Posted & filed under Blog, Communication Skills Coaching.

Well of course it can but then, as coaches, we would say that. More helpful would be an answer to the question, “How do you get the best out of coaching input when you are putting a winning pitch together?” There are broadly three stages when you might involve an external coach in pitch preparation. You can decide to engage in some, all or just one of the stages.

Stage one

is the conceptualisation of the pitch. What to put in, what to leave out, how the written pack sent in advance or left behind should differ from what you say at the pitch presentation (and there should be clear differences). If your coach already knows your organisation he might also advise on the makeup and balance of the pitch team, who should lead the team and help identify extra coaching input for individual members of the team. Above all a good coach, when involved at the inception of the pitch can help you steer your content so you tell your story clearly and in a compelling manner.

Stage two

is to involve the coach when you have fashioned the story in terms of content but have yet to properly rehearse it as a team. Here the coach will not be looking for perfection in the story line – it’s probably too late for that – but he will be looking for any obvious faults. External input can often spot inconsistencies in the story telling or issues that are irrelevant to winning the pitch.He will also be able still at this stage to suggest additionally coaching for weaker members of the pitch team. Leading the team is a key skill. Your coach should be able to give guidance on how to make the entire team shine as a whole and ensure they are all “singing off the same hymn sheet.”

The third stage

of pitch team coaching is offering a final polish 24-48 hours before the pitch is due. Sometimes because of geography this can be the first time a pitch team has got together face to face although hopefully in the days of video conferencing and Skype it should have been possible to conduct virtual team rehearsals at an earlier point in the process. At this stage a good coach will be focussing on building confidence in the pitch team. There will be no time to implement wholesale changes to the story and indeed it can be undermining and totally counterproductive to attempt this. Much better for the coach to offer boosting hints and tips to help the team settle into and feel comfortable with their team playing roles. This is also a good time to help the team field questions and develop a series of answers in anticipation of various lines of inquiry.

The optional stage

where a coach can play a useful role, namely in getting feedback on how the pitch went from the other side of the table. You might normally think of doing this if the pitch doesn’t succeed, but it’s a valuable exercise for the successful pitch too. Even the best of pitches doesn’t play universally well and it would be good to know what worked and what didn’t even though the “what worked” won out on the day. Sometimes bids succeed despite the pitch and it would be good to know that too.

A universal observation from those who coach pitch teams is that they are seldom involved early enough in the process. Often there is so little time between the Request for Quote and the pitch that it is hard for the team – by this time no doubt in a flat spin – to remember to engage a coach. We at Aziz Corporate have long realised that complaining about this is like complaining about the weather; it’s going to happen anyway. A good coach can always adapt and do the best he can to help the team shine, but it remains a good idea to engage as early as you can.