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To Coach and Protect

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					         To Coach and Protect
How Effective Coaches Can Protect the Training Investment




                 For More Information Contact:
               Impact Learning Systems International
                          P.O. Box 14110
                    San Luis Obispo, CA 93406

                      Toll Free: 800.545.9003
                       Local: 805.781.3283

                 Email: info@impactlearning.com
                   www.impactlearning.com
 To Coach and Protect
     How Effective Coaches Can Protect the Training Investment


     T     he term coaching in its broadest sense can be used to describe many different managerial
           and motivational functions, but in its most common usage coaching refers to the practice of
           giving feedback to employees in order to help them achieve improved performance. This is
     fundamentally what coaching is—helping people to do a better job.

     Giving feedback goes hand in hand with the practice of measuring performance. First you monitor
     an employee, then you coach, and then you monitor again. It’s an ongoing process. If you’re doing it
     right, you should be seeing your employees’ performance continually improving. And while training
     is very important to the success of your call center, it is not a substitute for coaching—both training
     and coaching must be implemented together if you desire to see a noticeable change in your
     employees’ behavior, abilities, and morale.

     Coaching can be one-way (meaning you do the talking) or two-way (meaning you and the rep have a
     conversation about performance). Typically, one-way coaching occurs right after you’ve heard a call
     or otherwise measured performance. It might also occur after you’ve monitored several calls or
     emails over a period of time and want to give feedback on trends in the rep’s performance. In one-
     way coaching, you go out to the call floor and give quick verbal feedback to the rep or you send a
     coaching comment through your call monitoring software’s feedback mechanism.

     One-way coaching works well when circumstances don’t allow you to take agents off the floor for
     more extensive discussions. In contact centers where e-mail is the primary form of communication,
     the majority of your feedback may be via e-mail with only occasional face-to-face feedback.
     Voicemail is also a quick way to give spot feedback.

     Two-way coaching refers to more in-depth feedback sessions where you and an agent sit down to
     talk about trends in performance, a particular situation that’s troubling the agent, or some other
     issue. Two-way coaching also takes place during quarterly performance reviews or “chats” about
     why a particular behavior has not changed. Two-way coaching should take place in your office or in
     some other location away from the contact center floor.

     Giving feedback to your employees isn’t a luxury. It isn’t a maybe. It isn’t a one-of-those-days-I’ll-
     get-around-to-doing-it aspect of your job. Giving feedback to your reps is one of the two or three
     most critical things you do as a contact center manager. Several studies have shown the dramatic
     results of pairing coaching with training. One, for example, found that training alone increased
     productivity by 22.4 percent, but when training was followed up with coaching, the figure soared to
     88 percent. (Source: “Executive Coaching as a Tool: Effects on Productivity in a Public Agency,”
     Public Personnel Management, vol. 26, issue 4, winter 1997, p. 461)




 © 2010 Impact Learning Systems International                                       www.impactlearning.com     1
    To prove this point, all you have to do is take a very short, very easy pop quiz.

        1. What happens when an employee’s undesirable behavior isn’t addressed?
             a. It continues.
             b. It continues.
             c. It continues.

        2. What happens when an employee’s desirable behavior isn’t noticed and praised?
             a. If you’re a little lucky, it continues for a while.
             b. If you’re not so lucky, it stops.
             c. If you’re insanely lucky, the employee is self-motivated enough to continue the
                  behavior whether or not you give positive feedback.

    OK, you get the point. In the absence of coaching, the best result you can hope for is the status quo.
    In our experience, the most successful contact centers are those in which managers have put in
    place a meaningful, effective, and consistent practice of coaching.


    There are other reasons why giving feedback is so important. It shows your reps that you’re on top
    of things, that you’re keeping yourself informed, and that you’re dedicated to a course of continued
    improvement. What’s more, coaching shows your employees that you care about them, about their
    performance, about the customers, about service levels, and about running a top-notch contact
    center.


    In the absence of coaching, most employees will not be motivated to improve on their own. It
    becomes irresistibly easy and comfortable to just slide by, to put in the minimal amount of effort.
    “After all,” the thinking goes, “why should I care about doing a good job when nobody’s watching
    (or listening)?”


    Here’s a question we often want to ask managers who don’t give feedback to their reps: if you’re
    not telling them how they’re doing and how they can do better, through what magical, mystical
    means do you expect their behavior to change?



For More Information
               Learn more about Customer Service Training and Consulting on our Customer Service
                Blog. Remember to subscribe to it via RSS or email so you’ll remain informed.
               Order a copy of our 296-page book, Managing & Motivating Contact Center Employees
                for even more tips improving morale and motivation.
               Stay up to date with our free monthly newsletter which brings you articles on current
                call center topics and upcoming events.



© 2010 Impact Learning Systems International                                        www.impactlearning.com   2

				
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