Helping an experienced sales director to make the step up to a new role
Kevin Baynes, sales director for global telecommunications company Sonus
I’d recently been promoted to a senior sales role and I was excited and cautious. It’s stimulating to tackle a new challenge but stepping up means stretching and testing yourself with new things.
Stepping up into my new role brought a number of tests. I was managing people who had previously been my peers. My role included responsibility for sales delivery plus the strategic direction for our sales function.
I agreed to work with Connor on leadership coaching with one of their consultants, Madeleine Tate. Madeleine had experience in the technology sector, was fairly direct and quick to tell me if she thought my approach was wrong. From our first meeting, working with her felt right and I found it easy to engage with her on a professional level so I got maximum benefit from our one to one coaching sessions.
"Coaching quickly became a refreshing part of my working life. It gave me the space and time to be selfish and think about the things that I needed to do to be successful in my new role."
I had two key goals from my coaching: to be more open and sharing and improve my strategic view of our market. Coaching quickly became a refreshing part of my working life. It gave me the space and time to be selfish and think about the things that I needed to do to be successful in my new role.
I am more open and sharing and I’m less worried about having all the answers. I empower my team more by asking them what they think we should do and I’m less focussed on micromanaging them. We openly discuss our problems and work together to solve them. They are all mature professionals and I trust that they’ll flag any issues so we work on a ‘management by no surprises’ basis.
I’m pleased with the behavioural changes that I’ve made in terms of having a more strategic view. My team focus on tactical delivery, which gives me more time to shape the sales strategy at Sonus and I’m confident about sharing my strategic view. Having a strong view isn’t right or wrong, it’s about taking everyone’s ideas on board and having an informed perspective.
Coaching is a structured method for tackling the leadership challenges that you face. In a busy workplace, it’s frustrating because you can’t always pause and have business conversations and share your intentions. Coaching is different, Madeleine understood where I was coming from and helped me to solve the key issues that I faced in my new role.