How Using A Negotiation Coach Can Make You a Better Negotiator
Even the most successful negotiators are constantly learning and growing their skills. This usually involves attending advanced/niche training programmes, or by using a negotiation coach (or mentor – see below). By utilising the deep experience that a Negotiation Coach has, you’ll be able to strengthen your own negotiation skills and see things you’d missed. Wherever you are in your negotiation journey, utilising the skills of a Negotiation Coach could be the element you’re missing to accelerate your performance and improve the outcomes.
A Quick Word On Coaching versus Mentoring?
Most of us use the words Coaching and Mentoring interchangeably. However, here are three of the key differences:
Delivery style of the Giver: Coaching relies on the Coach asking insightful questions and the Coachee finding their own answers. Whereas Mentoring relies upon the deep expertise of the Mentor to help the Mentee answer questions quickly, avoid tank-traps and build solutions together.
Learning style of the receiver: Coaching is non-directive (e.g. “Can you please describe the underlying root causes of the problem you’ve just described?”) whereas Mentoring is directive (e.g. “I’ve seen something similar before, and in that situation, this is what I did and this is the outcome”.
Experience: Mentors typically have deep, hands-on experience of the situation that the Mentee is grappling with. Coaches have deep experience in asking the Coachee exactly the right questions to help them discover/unlock the answers for themselves.
In our experience, solving challenging negotiation problems requires Mentoring rather than Coaching. However, as 95% of the population prefer the word Coach, we’ll stick with that for the rest of this blog.
What Is A Negotiation Coach?
A Negotiation Coach works with a client on a specific deal (or number of deals). Their role is to provide deep insights into handling similar negotiation situations. They develop negotiation strategies, prepare the client in advance of negotiation interactions and debrief/re-plan after each intervention.
What does a Negotiation Coach Do?
They’ll usually do a combination of the following:
Spend time understanding the background of the situation in a lot of detail.
Support the client in getting as much information as possible about their counterparty’s options, the value of this deal to them, and the competitive landscape.
Provide tools, templates, checklists and techniques to improve the quality of the preparation and interactions with the counterparty.
Work with the client to clarify their objectives, BATNA, objective criteria
Build an ideal timeline and milestones to get the deal done
Build a list of all the negotiation variables and map out the ideal and least acceptable outcomes
Build a negotiation strategy and tactical plan in collaboration with the client
Prepare the client for negotiation meetings and re-group afterwards to review the strategy, tactics and re-plan
Negotiation Coaches will have seen similar situations and understand likely scenarios which will help deliver a more robust strategy. A Negotiation Coach can’t guarantee the outcome, but they can ensure that the client is exceptionally well prepared and has access to extensive negotiation experience. This combination generates >80% of the value in any negotiation situation.
Why Are Some Coaches More Expensive Than Others?
As with all aspects of life, the price of goods and services is usually dependent on the level of experience, skills and value on offer. Negotiation coaches operate a wide range of commercial models including:
Base fee + success fee
A combination of the above
Five Ways A Negotiation Coach Can Benefit You
It Can Prevent Fear From Destroying Value
Using well-defined and practised strategies will enable increased confidence when negotiating with your counterparty. Having an increase in confidence will have a positive impact on any fear which may have previously held you back.
It Will Enable You To Become More Decisive
Having a professional negotiation coach will help you reach better commercial decisions quicker. Seeking out new ways of coming to a conclusion will help not only in the workplace but in everyday life too. You’ll become more assertive and decisive when trying to ascertain what you want to achieve, why you want to achieve it and what are the viable alternatives if agreement can’t be reached.
You’ll Be Able To Articulate Your Needs In A Clearer Way
It may be that you have a perfectly solid negotiation technique, which simply needs a different perspective. A Negotiation Coach will help you to articulate what your non-negotiables are during each negotiation and what you’ll settle on.
You’ll Move Away From Limiting Beliefs
Even at the top of your game, imposter syndrome can strike. Having even the briefest flash of self-doubt or limiting beliefs can cause a negotiation to fail. Using a Negotiation Coach will allow you to overcome these negative thoughts and reframe them.
You’ll Be Able To Overcome Interpersonal Resistance
Everyone can meet interpersonal resistance when you engage with your counterparty. Hiring a Negotiation Coach will give you the skills needed to interact with any counterparty to get closer to your desired outcomes. A Negotiation Coach will often roleplay potential scenarios or roadblocks so you can develop strategies to overcome all types of resistance.
A Negotiation Coach is a critical addition to your negotiation toolkit for more complex deals. In summary:
A negotiation coach develops negotiation strategies, prepares the client in advance of negotiation interactions and debriefs/re-plans after each discussion with the counterparty.
Negotiation Coaches will have seen similar situations to the one’s you’re facing, they understand the likely scenarios and can help you prepare for more successful negotiations.
Negotiation coaches can help you with the emotional stresses of any negotiation