Thursday, September 28, 2017

Coaching for Success: A Quick How To

By Celia Pagliughi

Let us first define who coaches are and what coaching is.  Who is a coach? It is very simple; we are all coaches.  When we walk into our call centers we are all coaches.  Whether you are a CSR, a Supervisor or a Manager you are a coach, or at least you have the opportunity to be one if you so choose.  What do coaches do?  That is an easy answer as well.  We mentor, we train and most importantly we offer encouragement so that our teams become the best version of themselves that they can possibly be. 

I have a fantastic team of Quality Assurance Coordinators.  They are much more than that.  I call them CEO’s because that is what they are and what we should all strive to be, Chief Encouragement Officers.  It is their job to determine opportunities, report on them and encourage the CSRs to do their best.  Once they have done their best, it is our duty to help them get better.  How do we help our staff reach their full potential?  Let me be completely honest with you, successful coaching requires much work and follow up on your part.  

If you gave recently taken over a new team, or are new to the company, I recommend you ask everyone on your team what coaching means to them.  A good way to start the coaching relationship is to set up a team meeting and do a quick exercise.  Give them a piece of paper that simply states “Coaching is a critical part of our success because ___”, and ask them to give you at least three reasons why coaching is important to their performance.  Refer back to their reasons during coaching sessions.  It lets them know you are paying attention and you recognize their individuality.
Planning the coaching sessions is one of the most important things you can do.  Being well prepared ensures a productive meeting, and ensures the most important topics are covered.  Here is a simple, yet effective planning guide that can be used to maximize the coaching opportunity.

Coaching Charter

     Set the Stage
        What do you want to discuss?

        What do you hope to achieve?

        What are the specifics you want to cover?

        How long do you expect for the conversation to take?

Explore the Facts
Ask for CSRs feedback
        What did the CSR like about the interaction?

        What did the CSR feel he/she could have done better?

Discuss the facts
        Acknowledge all CSR feedback.

        What did you hear? Positive points first!

        Is there a set expectation?

        Was the expectation met?

Provide your feedback
        Clarify the facts

        Clarify the expectation

       Explore Ideas
Ask for suggestions
        “What can I do to help you?”

        “What can you start doing to improve?”

        “What resources do you need to reach our goal?”

Offer suggestions
        “What I would like to do to help you is…?”

        “What I have seen help people with the same struggle in the past is…?”

Ask for agreement
        “Can we agree to work together on…?”

Establish an Action Plan
Discuss specific next steps
       Follow up  and monitor progress.

       Send updates between coaching sessions 

Recap both your commitments and the commitments of the CSR
        “I will ____ to help you with …”

        “You will ____ to make sure you improve in this area.”

Confirm understanding
        Ask CSR to tell you in their own words what he/she is going to begin doing and why

        What are the CSRs 2 biggest takeaways from the session?

Last but not least, always end the session stating the reasons why you feel they will be successful.  Reassure them that you are there to assist them, and you will work on their behalf to see them improve. After all, their success is your success.

Based on my experience, this method works.  I have seen many CSRs and supervisors improve greatly using this method of organization and documentation.  By getting the coaches to acknowledge their opportunities, you are helping them to take accountability for their performance.  By ensuring they understand their goals, and providing a plan to achieve them, you show that you are an ally. When it comes to coaching, that is invaluable.

Celia is an experienced Contact Center Manager with a demonstrated history of effective leadership and development of human capitol. She is skilled in Customer Acquisition, Coaching, Sales, DOCSIS, and Training.
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