Agent Motivation

Guest Post: How to Coach Your Contact Centre Teams to Drive High Performance

Want to increase your contact centre team’s performance? Managers with high-performing teams use coaching approaches that their teams simply enjoy.

In this guide we’ll share simple coaching best practices that will boost your team’s performance, especially after the holiday season.

As we all know, contact centres have high staff turnover especially after the festive season due to a number of reasons, such as: employee absence without leave, poor attendance, late coming, and call manipulation, which all result in performance management related issues.

This article will help contact centres team leaders and managers with proven coaching techniques that result in high-performing contact centres.

Defining Contact Centre Coaching

Let’s start by defining coaching.

Coaching is a form of development in which an experienced person, called a coach, supports a learner, employee, or in some cases a client, in achieving a specific personal or professional goal by providing training and guidance. The learner is sometimes called a coachee.

Coaching itself is a skill and this is one reason why organizations must consider training for their coaches and managers. This offers immense opportunities to learn about different methodologies and share experiences with other coaches and managers.

Now that we’ve looked at the definition of coaching as a way of laying the foundation for the rest of this reading, let us discuss why coaching is important.

Why is Contact Centre Coaching Important?

In other words: coaching is not only important for achieving high performance, it is important to business success and has the power to make or break your teams and organization. With the right coaching plan in place, talent is encouraged to shine through the nurturing and attention provided throughout the process.

Next up, we look at the connection between coaching and organizational culture.

Creating a Coaching Culture in Your Contact Centre

When coaching is embedded in an organizational culture, employees at all levels believe that coaching is more than a skill or approach to be used to develop people. They genuinely believe that coaching is the way that they need to interact and work together to achieve the organization’s goals and fulfill its purpose.

Steps to creating a coaching culture:

  • Lead by example (from top down)
  • Give all leaders coaching training (coaching itself is a skill — coaching training is therefore a business imperative)
  • Encourage the application of coaching skills on the job
  • Create accountability
  • Encourage support
  • Highlight and reward good behavior and performance
  • Clearly explain the benefits
  • Avoid making coaching an evaluation tool

Let us assume that coaching has been embedded in the overall organization culture. Now you might ask yourself, what’s next?

It’s not enough to just believe in the power of coaching; your organization really needs to invest the time, energy, and resources into making effective coaching happen.

To do that, we’re outlining three touch points in the customer service coaching journey that are often neglected and yet have the power to provide the best coaching experience resulting in high performing teams.

3 Crucial Aspects of Contact Centre Coaching

  1. Set the scene for coaching to take place

 We’ve already identified that coaching should be the way employees need to interact and work together to achieve organizational goals and we agree that post-holiday brings along a high degree of agent burnout which in turn affects productivity.

The coaching environment is an important touchpoint in the contact centre coaching journey that’s often neglected.

The very nature of coaching is participative, nurturing, and people tend to learn and adopt new habits more easily when they are actively engaged in the learning process.

For scheduled/planned coaching interventions, it is important to make investment in the look and feel of the areas designated for coaching to take place. This includes the location of the coaching venue, the paint color on the walls, furniture, even the names of the rooms. One idea would be to get employees involved in the venue naming process so that they too feel part of their development.

As much as possible, avoid using the same venue for coaching, performance management, and disciplinary discussions because the objective and tone of these interventions are different. In most organizations where these venues are used for all the above, the location becomes a barrier to employee development.

  1. Develop a personality for each coaching intervention

As a manager you know the qualities that form your individual employee’s persona. This includes their way of thinking, feeling, moods, attitudes, moods and ways of behaving.

Each employee has a unique persona and voice which is useful in ensuring that as manager you get the most out of your time together.

Often referred to as VOE (voice of employee), this is key to developing a personality for each coaching intervention to truly experience the ROI of each engagement.

  1. Make coaching spontaneous

Coaching for high performance doesn’t always have to be constrained by formal invitations to some meeting room or boardroom. It should be conducted in a relaxed, natural, open, unrehearsed, spur-of-the-moment manner.

Build a culture of coaching on the go, not every intervention requires a scheduled meeting, and can be conducted through in-the-moment micro-coaching.

In the case of a scheduled one-on-one coaching session, make the invitation quite welcoming and natural. At times the title of the invitation can be off-putting for the employee.

To make sure your contact centre team doesn’t come into the meeting apprehensive, try to add some emojis on the subject line of the invitation. This creates a very welcoming tone in the mind of the employee. You can get creative with emojis by using different emoji combinations on the invitation depended on the employee persona.

The objective of this article is to focus on the touch points that are most often neglected in the overall employee coaching experience. I hope you find these techniques helpful in creating the best contact centre coaching experience for your teams to drive agent engagement and high performance.