A few years ago the business I was working in was looking to recruit a new Sales Manager but couldn’t appreciate the fundamental differences between the style of a “Coach” or a “Rainmaker”.
A Coach seeks to achieve results through their team, whereas a Rainmaker is “….a person who brings in new business and wins new accounts almost by magic”, having worked with both, my experience is that a Coach is Selfless and a Rainmaker is Selfish.
A “Coach” is motivated by the achievements of his or her team and working with them to improve their individual performance and results. Their pride and sense of satisfaction comes from when their employees achieve budget, convert a difficult client or close a new deal; their shared satisfaction of achieving what would not have been possible on one's own is where the magic lies.
A “Rainmaker” is far more concerned about getting their deal across the line. Guiding and pushing the opportunity through the pipeline (often at the expense of all others) to ensure their deal gets over the line. Their strength is their single minded ability to focus on what they want and close the sale.
The key for organisations is to understand the context into which they are bringing their new recruits as there are significant challenges for businesses (and individuals) who get this wrong.
Coaches can struggle to convert their own opportunities and Rainmakers can burn others out of the team by inadvertently making them feel inadequate.
At one point in my career, I worked with a Rainmaker who was desperate to become a Sales Manager because he thought he had earned it. After the company rewarded him with the promotion, he struggled to get the team behind him and they subsequently lost three solid performers. Luckily, he recognised where his skills were and was able to move back into a purely Business Development role but the organisation took some time to recover from the loss of the other team members.
I have also been in companies who were desperate for short term revenue; the company hired a Coach because he came with a good reputation and references but he couldn’t convert quickly enough – his career was disrupted and the company lost more time and money on their next search.
The reality is that whilst most businesses are looking for the perfect employee they can’t find them because like unicorns they don’t exist.
The cost of failure when it comes to recruitment is huge and can be avoided by individuals and organisations who are honest with themselves about what they are good at AND what their team needs at that particular point in time.
If you would like to continue the discussion further or share your thoughts, please let me know.