What would it take for your sales team to be rigorously engaged and meeting their potential?

Simply offering support to our sellers is no longer acceptable.  

For any sales leader who isn’t hitting quota, now is a great time to lean into the opportunity to coach their team to success.

The Five Secrets of a Sales C.O.A.C.H., written by Hilmon Sorey and Cory Bray, is a book written as a business parable.

It follows Arlo, a sales leader, who after being successful as a sales representative, has been promoted into a management position under a leader who hasn’t equipped him with the skills necessary to make the transition and be successful.


While his leader can talk the talk in a boardroom, Arlo struggles to understand and execute the high level strategy that is laid out before him.  

With revenue lagging behind company targets and a team that isn’t hitting quota consistently, Arlo is called before the leadership team to share his plan for how he will drive more revenue, fast.

He has 30 days to turn it around or risk being out the door.

Through a chance meeting with Alex (a sales leader who’s been through the trenches and back), Arlo begins a journey to understand and build out his own Sales C.O.A.C.H. framework for success as he learns that coaching is not training and offering support is simply not enough.  

Faced with a variety of skill sets on his sales team, Arlo begins to evaluate the performance and potential of each member, from high performer with negative culture impact to well liked player with bounds of energy that is unable to deliver. 

Arlo sets forward in a series of meetings with Alex and her team as he quickly learns that his biggest challenge isn’t quota attainment itself but rather that he desperately needs to understand fundamental drivers of behavior and additionally, be coached on how to coach others.

“When coaching doesn’t work, it’s because organizations don’t make it a cultural thing”, Mark Garrett Hayes
Mark Garrett Hayes joins us on the podcast to discuss all things sales enablement & coaching!

The SCALE framework

Alex opens their first session with: “As managers, our job is to minimize threats and maximize rewards for our team”, and sets the stage to bring Arlo on the journey of understanding the SCALE framework for human drivers she leverages within her team.


Status is our perception of where we stand in relation to those around us, often presenting as emotions of embarrassment or pride. 

When damaged, rather than nurtured, it can result in a loss of trust and impact. 

When coaching, reinforcing positive status (for example strong conversational skills as a path to drive more thorough discovery) is often much more effective at driving increased performance. 

Arlo learns that leveraging questions to find opportunities to build strengths (which increase status) rather than focusing on weaknesses (decrease status), is his best path forward.


Certainty can be hard to come by in sales where many elements of a seller’s role, including product launches, compensation plans and macroeconomic factors can have significant impact on their ability to perform.  

Arlo knows this all too well, but he learns that with clear expectation setting, he can alleviate fear and build self confidence in his team.

He notes to himself that he owes it to his team to be better at setting expectations for 1:1s, performance, and activities, to truly support his sellers achieve their goals.  


Autonomy includes empowerment.  Through building certainty on expectations, Alex shares how you can empower sellers to take on more responsibility and experiment purposefully in a controlled environment with new ideas to reach their goals. 

By empowering sellers to leverage A/B testing against a control group to follow a hypothesis can fuel growth, innovation and performance while minimizing widespread risk.


Likeness (not to be confused with being liked) refers to familiarity of context.  As humans, we’re conditioned to perceive anything unfamiliar as a threat, which creates psychological and emotional distance.  

By aligning coaching to likeness through the use of stories, your goal is to build a sense of togetherness to overcome the challenge together, where rather than telling the solution, you guide the person on the journey towards it together for self discovery. 

Arlo learns as people, we learn the most through challenges, not solutions.


Equity, with give and take by the manager and seller in a fair exchange. The coach is responsible for being available, providing clarity, guidance and follow through, not authoritarian direction.

It’s this partnership that solidifies the framework to help drive the individual towards their success.

Sales management routines at scale | SEC
Max Nirenberg, CRO at Comm-it, takes us through some common challenges faced by sales leaders and outlines key routines for overcoming them.

Learning to C.O.A.C.H.

With this new framework to understand drivers of behavior, Arlo’s next lessons shift to the secrets for coaching salespeople through “C.O.A.C.H.”: 

  • Identifying challenges
  • Outlining the path to success
  • Developing action plans
  • Understanding consequences
  • Holding sellers accountable.

Armed for the first time with strong frameworks and understanding, Arlo shifts back to his sales team, ready and eager to dig in and coach his team to greatness.

Rating: 4.5/5

With relatable and entertaining characters, this book is a quick read with real world challenges and learnings that you can apply to your role in sales leadership or enablement right away. 

I highly recommend to anyone, whether you’re new to coaching or for those who have been coaching based on instinct and experience for years but are now looking to apply a more formal framework.

Bonus points - the authors offer an easy to digest and apply follow up course at Clozeloop University.

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