The Secrets to Coaching Remotely

Person with notepad at laptop - remote coaching concept
744

The distance introduced by remote work necessitates a shift in coaching strategies to maintain, if not enhance, the quality of coaching provided.

As no one can deny that remote working is here to stay, Alex McConville, author of ‘Diary of a Call Centre Manager’, shares his personal experience of the most effective practices he’s found whilst coaching in remote and hybrid environments, ensuring that agents receive the support and guidance they need to excel.

Tips for Effective Remote Coaching

Remote coaching offers a unique opportunity for a more focused and personalized coaching experience.

By using live side-by-side coaching techniques, coaches can connect directly to an agent’s call whilst sharing screens.

By using live side-by-side coaching techniques, coaches can connect directly to an agent’s call whilst sharing screens through platforms like Teams or Zoom.

In some cases, it even improves upon the in-person interaction, particularly if you:

Keep It Varied

Incorporate a mix of one-on-one sessions, group discussions, self-assessments, role-playing, and live call listening to cater to different learning styles whilst keeping the content engaging.

Follow-Up, Follow-Up, Follow-Up

The importance of follow-up in coaching cannot be overstated.

It ensures that learning is applied and provides an opportunity for ongoing feedback and adjustment.

Spinning plates
Coaching and follow-up is like spinning plates: hard
work to start with, but you must keep them spinning.

Focus on Consistency Over Quantity

While it might be tempting to cram in as many coaching sessions as possible, it’s crucial to prioritize consistency.

If necessary, reduce the number of sessions but keep them regular to maintain momentum.

Coaching and follow-up is like spinning plates: hard work to start with, but you must (above all else) keep them spinning.

So, if achieving this balance means you must cut the number of sessions with your agents, ensure that they are on time and regular.

Schedule With Purpose

Scheduling regular sessions, such as every Tuesday at 2pm or Friday for follow-ups, helps establish a routine, setting clear expectations for both coaches and agents.

Use Speech Analytics for Detailed Call Analysis

Use speech analytics for detailed call analysis and screen sharing to review calls together with your coachee.

This approach helps in pinpointing specific areas for feedback and improvement. Even just the visual representation of the audio on screen when playing calls back for feedback helps the agent understand what section of the call to focus on and build structure around.

For more great uses of speech analytics, read our article: Top 10 Use Cases for Speech Analytics

Use Shared Online Documents for Collaborative Note-Taking

Use shared online documents for collaborative note-taking, goal setting, and tracking progress. This keeps both coach and agent aligned on objectives and outcomes.

Record Role-Play Sessions

The ability to record the feedback session with role-play is an asset.

Just be sure to check with company policies in regard to data retention and always seek approval from all parties before recording.

But as long as the session is stored securely and only used by the coachee to refer back to, this can be very effective to embed learning long-term.

Coaching strategy concept
Use a combination of methodologies and tools.

Combine Tools and Techniques

Use a combination of methodologies and tools in a single session for a comprehensive coaching experience.

For example, integrate screen sharing, SMART objectives, and external learning resources like TED Talks for a session on open questions.

Keep in Touch With Agents Between Sessions

Maintain engagement with agents beyond the coaching session through chats and updates, encouraging them to apply new skills and share experiences.

If you are onboarding agents remotely, you should read our article: Simple Ways to Give Remote Workers a Warm ‘Virtual’ Welcome

★★★★★

Advanced Techniques for Remote Coaching

Once you’ve mastered the basics, here are some additional, more advanced techniques you can apply to further enhance your remote coaching:

Self-Assessment

Promote self-assessment by having agents review their own calls or those of their peers.

Have a Working Document for a Specific Coaching Topic

Coaching forms have luckily now evolved, and I feel work best when the document is a working document for a specific coaching topic.

They should remain active for as long as the coaching is embedded and be signed by both parties at the end of each session.

Coaching is ongoing, and a skills audit can be beneficial to identify areas of improvement. For more information, read our article: How to Conduct a Skills Audit and Coaching Plan

Embrace Group Calls

In remote environments this works really well. In fact, I would argue that these calibration sessions work more effectively in the remote world.

In an office space, it takes so much time to round everyone up and get into a room, making sure the audio is loud enough to hear, etc…

Whereas it’s very easy to invite all agents to a Zoom meeting, sharing screens and audio. You can then simply play a call and give all agents access to a shared calibration document where they can then see each other’s feedback.

Side note: I have also conducted this where agents live-post their feedback in the chat of the call too.

You also need to make sure your remote workers are having fun. For ideas, read our article: 15 Great Ideas to Make Remote Working Fun

★★★★★

Mistakes to Avoid When Coaching Remotely

Here are some classics pitfalls to be aware of:

Technical Challenges

Ensure a stable internet connection and use effective software. Poor technology infrastructure can undermine the productivity of coaching sessions.

Distractions

Operate under the simple guidance of ‘if I wouldn’t allow the coachee to do it during the session, then I shouldn’t do it either.’

Turn off notifications during coaching sessions. It’s a cardinal sin to look at emails during this time.

It’s tempting, but that time should be just as important as a board meeting or similar.

Operate under the simple guidance of ‘if I wouldn’t allow the coachee to do it during the session, then I shouldn’t do it either.’

Overcomplicating Things

It’s tempting with all this technology to pimp out your tech stack with a coaching platform, separate interactive documents, knowledge base platform / LMS and all these systems.

However, all this tech will distract away from the importance of your coaching content and create “noise” for the coachee – especially if they don’t talk to each other.

The ‘For Free’ Remote Coaching Toolkit

Yes, it’s great to have a fully stacked CCaaS platform with call transcription, coaching moments, call tagging, and inbuilt coaching form – but if you don’t have access to anything like this, here’s my ‘for free’ remote coaching toolkit…

What you need:

  • Teams, Google Meet or Zoom to connect with your agents and screen share.
  • Online shared documents like Microsoft or Google for your coaching form.
  • Audio transcription service like Descript to transcribe any call for free – be sure to adhere to your company GDPR policy.

These are what I’d class as your essential tools.

In Conclusion: We All Still Require Human Connection

Alex McConville, Head of Central Sales for Yopa Property
Alex
McConville

Based on everything I’ve said above, remote coaching is very effective if you implement these techniques.

However, we all still require human connection and so these methods will not be as effective without that crucial element.

This means that you as the coach must listen, show empathy, and, most importantly, should coach where possible via webcam.

This not only allows you to see the coachee (their expressions, body language, and gestures) but also gives the coachee the reassurance that you’re focused on the session with them.

And last of all, don’t forget that quality coaching is a life skill that takes time and effort to master. Hopefully, this guide will help you on your journey.

Written by: Alex McConville, Author of ‘Diary of a Call Centre Manager’ and Head of Central Sales for Yopa Property

If you are looking for more information on training and developing your contact centre agents, read these articles next:

Author: Guest Author
Reviewed by: Xander Freeman

Published On: 9th Apr 2024 - Last modified: 10th Apr 2024
Read more about - Call Centre Management, , , , , ,

Follow Us on LinkedIn

Recommended Articles

A photo of a coachee jumping up with success
10 Great Ideas for Successful Call Centre Coaching Sessions
Contact Centre Coaching Models: Which Is Best for Your Coaching Sessions?
People planning with sticky notes on glass
How to Nail Call Centre Coaching
two-people-on-phonecall
How to Make Coaching Stick