When an organization implements a coaching program into their company, the most common misperception from managers is they think that coaching will take up too much of their time. Most managers view coaching as a “feel-good” activity and that they don't have time to meet consistently and coach each employee. However, they don’t realize the value of coaching and that many of the coaching methods used today do not require them to be physically present.
Here are a few effective coaching methods that don't require the manager’s presence:
- Peer-to-Peer Coaching – Pair up two people and create activities where they discuss, role-play, and challenge one another. The key is to create a well-defined activity and then have them report back how the activity went so they are accountable for it. You can even use score sheets where they score one another during a role-play or simulation. This provides the manager with feedback they can use to coach the employees.
- Group Coaching – Have a group of sales representatives break into smaller groups and cover areas such as cold calling, price objections, product knowledge etc. For example, to improve product knowledge, have one group come up with three new creative selling questions and another group could come up with what they feel are the top three benefits of the product. This way they are sharing their knowledge of the product with the group which helps them learn from each other.
- Self-Directed Coaching – This is where the manager gives the employees an activity such as reading an article or book have them report back what they learned. For example, after reading the article, each person has to email their manager one or two things they learned that they feel will help them be more successful.
Unfortunately managers are not the only ones who fall victim to this time misperception. Employees also stress about adding coaching activities into their already overbooked schedule. It's true that coaching and coaching activities will take up some of an employee's time, but it is for good reason. Just as managers cannot expect employees to improve because they demanded them to, employees cannot expect to enhance their performance just because they want to perform better. They need coaching which will provide an opportunity to practice their craft, improve their performance and be successful.
The key is to schedule the activities with your staff and stay committed to coaching them. Make sure to follow-up with your team to review what they learned through their peer-to-peer, group or self-directed coaching methods and you will see how your efforts have paid off.