• Testimonial by Sander Huysmans (SAS)

  • From sales expert to sales coach

“There are plenty of training opportunities within a US multinational like SAS, but when it comes to mapping out your career path, you’re pretty much on your own.”

From sales expert to sales coach

Mentoring results

  • Greater empathy as a manager, based on high-quality feedback from the team
  • More receptive towards change and able to bring the team on board
  • Gained an outside-in perspective and confidence to challenge the status quo or common SAS practices.
  • Given advice about manufacturing on an international scale. Manufacturing is a key industry for SAS, so it was useful to have someone with 30+ years’ experience in that area who could pass on tips about Chinese business culture, for example.


  • Sander Huysmans (30)
  • Sales Director Enterprise & Commercial – SAS
  • Individual mentoring for middle management in 2022-2023
  • Mentor: Francis De Bie
  • Three challenges

        • “During the pandemic, I completed a few online courses, but I also wanted to find out how other companies did things. When I asked people in my network about their experience of sales coaching, the name Ambits cropped up. The first thing Ambits did was listen. Together, we identified three challenges:

          1. How do I progress from sales expert to sales coach for a team of 10?
          2. How do I hone my general management skills to enable me to lead a high-performing team?
          3. What specific steps should I take to further my career?”
  • Mentor Francis: personal rapport, unique profile, vast network

        • "Ambits suggested three possible mentors, and I immediately felt a rapport with Francis. As far as I was concerned, he also had a unique profile: as a certified Franklin Covey trainer and former VP Specialty Steel Wire at Bekaert, he was ideally placed to combine theory and practice.

          “I had a one-hour face-to-face meeting with Francis every couple of weeks, which was certainly not a casual chat. His experience as General Manager for Bekaert in China proved invaluable. He also taught me how to cope better with the uncertainty inherent in restructuring and staff changes. In my role as team lead, he pointed out the importance of clear processes and priority scheduling – urgency versus value.

          “Francis also gave me books that we would discuss during our next session. ‘The Servant’ by James C. Hunter about servant leadership was a real eye-opener for me: it made me realise that no one gets up in the morning with a mission to make your life miserable, that it’s OK for a manager to ask for and offer help, and that there are some things you can influence and others you can’t, what’s known as the circle of influence. But Francis also had some really practical tips. For instance, I now end every business conversation by asking, ‘Is there anything else I can help you with?’”

      • I didn’t know that showing empathy was so important for connecting with my team.

        Sander Huysmans
  • Empathy

        • “I think it’s fair to say I’ve grown as a person, and that’s also the feedback I get from my team. I knew I wasn’t the most empathetic person in the room… but I didn’t know that showing empathy was so important for connecting with my team. An Ambits survey highlighted that point. Interacting with your team members is a never-ending process. That’s why I’m so glad this topic comes up regularly at Ambits events with other mentors and mentees.”

      • Are you considering working with a mentor? Here’s Sander’s 2 cents’ worth:

        • Start with a specific challenge.
        • Ask your team for feedback, as well as help.
        • Find a mentor who makes you work, someone you can discuss your plans with.

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