Dear Colleagues!  This is Pharma Veterans Blog Post #441. Pharma Veterans welcomes sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi onWordPress, the top blog site. Please email to for publishing your contributions here.

Continued from Previous……

Another important question about Coaching is dealt with below.

If Managers spend too much time on Coaching, it will disturb other important work

There are two answers to this line of thinking.

One, a manager has two main areas to focus: business management and people management.

Business management includes territory designing, customer selection, product selection, calling frequency, target setting, achievement plans and following up. This is an ongoing process which is done every day.

People management is also a running theme which includes working review, performance review, and how the person is coming up with execution of plans and how are the results showing.

The ultimate sales results are dependent on ‘people’. If people are adequately trained, the implementation of strategy is ensured. Pharmaceutical Selling is both personal and indirect. No company can run the Pharma business by sending promotional messages and/or materials digitally or by surface mail. In fact, 30-40 years ago, Pharma companies used to send promotional cards to doctors by surface mail. It was in addition to personal visits which were less frequent due to less number of salespersons. The MNCs maintained a mailing list of doctors for this purpose. In present times, local staff sometimes sends WhatsApp messages to their customers for various purposes, but it is no more a corporate affair. Even digital detailing is done in person. Customer relations, customer development, distributor handling, market supplies and so much more is dependent on people. The summary is that people cannot be taken out of sales process. In consumer goods business, the promotion may be done through various media, but sales are collected, and supplies are ensured by people. This is much more so in countries like ours where we are still struggling with human intelligence; artificial intelligence will come when it will come.

Since everything is dependent on ‘people’, they must be trained, coached, and engaged to perform at their peak. This is a critical, central activity, not a side act which may be done if there is spare time.

Two, first line and middle level managers are required to spend 90% and 80% time respectively in the field. They are also advised to work with the team, not alone. This means that they have plenty of time available with them where they interact with team members, review their performance, support them in customer development and their own grooming and development. Coaching is the most important tool for all purposes and can be done in regular time.

Often, there is a confusion between Coaching and Counseling. The managers use these terms interchangeably and may do counseling where coaching is required, or vice versa.

Counseling is required to change behavior, as is normally considered, but there is more to it. Counseling has two parts: finding the root cause of problem and finding the solution of the problem. Counseling is a two-way interaction and needs candid discussion about the issues. For example, a team member was performing decently but his/her performance has been sliding down lately. This is a case for Counseling. First, the root cause of problem should be investigated and identified and then a solution may be sought. Suppose it transpires in discussion that the root cause is change of territory. Would counseling be the solution? Partially, may be, if the person is feeling deprived due to change. Take this example further: the territory was changed from street areas to a large hospital. The performance is declining as the person is not equipped to work with hospital doctors who are more demanding in knowledge and skills. In this case, no amount of counseling will help, only coaching shall solve the problem.

I have presented several arguments in support of Coaching and even more can be presented. However, I believe the concept is fairly proven by now. COACHING AND MORE COACHING IS THE SOLUTION TO MOST PROBLEMS.

To be Continued.

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