Coaching is a key role for frontline supervisors, yet few newly promoted contact center leaders receive formal training in coaching techniques. New supervisors who haven’t been instructed in the whys and hows of coaching often make the mistake of focusing on an agent’s quality monitoring results and trying to coach individuals to improve the score rather than isolating the behaviors that will bring better results across all metrics, says leadership consultant Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, LLC. “Coaching is a complex leadership skill,” she says. “It’s about helping people to build their confidence so that they feel more prepared to deal with the customer’s issues.”
Another sign of an inexperienced supervisor is attempting to change too much too quickly. For instance, untrained leaders will try to address all of the items on the coaching form in one session. “Overwhelming someone with 12 things that they need to change—that just makes people shut down,” Hurt says. “Effective feedback inspires someone to want to do better, to believe that they can get there and to feel confident that they can perform better.”
Practical pointer: Hurt’s coaching advice for frontline supervisors? Use “confidence bursts” to help frontline agents believe in their ability to be successful. When monitoring an agent’s calls, pick one key behavior that would have changed the outcome of that interaction. Then spend a day focusing on that behavior. Listen to the agent’s calls, and when you hear them performing it, celebrate their success by recognizing them immediately.