All Coaching Is Not Created Equally

By Brad Baumunk, President and COO, Robert C. Davis and Associates

Coaching is a critical part of growth in all aspects of life. For example, as an avid triathlete, I have employed various coaches over the last 10 years to improve my swimming, biking, running and overall performance. In my situation as a triathlete and in your contact center, all coaching is not created equally.

One-on-one for best results

Swimming has always been my area of most opportunity. To improve I have used Masters Swimming programs, one-on-one coaches and on-line coaches who built my plan and monitored my stats. The method that always provides the best results is one-on-one coaching. In this situation, the coach is at the pool to explain the workout, demonstrates drills (when needed), is willing to get in the pool with you, and is constantly watching and providing feedback (while you are swimming regarding your hand catch, keeping your elbows high, kicking too much or too little, etc.).

Skill transfer critical

The goal of a coach is to transfer skills they themselves have mastered. But just because you have mastered a skill doesn’t mean you are a master at transferring the skill to other people.

In our consultancy Robert C. Davis and Associates (http://robertcdavis.net), we use a five-step process to transfer skills.

  1. Explain
  2. Demonstrate
  3. Practice with Coaching
  4. Observe
  5. Feedback

Master coaches

Our coaches are master coaches who have one goal – using their experience to help the people they work with become the best they can be.  Each person on team RCDA is thoroughly vetted and put through a rigorous training program to ensure they are not only experts but committed to the process we employ to help our clients achieve their goals.

Let’s use Major League Baseball as an example. Many players with batting records, pitching records, Gold Glove awards, etc., don’t become coaches, and for a variety of reasons. Maybe they don’t have an interest. Maybe they don’t know how to transfer the skills.

The number of available coaching positions is limited, so it is important that you select the best of the best.

Commitment at the top

In the contact center, the first step to providing an effective coaching program is getting commitment at the top. Coaching needs to be a non-negotiable part of each supervisor’s day and must be delivered with excellence. Once you have the commitment, providing your supervisors with the right tools is critical. Most supervisors were yesterday’s agents, and they either were top performers or lobbied hard to become the next supervisor. And just because someone is good at their job or wants to be a supervisor, it doesn’t mean they have the tools to lead and grow a team to produce at a level that exceeds expectations.

In swimming, having a one-on-one coach requires a special commitment of time, energy and money. The improvements in performance, compared to the other forms of coaching, are dramatic.

Willingness

Are you willing to make this type of commitment in your contact center organization? We’re talking about a non-negotiable commitment of at least 50% of each day spent working individually to improve agent skills to drive performance, customer experience and ultimately the success of your company.

One final thought on swimming. Of the three triathlete disciplines (swimming, biking and running), swimming is my least favorite and the hardest one in which to place the right focus. We see coaching for many supervisors in the same light. It is the least favorite discipline because people don’t think they are good at doing it.

If you are ready to make a commitment to a coaching culture, helping your supervisors become master coaches and comfortable with coaching and developing their team, contact Robert C. Davis and Associates for an assessment of your current environment and a proposal to take you to the next level.