Many companies suffer from poor performance and not hitting KPI targets. When managers then feel under pressure, the natural approach is to push or ‘tell’ their staff to work harder and smarter to achieve more.
Team leaders or coaches often believe they are coaching, when in fact they are spending time simply highlighting and asking for performance issues to improve, without an effective discussion and coaching process.
Steven Drew looks at how we can improve our coaching performance.
The effect of NOT coaching effectively
Often the difficulty here is that your staff will already feel demotivated and frustrated at not being able to hit what feel like unrealistic goals – they then receive additional pressure from above to be doing more without the appropriate support and challenge.
The result? No improvement and, in some cases, a further drop in morale and performance – and yes, the cycle becomes more tense.
It’s worth noting that absenteeism alone costs companies 8.4 days on average per year, which equates to £659 per employee, according to a recent Management Report by the CIPD.
Break the cycle
Time is often a reason (excuse) for not coaching. Yet, in most case studies, the most significant drains on time for a leader or coach are the unnecessary questions and problem solving presented by those they could and should be coaching.
Typically, a good coaching session will leave the coachee feeling like they have been involved and they will identify things that they want to be better at, whilst being guided by the coach. They will feel better able to find and resolve issues themselves.
This collaborative approach can both support and challenge the individual to actually want to be better at what they do, rather than feel they ‘have to’.
What tools are needed for a good coaching session?
A simple coaching structure, good questioning techniques and a clear understanding of what the end result looks like will help motivate the coachee to see how they can make a difference without being told, and will give the coach vital confidence in their approach, bringing both consistency to the process and the value back to coaching.
Make sure there is good signposting at the outset of what is expected from both parties, and paint the picture of the end result.
2. Review the improvement area together
Be it listening to a recorded call, looking at the quality of data input or considering missed sales opportunities, looking at the challenge together gives you both the chance to discuss and compare both sets of findings.
3. Good notes
Your notes can easily be placed into sections or headings of “what got your attention” “Specific example” “What was the impact?” and this leads you nicely into effective questioning.
Using your notes, asking simple open and signposting questions, have the coachee tell you what they thought they did well. It’s important that you have the coachee summarise and note down those areas. Then do the same for the areas they’ve identified they could/should improve on – again with the coachee to summarise to you and then note down.
5. Overall summary
Reminding the staff member that they have identified positive and development areas, have them read back the summaries they have made to reinforce their own learning.
The vital element here is to have the staff member explain how they’re going to make any agreed changes. “I will remember” is never good enough, because they simply won’t. It’s often a good idea to paint the picture of a busy day and have them specifically describe to you what they will do that’s going to be different.
What will be the result?
Through having effective engagement and meaningful conversations, you will have a more motivated mindset from your teams, as well as from the team leader, coach or advisor. They will all have a feeling of development, sense of achievement and will place a much greater value on the activity of coaching.
The impact to you and your business will be improvement in areas such as customer contact, sales conversion, quality and both customer and staff retention, ensuring stronger revenue streams and reduced operational spend in a time when service and cost are the key to success.
Steven Drew is a Lead Consultant with PRG Solutions a call centre consulting group, based in the South West.