Nadeem Shaikh, Athlete & Sales Coach

Hear from a man who turned his career as an international athlete into an organisation that has developed some of the best sales teams in the UK. How? It's all about the mind set.

Posted by Harriet Johnston, Senior Sales Recruiter, Friday July 15 2016

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Nadeem Shaikh is a busy man, not only is he a former international athlete, but also a professional athletics coach and the founder of SMART Way Forward, a multi-disciplinary consultancy offering bespoke training in management, leadership, sales, customer service and coach development. Nadeem is an inspirational trainer and has built some of the most successful sales teams in the UK across a range of industries as well as trained a number of amazing young athletes. Nadeem spent twenty minutes with Reuben Sinclair to impart his knowledge on the success possible when you have the right mind set.

How have you got to where you are today?

I have always had a passion for sport, especially athletics and road running. When I worked part-time and trained as a full time athlete back in the early 1990's I learnt a lot about myself. Especially what can be achieved when you prepare thoroughly, train hard, focus on quality and truly believe in yourself.

I studied business management, sales and marketing and adopted the same focus, ethics and principles as I did in my sports career. I worked my way up and held numerous senior sales and management positions within SME's, helping them achieve success. I’m proud to have worked with and built some of the best sales teams in the UK.

I launched SMART Way Forward at the start of 2011 with the vision to create a business that would harness the skills that I had learnt in my sporting career and transfer them into the corporate world. I manage a brilliant team at SMART Way Forward and together we successfully deliver training programmes to businesses across the UK.

What do you believe makes a great sales leader?

•    Knowing your team as well as each person’s job title and role

•    Displaying experience and knowledge to show 'I have been there and done it'

•    Consistently achieving targets

•    Self-awareness of your own strengths and development areas with willingness to learn

•    Leading by example, acting with professionalism, honesty and integrity

•    Inspiring, motivating and supporting your colleagues

•    Being firm but fair

•    Empowering others, showing confidence, trust, faith and belief in their ability

•    Good negotiation skills and closing techniques

•    Prioritises well and being able to look long term, rather than just here and now

Who has inspired you in your career so far?

Lord Sebastian Coe for his sporting achievements, as well as how he went on to secure and deliver The London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Sir Richard Branson for his open, honest approachable leadership qualities and how he always celebrates success by giving recognition and praise to his team

James Caan. I read his autobiography and found it fascinating. Learning about his upbringing, sales career, passion for recruitment and his entrepreneurial journey was truly inspirational.

What's the best part of your job?

Meeting and training people from senior management through to sales executives and customer service teams, helping them to become more effective, professional, confident and successful in their roles.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given in your career?

"If in doubt, just take the next small step"

Learn more about Nadeem and SMART Way Forward here.

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