Coaching Rhythm: When to Coach
Coaching Rhythm refers to the required coaching interactions and meetings your team leaders and centre managers need to have, to maximise the performance of their people.
High performing managers spend at least 50% of their time coaching (De Smet, McGurk, Vinson, 2009) (Cahill, 2014), and are rigorous about the consistency of the coaching activities they do. They prioritise these over anything else.
However, most managers perceive coaching as something they infrequently do with each team member in a one-on-one meeting. Consequently, managers spend too little time observing and coaching their people. Our experience in financial services companies is that often best-practice Coaching Rhythm is not specified for team leaders and centre managers to follow. In the rare situation it is defined, managers often fail to comply with the Coaching Rhythm expected of them.
This lack of Coaching Rhythm has a significant implication for performance. It explains why Ernst & Young found that workers across all industries said on average they could be 21% more productive every day if it weren’t for poor management and lack of motivation (Ernst & Young, 2013). Both of these problems are solved when managers have Coaching Rhythm in place.
Let’s first review best-practice Coaching Rhythm for team leaders. A modified version for centre managers also needs to be in place.
As you can see, Coaching Rhythm is broken down into daily, weekly, fortnightly, and monthly activities. Within each of these activities, you need to specify the best-practice method for your managers to follow.
Here’s a quick explainer of Coaching Rhythm:
Performance focused teams across all industries always have a huddle before starting work to enhance communication, create a shared understanding of the team’s focus for the day, and motivate team members for the day ahead. Implementing Daily Stand-Ups is a challenge for inbound centres. However, they’re essential for outbound centres and for contact centre leadership teams.
Scoreboards need to be in place to track the team performance in the Result and Objectives, and team member performance in the Objectives. Making data visual focuses people on what they’re required to achieve, makes their progress visible (which is very motivating) and encourages teamwork.
The number one cause of performance problems in 60% of companies is inadequate or insufficient feedback from supervisors (Branham, 2005). The key to maximising frontline team performance is for team leaders to do daily Laps around their team to observe and provide Positive Feedback for the use of High-Performance Behaviours.
Priority Result Review
Once a week, team leaders and centre managers need to run a Priority Result Review in place of a Daily Stand-Up. This 20 – 30-minute team meeting provides the opportunity to review progress on the Result and Objectives, discuss successes and failures and decide on next steps, and hold team members accountable for taking action.
You may refer to the Skills Coaching process as observational coaching, or side-by-side coaching. Done well, it is the next most significant driver of sales performance to doing daily Laps and giving Positive Feedback. Unfortunately, most managers don’t understand how to do it in a way that motivates their team members to keep doing what they’re doing well, and self-correct where they’re off-track.
A One-on-One Meeting with each team member should be done every fortnight to increase the amount of feedback team members receive. The more feedback they receive on their progress, the more motivated they will be to perform well and correct where they’re off-track (Amabile & Kramer, 2011).
Unfortunately, too many managers reduce the effectiveness of their One-on-One Meetings by using them to correct behaviour. However, managers should fix performance problems as they arise. Emphasising performance weaknesses during One-on-One Meetings can reduce team member performance by up to 26.8% (CEB, 2002).
Once a month, team leaders and centre managers should run a longer Team Meeting in place of a Priority Result Review. The Team Meeting provides the opportunity to run training and development activities, and discuss topics which aren’t performance related.
To illustrate the power of Coaching Rhythm, here’s what the Head of Contact Centres for a large government department had to say after their centres implemented it as part of a High-Performance Coaching system:
“Within five months, ‘call handling time’ reduced from around seven minutes to less than five minutes 30 seconds. This reduction led to a dramatic decrease in ‘average wait times’, improving our clients’ experience and enabling our clients to access more support through the phone channel. We also made considerable savings in telecommunications costs. During this time staff engagement also improved beyond the public sector benchmark.”
Even if you specify to your team leaders and centre managers the Coaching Rhythm they need to use, there’s no guarantee they’ll use it. Managers often revert to their old habits, and their Coaching Rhythm falls away. When this happens, team members don’t get the coaching they require, and performance isn’t maximised.
To solve this, you need to have a Coaching Tracker in place for managers to record their coaching activity. This will give you get real-time visibility of the coaching they’ve done, and enable you to hold them accountable for the doing the Coaching Rhythm you expect of them.
What you should do now
1. If you’d like help to increase sales, productivity or customer experience in your contact centres or retail network, then claim your FREE High-Performance Coaching strategy session. During this free consultation, one of our experts will discuss your situation and the system you need in place to achieve your strategic goals.
Amabile, T., & Kramer, S. (2011). The progress principle: Using small wins to ignite joy, engagement, and creativity at work (pp. 76-77). Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Branham, L. (2005). The 7 hidden reasons employees leave (1st ed., p. 70). New York: American Management Association.
Cahill, B. (2014). Activate your managers to drive performance (p. 5). BearingPoint Institute. Retrieved from https://www.bearingpoint.com/files/activate-your-managers-to-drive-performance.pdf&download=0&itemId=373032
CEB. (2002). Building the high-performance workforce: A quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of performance management strategies (p. 29b).
De Smet, A., McGurk, M., & Vinson, M. (2009). Unlocking the potential of frontline managers: Instead of administrative work and meetings, they should focus on coaching their employees and constantly improving quality. McKinsey. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/unlocking-the-potential-of-frontline-managers
Ernst & Young. (2013). The Ernst & Young Australian Productivity Pulse™: Wave 4, May 2013: Reaching our $305 billion productivity potential (p. 2). Retrieved from http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Reaching_our_305_billion_productivity_potential/$FILE/Productivity_Pulse_May_2013.pdf