Although call coaching takes some weight off the manager’s shoulders, management still has a few key roles to support their employees on coaching.
Improvement means change, and change takes effort. There are three main challenges that internal management will need to overcome for effective third-party coaching and the positive changes that go with it.
- The environment – conflicting priorities, time constraints, lack of support.
- The human factor – lack of commitment, understanding skills, initiative; resistance to change.
- The follow-through process – poorly defined goals, poor execution plan, lack of accountability, rewards and consequences.
While a good coach can address many of these issues through experience and skill in listening, questioning, and engaging, management also has a responsibility to enforce certain policies and keep employees accountable.
The role of the internal manager is quite important alongside coaching with a third party. While the call coach can do their part during their coaching sessions, outside forces will inevitably affect the outcomes of the employees’ success on a day-to-day basis. This is why it is imperative that managers re-enforce behaviors being coached and support the call coach in their efforts.
Although call handlers may have other responsibilities besides answering the phone, priorities must be outlined to employees so that they know that setting appointments is their number one concern, which means employing the lessons they learn during their coaching sessions is crucial. The manager must support their employees’ journey in bettering their phone skills, whether that be during one-on-one or group meetings on a regular basis, on-the-spot reinforcements, and/or signs posted in the office reminding the team of their goal(s).
The Human Factor
Since coaching may not have been outlined as a job responsibility when employees first began, some may be resistant to a new coaching program and feel that it is being critical of them rather than seeing it as a tool to learn and improve. It is vital that management brings up the importance of why they are using a call coaching program and its benefits for the employees and the business. When introduced in a way that makes sense and gets call handlers excited to better themselves, there should be less struggle and more understanding, helping employees to be better committed to the program.
The Follow-Through Process
Lastly, it is important that managers to not only explain the call coaching process to employees, but also have a set plan in place and goals to achieve based off of the program. Just as a person going to see a nutritionist and personal trainer to lose weight and get healthy would have regular goals and check-ins for accountability, a plan must be set in place when starting a call coaching program as well. Make sure to hold employees accountable to goals set, and continuously check-in and update those goals over time. Utilizing incentives and rewards, as well as consequences, will be a great help in this area.