We’re hot off everyone’s favorite season of the year: year-end reviews! You’ve met with your direct report(s), delivered feedback from colleagues, feedback from you, and discussed what you’d like to focus on for the year.

As a manager, you feel great having delivered feedback and know the direction your conversations for the year need to go. And, as a direct report, you’re breathing easier that your review is done and you won’t have to do it again until next year.

What’s wrong with this picture? Well, managers think their review conversation was a coaching conversation and they’re off the hook for a while.

What Is a Coaching Conversation?

What we know on the Effortless Experience™ team is that this conversation was NOT a coaching conversation. Why?

  1. Coaching is NOT assessing past performance.
  2. Coaching is NOT delivering annually.
  3. Coaching is NOT manager-led with little input from direct report(s).

This was a feedback conversation.

Although it’s important to reflect on past performances to reset, a manager’s need to enter into regular coaching conversations to help direct reports know HOW to improve and not just WHAT to improve is even more paramount.

This is key because coaching is the top driver of staff performance. That’s right. Your service organization will perform at its highest caliber when coaching is embedded into your supervisors’ daily interactions with their reps.

Driver of Frontline Performance for Customer Service Reps

Prioritizing Coaching Conversations

Knowing how important coaching is on frontline rep performance, you might wonder why organizations don’t focus on ensuring that coaching happens on a daily basis. Well, here’s why: Most organizations feel as if they don’t have the time for frequent coaching conversations because of other priorities.

Imagine everyone in back-to-back meetings or on the phone and they need whatever remaining time they have left to be productive. What organizations don’t realize is that not having coaching conversations is causing MORE work for your supervisors through escalations and trainings, etc.

However, you don’t need hours on hours in a day to effectively coach. In fact, having more time is the #1 myth when it comes to good coaching. The supervisors who are driving the biggest performance gains are spending slightly less time coaching than the general supervisor population. Therefore, it’s not about the amount of time; it’s about the content covered.

Finding the Right Balance

We talk to countless organizations who mention their coaching conversations are about getting to know each other to build rapport or reviewing the latest dashboard to hammer out where metrics need to move. Just think if the content of those conversations were about how to work together on the real behavior changes that can drive those metrics.

So, how do supervisors find success? The Effortless Experience™ team at Challenger teaches the integrated coaching framework that includes both scheduled coaching (the traditional off-the-floor conversation where a supervisor and rep can become aligned on development opportunities) and integrated coaching (on-the-job coaching conversations).

Coaches should aim for a 75/25 split; wherein, integrated coaching represents 75% of total coaching time. Scheduled coaching should take up 25% of coaching time and be used to discuss development needs, as well as agreeing on goals moving forward.

Integrated + Scheduled Coaching makes for better customer service rep performance

Managers should take the ideas of what needs to be worked on from year-end conversations, create hypotheses, observe staff in action, and agree to development opportunities focusing on the HOW. This is by what means you can take a feedback conversation and turn it into actionable development opportunities, which will improve performance with direct report input. This way, they feel an ownership in their development and won’t dread the “Review” calendar invitation in 2023.


If you want to learn more about coaching—specifically how to avoid some of the common missteps we see and how to do it will in a virtual environment—please join us for our upcoming webinar with Matt Dixon on May 12th.

Casey Lindlaw

Casey Lindlaw

Casey Lindlaw is a Senior Client Manager for Challenger’s Effortless Experience™ team. In her role, Casey implements several tailored product offerings designed to help companies grow in their journeys to becoming low-effort service organizations.

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