Coach Employees to Boost Success

I recently participated in a teleconference about the importance of coaching in customer service organizations. It was interesting to hear the thoughts and methods of quite a few of people, most from different companies in different industries.

Though I haven’t been sent the official summary of the conversation, here is what I could gather (with my own thoughts):

Do it regularly.
Coaching is most effective when you do it regularly. Many companies integrate it into their formal review processes, which happen monthly, quarterly, etc. Doing it regularly lets employees know when it will be coming and allows them to best utilize the coaching.

Make it a formal process.
It is important to make coaching a formal process as well. If it is too casual, people will start to put it off or ignore it. Making coaching a formal process like quarterly reviews will hopefully encourage people to pay attention.

Make the expectations clear.
It is important to make the expectations about coaching very clear. Say when the coaching will happen, what is involved, who is involved, etc. If the employee knows all of this right off the bat, they can get a lot more out of the coaching.

Track results.
If possible, track the results of your coaching efforts. You want to see what is working, who it is working for, etc. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time (yours or the employee’s) through wasted coaching efforts.

One on one.
I generally advocate one on one coaching. It can be a simple thing (supervisor sitting next to the frontline employee and doing a few calls together) or a very formal thing with a third party coach or a formal agenda. I think one on one coaching is a lot more effective than having a few people together in a room or a big class.

Understand coaching.
Before you start coaching, understand it. Coaching is not really criticism. It is trying to coach and help your employees improve. It doesn’t always have to be reactive. There are always things that people can improve upon and that is what coaching is for. If you are always criticizing or pointing out faults, then it probably isn’t coaching.
Coaching should be fun.
If coaching is fun, people will want to do it. The process should be enjoyable, shouldn’t be stressful, and most of all, should be educational. Fun and educational aren’t mutually exclusive, so work on trying to make it fun.

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6 Responses to “Coach Employees to Boost Success”

  1. Jeremy Hodges said:

    Aug 10, 07 at 10:51 am

    I would love to hear more information about “coaching”. You recommend coaching regularly, but what exactly do you mean by coaching. I can understand a large corporation being able to hold regular development classes, but how does a smaller company provide adequate coaching when you are unable to take team members away from their day to day requirements.

    (Also, I think you have a typo in the last paragraph. You say make coaching fun, but in the first sentence you say if it “is” fun people “won’t” want to do it.)

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Aug 10, 07 at 5:43 pm

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for your comment. In a smaller company, coaching could just be working with team members on an individual basis to improve. It does take away from the day to day jobs, but is an investment for better quality.

    I have fixed the typo. Thanks for pointing that out.

  3. Glenn Ross said:

    Aug 11, 07 at 6:24 pm

    Right on target, Doug. Coaching should be offered whenever a supervisor notices a gap in performance. Regular coaching can also create a stronger relationship between supervisor and direct report resulting in a more motivated and productive employee. When that happens turnover drops and productivity increases. To learn how to be an effective coach, I recommend, offering free podcasts for those interested in improving their management skills.



  4. Service Untitled said:

    Aug 11, 07 at 9:11 pm


    Thanks for your comment and the link! Coaching is certainly useful in building relationships between the coach (the supervisor usually) and the employee.

  5. Service Untitled » Cox Communications Customer Service - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Aug 13, 07 at 4:38 pm

    […] The representative also mentions how representatives rarely get recognition for a job well done. Most of the feedback they get is when something goes wrong and then it is obviously quite negative. This isn’t helpful and definitely isn’t an example of good coaching. I’m sure Anonymous Cog, as well as thousands of other customer service reps, can relate. […]

  6. Service Untitled » Call monitoring leading to call coaching. - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Jul 13, 08 at 10:26 pm

    […] talked about the importance of coaching employees before and I stand by my original post – coaching is extremely important and necessary for customer service success. Making coaching a […]