Too often training is a one-time event. You do the employee training, check it off your list and move on since your people now know what to do.
However, they don’t necessarily know what to do now. If you truly want to change behaviors, especially when considering customer service and sales skills, then reinforcement of those skills is critical. There are many reinforcement strategies and coaching is among the most important.
A good productive coaching session with your employees can be extremely effective. It sends the right message that you care and you want your employees to develop. It further demonstrates your leadership ability and the value you place on your employees. Here are some quick tips on insuring you have a productive coaching session.
- Be positive. Make certain your employee knows you support them and want them to improve. The coaching session is designed to help them be more productive and customer-focused. Be sensitive to the message you are delivering. You want them to feel good about your company and your role as a leader.
- Don’t focus on the negative. Be certain you point out what they do well, along with where they need to improve.
- Be prepared. If you have a formal coaching session, know what you want to say and have specific target areas for improvement.
- Make it timely. Your session will be much more productive when a recent specific event is clear in everyone’s mind. Using a situation that occurred weeks or months ago as an example will not be as effective.
- Present clear action items. At the end of your coaching session, make certain any expectations or follow up is clear to both you and your employee. The employee should not leave the session wondering what the next step is.
Coaching an employee is a critical part of a manager’s job. Your employees are a reflection of you and your company. They need to be doing the best job possible and when that does not happen, coaching is critical.
The challenge is that many managers are not good coaches, especially when it comes to coaching on customer service and sales skills. In the rental business, a lot of managers are focused on operational skills and financial metrics. They don’t like to deliver negative feedback and a poor coaching session can undermine your goals as an organization.
Training is important, but training without follow-up coaching will limit the impact of that training. Feedback is critical to employee development and must be delivered with a message of motivation and inspiration.
Barry Himmel is a senior vice president for Signature Worldwide, a Dublin, Ohio-based company offering sales and customer service training, marketing and mystery shopping services for a variety of service-based industries. Signature also offers several training sessions geared towards the rental industry. For more information, call 800-398-0518 or visit signatureworldwide.com.