Imagine asking reps or supervisors in your contact center: “Who was the best coach you ever had?”

Would they mention someone in your department or in their corporate life? From my experience, that response would be unusual.

It’s more likely that you would hear about a second-grade soccer coach, a college professor, or perhaps a beloved elder member of the person’s extended family. Time and again, people-leaders travel all the way back to their childhoods and rarely from their current, professional lives to describe the coaches who made the most positive impact.
How did coaching fall off the corporate map and how can business leaders do better?

Identifying False Assumptions to Kickstart Coaching Success

We have identified four false assumptions about coaching in the contact center/customer service space, which we cover in our recent Coaching Webinar with Matt Dixon, author of “The Effortless Experience.”

Below is an overview of those assumptions. For a more in-depth conversation, check out the full webinar, which is a compact 30 minutes.

We assume that high-performing reps naturally become good people-leaders.  

When I tell people that supervisors are among the most under-invested roles in the contact center, I’m usually met with nervous laughter or enthusiastic nodding. Too often, we cross our fingers and push supervisors out of the nest, give them 21 direct reports, and hope they find a way to replicate their own success. But we all know: a strong individual contributor does not always make a good people-leader, at least not without the right tools, training and resources.  

We assume that supervisors understand the difference between their different roles as people-leaders.  

Supervisors wear many hats. They are mentors, trainers, wellness monitors and performance managers. We hear time and time again that a typical “coaching” conversation is, “I met with my supervisor. We reviewed my metrics, and they told me I need to make this metric move 4 percent to hit my incentives.” Or “My supervisor and I have a great relationship. We get coffee once a month and talk about our weekends.”

Perhaps important, but neither of these scenarios resembles coaching. In fact, all of these other activities end up superseding coaching, even though coaching is the activity that will have the biggest impact on your customer service reps’ performance.  

We assume that supervisors inherently feel the need to coach, with or without incentives

A company I work with told me that 50 percent of their supervisory role was dedicated to coaching, which is fantastic. But if you don’t have a way to hold supervisors accountable to coaching they will end up focusing their attention on the activities that will get them paid out on incentives and what they can prove in a promotion case.  

Coaching can seem nebulous at first and therefore get neglected. We need structures in place to ensure coaching effectiveness can be evaluated. Surveys like Challenger’s Coaching Pulse Survey, Coaching Competencies written into your people-leaders’ major business objectives, or a robust “Coach the Coach” program where coaching can be observed in coaching triads and other methods are a good place to start.

We assume that supervisors coach their staff, irrespective of environment.  

These past two years have been a regrettable situation for coaching effectiveness. Some supervisors think they can pass on coaching if they are not elbow-to-elbow with their staff. Supervisors need to see clear examples and expectations of what coaching can look like in a virtual environment with the necessary tools at their disposal.  

Tune into the webinar replay to hear a real-life example play out.

All of these assumptions are part of what has led service organizations astray in developing a world-class coach from a high-performing rep. The Effortless Experience team is here to be a thought partner and help you bypass these assumptions via a fast track through the below guidance:  

Please contact us for more information.

Amy Smith

Amy Smith is a Vice President at Challenger’s Effortless Experience™ team. In her role, Amy implements several tailored product offerings designed to help companies grow in their journeys to becoming low-effort service organizations.