Coaching Explodes Training Value in Call Centers

By Tim Hagen, Progress Coaching

Coaching is a widely-accepted strategy to develop employees and those organizations that adopt coaching as a development platform will quickly gain an advantage in the marketplace.   So then, why aren’t more managers coaching their employees?  There are many reasons why managers won’t coach and here are a few of them: 

  • Fear...don’t know how
  • No time
  • Not my job
  • We have a training department
  • We hire good people
  • Ego…asking questions like this is an element of exposing themselves…

So Why Do It?

Logistically, employees leave training workshops or online modules to go back to their jobs where they have a small window to apply what they learned. Too many studies reveal that training is lost within 30 days if it’s not reinforced or applied. Managers either support the training and learning process or they don’t. Managers rarely intentionally devalue training, rather without coaching, may indirectly not support training without even realizing it. At the end of the day, ONLY one person is doing the employee’s end of the year review. It’s not the outside consultant or training department. It’s the manager! How can they truly evaluate an employee if they are not engaged and/or coaching that employee? What is the employee’s impression? What risks do we take losing valuable employees if managers are not engaged or coaching? 

We constantly talk about the importance of coaching and ways to do it better, but why should organizations incorporate coaching into their culture?  Below are five top reasons coaching can help increase the bottom line of any organization and ultimately provide training an incredible opportunity to be viewed more valuably: 

  1. Engagement
  2. Performance
  3. Recruitment
  4. Retaining Employees
  5. Culture of Participation

Reason #1: Engagement 

According to the Gallup Organization, of the approximately 100 million people in America who hold full-time jobs:  

  • 29% are engaged
  • 21% are actively disengaged
  • 50% are not engaged

The following is a typical scenario that happens every day. An employee enters his or her boss’s office to ask a question. During the interaction, the boss peeks at his or her phone or PC to see what email came in. What is the employee feeling at that moment? Typically, they emotionally shut down or immediately assume their boss does not care. These are moments that cause far greater damage than managers even realize due to the pace they keep.

Reason #2: Performance

The typical manager says the following….

  • “We need to work together.”
  • “We need to get our sales up.”
  • “We have to have positive attitudes.”
  • “We cannot let angry customers bother us.”
  • “Blah…blah…blah”

Performance does not “arbitrarily” go up.  One of the most typical scenarios I see in corporate America is the leaders’ “rhetorical management” practices. You know, when the sales leader gets in front of the team and shares, “C’mon everyone we need to get our sales up.” Doesn’t the team already know that?  What if two sales people cannot negotiate or what if two people cannot handle price objections, etc.? These are typical challenges that require consistent training and coaching together.

Reason #3: Recruitment

Recruiting employees is costly.  There are both direct and indirect costs associated with recruitment.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the median cost to retain and recruit an employee will cost the company between $2,000-$3,700 each.  One study estimates it can cost anywhere from 15%-25% of a person’s annual salary. This provides training leaders and their staff incredible opportunities to develop metrics outside of the typical ”Did they enjoy the class?” evaluation sheet.

In addition, employees who are being engaged and coached are far more likely to help their leaders recruit new employees, thus lowering typical costs associated with recruiting new employees to an organization. In addition, it’s easier now, more than ever, for candidates to find out what a boss is like to work for due to social networks. This can either be a draw or could push the talent away.

Reason #4: Retaining Employees 

According to a Gallup Poll, the number one reason employees quit their jobs is because of a bad boss or immediate supervisor.  “People leave managers not companies…in the end, turnover is mostly a manager issue,” Gallup wrote in its survey findings.  The effect of poor management is widely felt.  Gallup also determined that poorly managed work groups are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed groups. 

Often we talk about trust and there are so many ways managers can build, as well as, destroy trust. For example, a coaching manager who schedules weekly sessions that are engaging with no distractions and filled with positive reinforcement will manifest a very loyal employee. On the other hand, a manager who only engages with employees during weekly staff meetings and they do all the talking is less likely to retain employees.

Reason #5: Culture of Participation 

Organizations that encourage participation have employees that care about more than just their individual success.  They genuinely want to see others succeed. Coaching cultures have employees who enjoy role-playing (yes, I said it) and working with others even though it may not directly benefit them. Coaching cultures have employees who stay late, volunteer to work with other employees, and participate in learning activities that drive greater performance. They never rest on their laurels. 

How do Organizations Start?

  1. First, implement a coaching training program. The program should teach multiple ways to coach.
  2. Have the Training staff become trained and ultimately become coaching practitioners. This allows them to coach their manager’s employees while educating the manager so they can participate as well.
  3. Establish a support system like best practices where scheduled sessions help managers to practice their coaching skills.
  4. Hold discussion group sessions where managers share their successes.
  5. Develop a communication strategy where successes and practices associated with coaching are shared. It’s vital to illustrate even small successes, as resistance will always remain in pockets inside organizations.

Does coaching work?

Yes, it does!  A powerful combination of quality training with managers ready to coach is a strategic reinforcement element that through coaching is unstoppable. Training leaders and their staff will see their value levels explode as their brand is cascaded inside their organizations. This demonstrates the importance of their training and the power of the Manager Coach. Lastly, imagine a management workforce ready, able, and skilled at reinforcing your training. WOW—what a powerful combination!

Organizations that have managers who coach and support training will drive the bottom line. This is the missing piece in securing training’s ultimate success. An engaged and coaching management workforce elevates so many attributes that drives today’s successful organization.

Tim Hagen is Creator of the Progress Coaching Training System. Our Mission: To help organizations and their leaders (sales and non-sales) become first-class coaches who leverage training and drive
greater employee performance.