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Execs In The Know- A Global Network of Customer Experience Professionals

More Important Than Ever: Coaches Must Be Leaders

The following is a guest post written by Melissa Pollock, Customer Success Leader for AmplifAI, and Jim Rembach, President of Call Center Coach 

Although distinctly different, “manager” and “leader” are often used interchangeably.  But those responsible for managing the contact center coaching program also have to lead the engagement, performance and development of people! 

MIT defined coaching as a sophisticated management style that requires developing a relationship that empowers employees by building confidence and competence

Leadership is that intentional relationship between the leader and the led.  Respect, confidence, caring, and meeting needs are all required in order to build trust with team members so we can help them see their opportunities while ensuring they remain open and receptive to hearing feedback and discussing alternate approaches.
“Our contact center glosses over development for frontline leaders,” is something we commonly hear from senior executives.   But you can’t build a great contact center by allowing or tolerating mediocre leaders. Everyone responsible for Agent development must also be developed themselves! 

In one study, DDI reported that business outcomes of mediocre leaders in leadership roles can be devastating:

1. 69% admitted the promotion of the wrong leaders resulted in loss of employee engagement.

2. Nearly 2/3rds experienced loss of productivity.

3. 1 in 4 respondents indicated their business suffered a loss in profitability.

 

Let’s be clear, everyone responsible for the performance improvement of people is in a leader role.  But being a leader, and developing leadership competency, are two different things.  If we want to empower our people, develop them to their potential, and engage them to put forth effort and innovation, we cannot continue to enable and tolerate mediocre leadership skills.

Remember, the best mechanism for performance improvement is effective coaching.  And effective coaching requires a formula consisting of defined and communicated Procedural Infrastructure + interpersonal leadership skills.

And when you put together a proper system, and develop interpersonal leadership, then you can transform your contact center into one that delivers effective coaching within a culture of development, not just compliance!

A Better Way…

“There’s good news for contact-center leaders. Once they understand the issues that hamper coaching effectiveness, new digital tools can help address them by improving the availability, targeting, and delivering of coaching inputs.”

McKinsey & Company

How do you develop coaching competency and consistency, at scale, across your programs, teams, sites and at home environments?  You leverage technology to augment both your processes and your people!

 

The 5 Steps to Improving Coaching Effectiveness

There are 5 key People & Process Steps that will increase your Coaching Effectiveness:

1. Create and communicate your coaching system – expectations, procedures, and methods

2. Train coaches how to communicate and develop others – follow-through and leadership skills

3. Provide visibility into performance and coaching – frequencies, behaviors, and action plans

4. Measure coaching effectiveness – whether people improve or not after being coached

5. Coach your coaches – improve coaching competency and effectiveness

And while enterprise leaders certainly have to define and communicate the system of procedures, approaches, and expectations in order to create a consistent operating framework, there are now innovative technology tools that can carry out that system, and support the remaining steps.

That means you don’t have to try and solve each of the steps individually, rather you can apply a collective solution that systemically supports all the steps within the overall operation and its people.

As an example, we’re going to explore AmplifAI’s coaching effectiveness capabilities, and show you how we’ve been creating increased coaching effectiveness, resulting in rapid, turn-around engagement and performance for direct and BPO contact centers alike!

“Automate supervisors’ administrative tasks!  Many of the activities that keep supervisors and team leaders off the contact-center floor are prime candidates for automation”

McKinsey & Company

How does AmplifAI improve Coaching Effectiveness?

 

AmplifAI is a cloud-hosted, AI-powered, all-in-one Performance Acceleration Platform for Sales and Service.

And while AmplifAI’s solutions include data integration, performance analytics, gamification, learning, coaching, and quality, we’re going to focus here on the platform’s ability to drive more effective coaching!

AmplifAI has freed up managers from manual analysis, interpretation, and distribution of performance data, resulting in a return of up to 50% more-time spent coaching and developing people!

 

  • With Agents having direct access to performance, coaching commitments and coaching history, they’re empowered to self-identify gaps and take independent action even before supervisors’ coach them – resulting in increased employee engagement and accountability!
  • The embedded coaching form and workflow ensures coaches are consistently applying your methods, that you have consolidated documentation, and the ability to easily inspect process.
  • The post-coaching workflow and progress-tracking ensures everyone has visibility into coaching commitments, history and results.
  • The continuously updating Coaching Effectiveness Score and ranking keeps supervisors informed of the impacts of their developmental efforts.
  • Coaching dashboards highlight for leaders which coaches need coaching skill development!

 

As a result, AmplifAI clients have seen exciting results, and have finally vanquished the age-old challenge of not getting a return on their coaching time investments:

  • 💯 Improved Performance & Customer Experience
  • 👥 Winning additional client headcount
  • 💪 Retaining talented people
  • 💰 Improving financial performance

 

Summary

The future of success in your contact center is contingent on how you impact performance in ways that are both immediate and sustainable. And it doesn’t matter whether your agents are on-site, at-home, full-time, part-time, or temporary – you must deliver on performance.

Coaching is one of the most significant tools we can use to deliver on the engagement and performance of our people – but we must develop our processes, our people and leadership skills, and our technology tools, in order to overthrow the pervasive challenges to achieving greater coaching effectiveness and supercharging contact center performance!