The Evolution of a Coach:
Holding the keys to success
By Anne Nickerson, Vice President, Client Advocate
As a leader and coach, you have the ability to make an amazing impact to draw out the talents of your representatives and other coaches that were previously hidden within each individual. The investment of your time, efforts, and expertise are critical to maintain energy within your organization. Over time, however, there’s also opportunity and methods for you to evolve your own skills to continue the dynamic process of unceasingly delivering the best possible customer experience.
Your goals always include maintaining the integrity of the process, having monthly team meetings with other coaches, reviewing team performance, measuring key performance indicators, and creating consistent customer experiences. In addition, you are focusing on ways to reinforce and celebrate successes, as well as meeting monthly with your site leadership to discuss what is and is not working to gain their support. These goals don’t change; what does change is your approach of how to accomplish each of these goals.
To demonstrate the evolution of your role, think about it as being similar to building a sports franchise. In year one, it’s often about getting the team to play together, understanding roles, and then building on what was learned for next season. In year two, the focus is on finessing the team dynamics, deepening relationships, and taking their skills to next level. By year three, the team has achieved a level of trust with the coach, the coach continues to find new ways to improve, and remains steadfast on continuing to do what’s best for the team. Keeping this idea in mind, let’s take a closer look at your role.
Key 1: Calibration sessions
A first and critical step in your role as a coach involves setting up calibration sessions. Practice calibrating calls with other coaches and use a helpful feedback process for representatives. You can more effectively coach representatives by using specific examples, or “sound bites” to ensure they are meeting customer expectations. To avoid the process becoming stagnant over time, we recommend asking other coaches to bring difficult calls to calibration sessions. Calls with low VOC or calls failing FCR often result in great discovery and discussion. You can also calibrate the same representative over multiple sessions to gauge improvement.
A great comparison of conducting monthly calibrations is like taking your car in for routine maintenance to keep it running at top performance. Just because your car may be running well at the moment, it’s still important to do these scheduled procedures to ensure the car continues to run well. Likewise, it’s imperative to lay a successful ground work for a consistent and smooth running process.
Dina Vance, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Ulysses Learning underscores the importance of measurement when she points out, “What gets measured gets done. Randomly select quality reviews that have been done and conduct a check and balance to ensure alignment between quality, coaches, and customer expectations.” Building accountability into the process from all fronts helps build momentum.
Key 2: Maintain focus and energy
As you evolve in your role, competing priorities may arise which take away focus from the customer experience. As a leader, representatives and other coaches will look to you and follow your cues on how to stay focused. This is where your presence on the floor will be key as you can be the conduit with upper management to see what can be done to alleviate the competing priorities. Collaborate and share with other coaches in your organization to discover new methods and tips that they’ve found beneficial which you can then bring back to your team.
Continue the energy by creating a variety of different methods for sharing information. Create a short newsletter highlighting great examples shared by your coaches or stories of customers being helped. You can also send an email message recognizing representatives who went above and beyond in creating excellent customer experiences and the impact it had on meeting key performance indicators. It’s amazing how a little recognition can go a long way in energizing the team.
Key 3: Investment
A common misconception is that most of your time should be focused on coaching low performers. While low performers still need development attention, it’s also important to invest in top performers to reinforce their efforts and show that you appreciate the great job they are doing which can help create a trickle-down effect with the rest of the organization. Identify and celebrate representatives who consistently create good experiences and meet customer expectations on all of their calls. Ask them to become ambassadors for new hires, or allow struggling representatives to shadow top performers as a method for them to hear ways of more effective call management. Rotate these individuals through calibration sessions so they gain a better understanding of the entire process and thus build a pipeline for future coaches.
As important as it is to invest in others, remember to also invest in yourself. Read books, articles, participate in focus groups, or attend conferences to learn and reach a deeper understanding of customer trends. Find ways to let management know the improvements being made as a result of your efforts. Deepen and refine your ability to identify root causes impacting key performance indicators.
Key 4: Communication
Communication is paramount in your role as a coach and leader. Make sure you’re aligning organizational goals with your coaching efforts and that your team has the tools they need to best meet customer expectations. Give and solicit constructive feedback to create an atmosphere of continuous improvement. When others recognize that they’re being listened to, they will become more receptive to your coaching and your influence will begin to flourish.
One method for effective communication throughout the organization is to create a process of rotating coaches and quality representatives so they understand the challenges faced by each of their roles respectively, and to create a culture of partnership in working towards similar goals. Invite them to offer information for a weekly report that shows the impact of quality scores, and customer results, along with tips that they’ve learned. Involving key stakeholders in the process improves their investment in the results.
As we mentioned earlier, you hold the keys to make an amazing impact on the coaching process by drawing out the talents of representatives and other coaches that were previously hidden within each individual. Giving others a little nudge, direction, support, and thoughtful feedback through your coaching will reward both you and your organization. As you continue to evolve your role and engage others to excel, your investment in the process will lead to great outcomes and proven results!