marketers and salespeople can use to win more deals. As chief strategy and research officer for Corporate Visions, he sets the direction and develops products for this leading marketing and sales messaging, content and training company.

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