“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The ill-trained will find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists,” warns futurist Eric Hoffer. “Today, to stay competitive you need to think of learning as a lifelong pursuit, an enriching experience that will always be part of your life. Coaching, as does many other careers involves a requirement -of ongoing education. Meantime competition is not only increasing; it’s getting better qualified.”
Some notable quotes, facts and figures on business, executive coaching.
This month’s Featured Coach.
This month’s Quote.
Selected Coaching Articles…
– What is Executive Coaching. (Management Today.)
– The new Coaching Model. (H.R. Monthly.)
– Why do employees respond differently to change. (C.C Manager.)
– Coaching in ‘New School’ Call Centres (Customer Contact World Magazine)
Population Trends 2002 Report: According to the report, an aging population problem is leading to fundamental changes in labour relations. The notion of future retirement by the end of this decade will be abandoned and “skills will command a higher premium”. This demographic change will become the most important issue for governments over the next 15 years and is both a threat and opportunity to business. Workplace training and professional development now needs to focus on skilling people to cope with learning as a life long pursuit and the nature of change. – BIS Schrapnel
Note: These articles remain under copyright of the respective publisher and are therefore for reference only and cannot be copied or reproduced.
Coaching is exploding onto the national and international scene The Business demand for Coaching is nearly doubling each year – Business Wire.
According to a recent report in the Business Wire: “..the number of job coaches has grown from 5,300 nationwide in 1998 to approximately 10,000 in 2001. Job coaching has become a $250 million industry and shows no sign of slowing. And it is not just a U.S. phenomenon.”
“Coaching management is a hot trend at a growing number of FORTUNE 500 companies, from IBM and Dow Chemical to Marriott International and Glaxo Wellcome. Corporate coaches are in such demand that they can charge from $600 to $2,000 a month for three or four 30- to 60-minute conversations. Some charge as much as $400 an hour. So a lot of them are earning far more than psychologists or psychiatrists.
Coaches are everywhere these days. Companies hire them to shore up executives or, in some cases, to ship them out. Division heads hire them as change agents. Workers at all levels of the corporate ladder, fed up with a lack of advice from inside the company, are taking matters into their own hands and enlisting coaches for guidance on how to improve their performance, boost their profits, and make better decisions about everything from personnel to strategy.” – TIME Business News
“As a $100 million business second only to the IT industry in its US growth rate, coaching is the latest must-have lifestyle and business accessory – the solution to both workplace under-achievement and premature stress burnout.” – Vive
“Call it professional coaching, executive coaching, life coaching, or corporate coaching. Whatever the name, this new phenomenon is one of the hottest services in corporate America today. Some data show that the quality of the relationship between boss and subordinate is a major predictor of intentions to remain. Coaching–which can help managers talk with subordinates about their developmental needs–absolutely affects that relationship positively. And there’s a big potential payoff.”- says David A. Thomas, Fitzhugh professor of business administration at Harvard Business School. THE BUSINESS JOURNAL
At Harvard Business School, Linda Hill, professor of business administration, says – she’s inundated with requests to coach. “Coaching is becoming something of a heavy industry. It’s amazing,” – says Warren Bennis, professor of business administration at the University of Southern California’s business school.
“If ever stressed-out corporate America could use a little couch-time, it’s now. Trust in big companies is at an all-time low. Baby-boomers have been burned; Gen Xers aren’t expecting the Corporation to take care of them. Under the circumstances, employees are much likelier to go outside and get independent advice to help them be better managers” – says Karen Cates, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
“What’s really driving the boom in coaching, is this, as we move from 30 miles an hour to 70 to 120 to 180…as we go from driving straight down the road to making right turns and left turns to abandoning cars and getting on motorcycles…the whole game changes, and a lot of people are trying to keep up, learn how, not fall off.” – says John Kotter, professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School.
Who qualifies as an executive coach? At the moment, just about anybody. “I wonder about the vulgarization of coaching,” “I’m concerned about unlicensed people doing this.” – says Warren Bennis of USC’s business school.
“The demand for Executive Coaches has skyrocketed over the past 5 years…. today’s executive coach (EC) is intended to help leaders and potential leaders across the rocky, wild, and challenging road of organizational growth in today’s dynamic and unstable work environment….As with most emerging professions, the rules and guidelines for how to make executive coaching work have been scanty at best. This gap has been felt by executives seeking help, their organizations, and the scores of people putting up shingles as EC’s. At the same time, a cadre of other types of coaches is trying to catch the coattails of the popularity of executive coaching.” – The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology – American Psychological Association
“The Xerox Corporation carried out several studies, one of which showed that in the absence of follow-up coaching 87% of the skills change brought about by the program was lost. That’s 87 cents in the skills dollar. However good your skills training in the classroom, unless it’s followed up on the job, most of its effectiveness is lost without follow-up coaching. For example: Most sales people try out the new skills for a few calls, find that they feel awkward and the new method isn’t bringing instant results, so they go back to their old ways.
“We’ve done lots of research over the past three years, and we’ve found that leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results.” V.P. of Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM.
“Coaching is the only cost-effective way to reinforce new behaviors and skills until a learner is through the dangerous results dip. Once through the dip, when the new skills bring results, they will become self-reinforcing.” Training and Development Journal.
“Corporations believe that coaching helps keep employees and that the dollar investment in it is far less than the cost of replacing an employee.” Fitzhugh professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School —above two quotes from the recent TIME Magazine article about Executive Coaching
….some notable QUOTES on Business Coaching:
Executive Coaching Yields Return On Investment Of Almost Six Times Its Cost, Says Study
“…what is believed to be the first major study to quantify the business impact of executive coaching. The study included 100 executives, mostly from Fortune 1000 companies, who received coaching…Half of the executives in the study held positions of vice president or higher (including division president, general manager, chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief information officer, partner, principal, and practice leader). Almost six out of 10 (57%) executives who received coaching were ages 40 to 49, and one-third earned $200,000 or more per year.
The coaching programs that executives participated in were a mix of both change-oriented coaching — which is aimed at changing certain behaviors or skills — and growth-oriented coaching — which is aimed at sharpening performance. The coaching programs typically lasted from six months to one year.
Among the results of the study: The coaching programs delivered an average return on investment of 5.7 times the initial investment in a typical executive coaching assignment — or a return of more than $100,000 — according to executives who estimated the monetary value of the results achieved through coaching.
- Among the benefits to companies that provided coaching to executives were improvements in:
Productivity (reported by 53% of executives) Quality (48%) Organizational strength (48%) Customer service (39%) Reducing customer complaints (34%) Retaining executives who received coaching (32%) Cost reductions (23%) Bottom-line profitability (22%)
- Among the benefits to executives who received coaching were improved:
Working relationships with direct reports (reported by 77% of executives) Working relationships with immediate supervisors (71%) Teamwork (67%) Working relationships with peers (63%) Job satisfaction (61%) Conflict reduction (52%) Organizational commitment (44%) Working relationships with clients (37%)…” – (BUSINESS WIRE)–Jan. 4, 2001
* Workforce Trends
(COACHING SURVEY) According to the survey, senior-level managers need to pay more attention to, and focus more closely on, their people skills as companies decrease managerial levels and increase the number of employees each manager manages. The survey found the senior-level executives’ top five management behavioral problems — or, problems with how they manage people — are:
- Poor communications skills — both written and verbal, which 41% of survey respondents selected as the main top-level management problem in their organizations
- Failure to develop subordinates — chosen by 32% of human resource managers
- Rigid and inflexible management behavior — 29%
- Indecisive and/or nonassertive management behavior — 20%
- Not being a team player — 18%
The top five employee relations problems that senior-level executives most need to correct in order to work more effectively with others are:
- Poor interpersonal skills, selected by 48% of survey respondents as the No. 1 top-level employee relations problem in their organizations
- Disorganization — 31%
- Demeaning attitude — 22%
- Unpredictability, Arrogance (tie) — 21%
The survey concludes that progressive organizations are increasingly utilizing executive coaches for their managers and enrolling them in interpersonal skills-building courses. These methods have enhanced both the executive performance and team effectiveness of the organizations. – Manchester Executive Coaching Survey
“With the aggressive marketing of executive coaching by consultants, it is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain an objective view about what it is.” This report has found “the reasons for the phenomenal growth in the use of executive coaching by employing organisations seem to include: a) the knock-on effects of the downsizing of the 1990s, resulting in ‘lonely’ and isolated senior managers who welcome support and challenge from someone external to their immediate work environment. b) The increasing demand by organisations for senior managers with key ‘soft skills’. Many business schools and in-company standard development programmes have failed to embed the kinds of feedback-based approaches necessary for self-insight and the acquisition of soft skills, for managers when they were more junior. c) Some senior managers consider they have ‘made it’ and worry that being seen to undergo development may be perceived by others as admitting they have a weakness. The nature of the executive coaching relationship is private and avoids that public gaze. d) Attendance on whole-day courses or regular learning sets can seem an imposition into an already busy schedule. Sessions with executive coaches can be fitted around other diary commitments.” -IES Research (a group of 30 of the UK’s leading employers) Report 379, April 2001.
Some Executive Coaching Facts and Figures …in the US
1) Executive/Business Coaches charge by the hour, by the month or by the project. Expect to pay the equivalent of a management consultant’s fee. Rates run $150 to $375 per hour.
2) Most people who hire executive coaches are professional people whose average age is 41 and who have college or advanced degrees.
3) According to the ICF, clients report the following outcomes as a result of working with a coach:
• Self-awareness 67.6%
• Setting better goals 62.4%
• More balanced life 60.5%
• Lower stress levels 57.1%
The ICF currently estimates that 15,000 people call themselves business coaches in the United States.
According to a study by F. Masterpasqua, PhD, (a clinical psychology professor at Widener University), business leaders increasingly realize that helping employees balance their work/family demands is part of getting a commercial competitive edge. “Believe me, I know Fortune 500 companies aren’t driven by altruism,” said Masterpasqua. “They’re after that competitive edge.” Masterpasqua, recently surveyed 56 executives–half of them chief executive officers, the other half human resources directors–and found that most considered work/family balance a major “issue for their company.” Many also felt the pressure personally affected their productivity and quality of work. Corporate executives that he coaches have a common struggle: to manage work and family responsibilities and not let the stress of one arena spill into the other.
“Between 25 percent and 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies use executive coaches” – according to a recent survey by The Hay Group, an international human resources consultancy with a $10 million coaching practice.
“The leaders of organizations such as Alcoa, American Red Cross, AT&T, Ford, Northwestern Mutual Life, 3M, UPS, American Standard, the federal governments of the United States and Canada are convinced that coaching works to develop people and increase productivity.” – Consulting to Management (Sept.2001)
IBM have hired 30 organizational psychologists to coach 300 top managers. It credits them with “creating a climate where everyone in the organization feels empowered and capable and committed,” says Tanya Clemons, the IBM vice president overseeing executive development. “We can already see the results.”
Motorola say they expect to spend “in the low millions” this year on executive coaching for their best middle managers.
Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, has thirty coaches working in Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa with 250 top managers.
Eastman Kodak’s Charles Barrentine states “It boils down to caring.” He oversees 4,000 employees and finds coaching “invaluable. It points out things people would not notice themselves and plays a big role in shaping behavior.”
Abbott Laboratories Tony Latham, divisional V.P. for executive sourcing and development for World Wide sees executive coaching as a way to help valued employees evolve in a swiftly changing business environment and is starting up an in-house coaching program.”It’s basic human nature,” he says.
“People, rather than companies, do hire their own coaches — some of whom charge as little as $50 an hour for phone or e-mail consultations. Companies pay up to $100,000 for yearlong engagements with CEOs, or $5,000 to $15,000 for a three-month engagement with senior managers.” -May 28, 2001. The Associated Press
“..business coaching, a trend that’s exploding among small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide. It’s estimated that up to 20% of American small businesses are using them, up from 4% just four years ago.”- Chicago Business
“..the number of job coaches (career coaches) has grown from 5,300 nationwide in 1998 to approximately 10,000 in 2001. Job coaching has become a $250 million industry and shows no sign of slowing. And it is not just a U.S. phenomenon. It has been reported that there are currently over 15,000 job coaches active in China alone, with other countries also using coaches…For career changers in uncertain economic times, a job coach is someone who can help them advance in their careers and achieve their goals, can make the difference between a satisfying career path and ongoing unemployment.” – (BUSINESS WIRE) -July 30, 2001
“Fees range dramatically. Business coaches can range from $150 to $1000 per hour, with $300 to $500 per hour being the more common range. Personal coaches rates are typically much less, with $75 to $100 per hour being usual.” -HR.com
“With a soft economy upon us many business coaches are getting extra calls from senior management forced to lay off colleagues. Bob Wright an executive coach says his clients are needing him even more during the downturn, “tough times are a great opportunity for those businesses who can make the hard, right decisions during difficult transition and adjustment periods and that’s what coaching is all about, learning how to change and grow.” – Management Today.
This months FEATURED COACH:
The ideal behind business coaching is to elevate yourself above your competitors “by emphasizing the importance of character and personal maturity,” according to Peter Koestenbaum professor of philosophy emeritus at San Jose State University, California. Since 1994, Koestenbaum has worked with over top 150 business leaders focusing on the human dimension of running a successful enterprise. Says Koestenbaum, “It is important for people to get together to talk about what matters most to them, to their colleagues, their customers, and to the economy of their business.” According to Koestenbaum, the dominant themes that come up for analysis and management among the coachee’s with whom he works are promoting initiative and accountability, balancing career and private life, working through difficult interpersonal relationships, maintaining one’s joy of living under physical and emotional tensions, and motivating managers and employees to take responsibility for the whole organization and not just their own area.
Koestenbaum’s unique coaching style combines ideas from Western and Eastern literature, philosophy, psychology, and theology. He describes the foundation of the business/executive coaching experience as discovering self; building a sense of community; and developing a formal, professional, and in-depth understanding of what it takes to lead. Koestenbaum’s coaching model, includes the following:
* Vision: Passion for strategy
* Focus on reality: Respect for the facts, and toughness in the face of fierce competition
* Ethics: Love and compassion for people; integrity
* Courage: The ability to access the will, which results in decisive action and risk taking
Overall, Koestenbaum stresses the importance of each person’s pursuit to become the “best human being possible.” The rest – strong client and employee relationships, personal satisfaction, productivity, reputation – are likely to follow. He calls this endeavor “the application of wisdom to commerce.”-eds This month’s Quote:
“The mark of a successful coach is not that his/her clients stay forever, but that they leave with what they came to acquire.” ___________________________________________WHAT IS EXECUTIVE COACHING
– (Management Today)
By Suzanne Skiffington PhD., and Perry Zeus (Dip. B. Admin., Fellow VAAR)
Today’s organizations face rapidly changing market conditions, more demanding clients who require more for less, and management with changing values and life-work style preferences.
Management Consultants and Training Organizations are increasingly required to assist companies with: the management of change, restructuring, transition, future planning, post-acquisition integration planning, enhancing personnel effectiveness, personnel assessment, improving productivity and performance enhancement, leadership and employee growth, and support to Board members and temporary managers.
Are you expecting enough from training?
Studies have shown that as little as 8%-12% of those who attend training translate new skills and knowledge into measurable performance improvement or business results. The principal cause of this failure of training lies in the traditional training model unfortunately still prevalent in organizations today. In most organizations, the training function is an independent department, physically separated from its customers. The job of this department is typically to develop and/or buy training from vendors, and then deliver training programs. The structure and function of this department are based on the implicit belief that there is a direct cause-effect relationship between the training event and improved individual and organizational performance.
This view is fatally flawed. Training is part of an organizational system. Simply put, this means that what trainers, managers, and other key stakeholders do before and after the training event is at least as important, if not more important, than what trainers do in the design and delivery of the event itself.
What is coaching?
Coaching seems to be the latest management trend. Companies like IBM, Microsoft, Xerox, GMH, Dun & Bradstreet, Reebok, Credit Suisse, Ciba Geigy and many others are training thousands of managers to become coaches. Personal coaches in New York, London, Paris, and Tokyo are helping CEOs, executives, and middle managers unearth their personal goals and aspirations and make better business decisions. So why should you consider using a coach rather than training? And when can coaching be an effective development tool?
No matter how much it is tailored a training course will always have to run on rails. Coaches are not confined to a single track, and can take the most appropriate route to the desired destination. Coaching is individual, and is the most flexible and tailored approach possible.
Coaching should be considered seriously for senior executives since investing in their skills gives the most leverage. A senior executive’s performance has a direct relationship to the performance of the organization. Also, given their status, busy schedules and existing experience, a public or in-house course is often inappropriate.
Coaching is particularly valuable when an executive is facing new challenges. There may be external ones, such as major projects, organizational restructuring or a new role. Often, however, challenges may appear as internal ones, either prompted by external circumstances or by personal factors. Such challenges may appear as stress, under-performance, motivation issues, confidence or self-doubt. In many cases, it may not be possible or appropriate for senior executives to discuss such issues within their organizations.
The coach’s traditional role is as a personal advisor to the client, helping her or him achieve their goals. The role is one which is founded on trust and expertise. The coach lends their experience, expertise and encouragement to the client and thereby helps the client to meet their challenges.
There is another model of coaching centered on the process of Performance Enhancement. This model was developed because many performance issues arise not from lack of knowledge or ability, but from personal, and often hidden barriers which hinder the achievement of goals. I’m sure we have all met people who have the talent and capability, but somehow just never seem to deliver their full potential. Such personal issues usually cannot be solved by advice alone.
How does each of these approaches work?
The standard coaching model works on the basis of establishing a relationship. The aim of each coaching session is dictated by the client. The coach will drive the client to achieve the
agreed goals. Regular sessions are essential so that progress can be monitored. These
sessions require preparation by the client so that they can take stock of their current position, successes, setbacks and new challenges.
The Performance Enhancement model works well with clients who have come up against personal barriers to achievement. In many cases they have the abilities, but lack the motivation, confidence or other resources to succeed. The Corporate coach helps the client develop the necessary personal resources, using simple yet powerful accelerated learning techniques. These, unlike training, work at the level of beliefs, attitudes and values, and so can make profound and lasting changes both quickly and easily. Typically a coaching module, focusing on one major aspect of change, will take only several meetings.
Coaches use questioning skills, listening and re-skilling techniques to help executives build the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to improve their professional and personal lives. A coach is a collaborative partner who helps you accomplish things.
Natural ability and the drive to excel contribute to a professional performer’s success. Coaching is the added ingredient that separates the average from the extraordinary in classical music, politics, athletics and even business.
Performance Coaching may be a relatively new concept in the business world, however, successful professionals have always known that a good coach is the difference between finishing first or second.
Executive coaching is a one-on-one process designed to meet the individual needs of the client. Periodic meetings over a six month to one year time frame have proven to be the most effective for long term impact.
Some Personal Corporate coaching roles include:
· Senior management personal support and mentoring
· Coaching up and coming “stars” and management in transition
· Prevention of management burn-out
· Management performance
· Leading specialized training or workshops
· Training management and executives on how to coach their staff team
· Building a culture of self-managing teams
Coaching then, offers the possibility of transforming a business since it can transform the people who drive a business.THE NEW COACHING MODEL
Written by Perry Zeus and Dr. Suzanne Skiffington.
As heads of a Master Coach training organization and a panel of international corporate coaches coaching in the U.S., Australia and Asia we find that a recurring misconception in organizations is the difference between counselling and coaching. The reason is that the traditional “coaching” model is based on old-fashioned counselling techniques. Today’s professional corporate coaches specialize in achieving sustained behavioural change using proven developmental/psychological techniques which bear no resemblance to this antiquated model. Many business managers confuse the two, or still remain unaware of the new coaching model.
Experience has taught us that a prospective client’s first need is to understand what differentiates the new coaching model from counselling. While the “old” coaching model includes some features of the new model, for example, goal setting and action planning, there are several differences. Research and our experience show the following similarities and differences between the two.
·- both involve a practitioner-client relationship which focuses on the performance
and functioning of the individual
·- both build rapport, and use advanced listening and reflecting skills
·- both adhere to professional and ethical standards of conduct
– both use goal-setting and action planning
-· The old counselling model generally follows a remedial approach which emphasizes deficits and problems of not meeting a set, required conduct. The new coaching model derives many principles from Sports Psychology which emphasizes empowerment, strengths and achievements.
·- The new coaching model interfaces with learning and development tools, for example, 360 degree feedback and other multi-rater instruments, and the use of behavioural diagnostic assessment tools which are introduced at the beginning of coaching sessions.
-· In the counselling model, employees have difficulties in functioning and don’t know why. Employees may experience feelings that make it difficult for them to clearly recognize the problem. In New coaching, employees are already successful and eager to move to a higher level of functioning but don’t know how. Coaching is forward looking, and emphasizes new skills and more effective strategies for professional/personal growth, transformation and achievement.
·- The old counselling model works through the client’s defenses and resistances, and involves explaining the rationale for ‘the rule or standard’ and the consequences of not meeting that set, required conduct. The objective is to obtain an agreement on the nature of a specific problem, whereas New coaching requires the coachee to first agree to, then commit to a written coaching contract clearly articulating the purpose of the coaching relationship. Coaching is not a fashionable alternative vehicle of managerial control. Leaders and managers do not have the time or capacity to control anymore. They have to empower and delegate to create a culture of responsibility and self-generated actions.
·- The new coaching model is about trying to create a new future and enhancing an individual’s potential. It is proactive – the emphasis is on recognizing and solving any problems before they arise. The old model focuses on exploring reactive behaviours and how to change these.
·- New Coaching is less directive than the old model. It is a conversation, whereby asking relevant questions at critical junctures, the coach can encourage and support the coachee to look at different angles and strategies. The counselling model is more directive, with employees being ‘given’ answers and insights.
·- New Coaches are flexible, moving with ease between empathic and challenging, confronting styles. The outdated coach was more tentative, less demanding.
·- There is a more obvious power differential using the old counselling model. The employee has the problem and the manager/counsellor is an expert who will “cure” him or her. New Coaches are not experts but guides and resource providers.
– New coaching is a way for managers to become more skilled in dealing with and therefore retaining highly skilled worked. Employees are demanding more than financial compensation. They expect appreciation, recognition, challenge, autonomy, open and transparent communication and opportunities for growth and development The old counselling model is unable to meet these demands.
·- New coaching generally involves an initial three to six months contract and is eventually ongoing, whereas the counselling model is needs based and occasional.
·- In New coaching if there is a need for counselling, the coachee is referred out to see a counsellor/manager. WHY DO EMPLOYEES RESPOND DIFFERENTLY TO CHANGE
By Dr. Suzanne Skiffington
Change tends to be difficult and humans have a tendency to resist it. Once we’ve found something that works, we stay with it. Some research suggests that we are not physically evolved enough to keep up with the increase in information and high technology. The rate of change has outstripped our capacity to adapt, therefore change is intrinsically stressful. Change also involves some disruption of ties and relationships, and therefore, involves loss.
Change is endemic to most organizations and businesses. There is a constant need to upgrade technology and systems to meet the demands of a rapidly changing marketplace. These changes can result in anxiety and resistance. Thin management and large numbers of employees also contribute to some of the challenges involved in introducing change.
However, some individuals deal better with change than others. Individuals with a high tolerance for ambiguity (i.e. the ability to cope with ambiguous situations, unclear information and unpredictable or rapid variations in the environment) deal better with change.
Also, individuals who feel they are in control of their own destiny (i.e. have an internal locus of control) deal better with change. Individuals who have an external locus of control can feel helpless, anxious and overwhelmed in the face of changes over which they feel they have no control.
Some individuals dislike routine and become bored when things don’t change, whereas others prefer stability and routine.
Some years ago, Perry Zeus and myself were commissioned by a large IT company to formulate a personality profile (The 24PF) for their personnel. One of the key objectives of the profile was to diagnose resistance to change on the part of prospective personnel and to guide management on how to work with these individuals. To this day, the company will not conduct any one-on-one interviews until the prospective worker has completed the 24PF.
However, apart from so-called ‘personality factors’, the nature of the organization also affects how workers deal with change. There is more resistance to change in an organization that is hierarchical and rigid than in one that is flexible and informal.
Resistance to change
Resistance to change is partly a function of the extent to which the changes impact personally on each worker. Reluctance to change can arise from feelings of insecurity or from threats to one’s feeling of competence. Some people feel comfortable with old systems and fear learning new systems. This reluctance can manifest as complaining, as camouflaging errors, withdrawal, apathy or overt anger. However, management should be aware that these behaviours are signs that their workers are actually going through the change process. They need support and encouragement, some more than others.
The process of change and what management can do to facilitate it.
A useful model for looking at change involves 4 stages.
1). Denial – workers pretend that the changes or need for change will just go away. There can be apathy and ‘head in the sand’ behaviour. Management has to continue to communicate the need for change. They have to ensure that workers understand the limitations of the present system/structures and how change will be beneficial. This can only be done where there is a climate of trust and where employees feel they belong to and are valued members of the organizations.
2). Resistance – this can manifest as anger, disagreements and complaints. Management needs to recognize and allow employees the opportunity to ventilate their frustrations and fears. Managers and team leaders can adopt the coaching principle of ‘translating complaints into goals’.
3). Exploration- energy starts to flow although there can be uncertainty and initial chaos. Management need to maintain focus and support workers through any uncertainties.
4). Commitment – employees are committed rather than just compliant to the changes and there is clear focus and productivity.
Strategies to get to know employees
1). Initiating new recruits – it’s important for management to explain the goals and mission of the organization to new recruits. Employees should know the organizational structure, where they fit in and what management’s expectations are. Management should also highlight the learning and development aspects of working within the organization.
2) Develop collaborative performance evaluations that encourage agents to develop goals and action plans that are in synchrony with their own values and aspirations. This allows managers to get to know their employees and in turn, employees feel valued and committed.
3)Rather than telling employees what to do, managers could adopt a coaching style which allows workers to generate their own solutions in a context of regular and constructive feedback. Although this may initially be time-consuming, ultimately employees become more self-directed and autonomous, thus freeing managers to get on with managing.
4) Encourage a culture of peer coaching whereby employees are willing and enthusiastic to assist each other. Of course, this can only succeed in an environment where coaching and cooperation prevails.
Communicating change to different employees
If managers and team leaders adopt a coaching role, they are more in tune with each individual’s needs and preferred style of communication. While it may not be cost-effective or time-effective to tailor communication about change to every individual, the coach’s role is to work through change with the individual. Open channels of communication, a sense of trust and a belief that the changes are beneficial to the organization and the individual are the critical factors in communicating and encouraging change.
Introducing organizational change
We have designed a Learning and Development Audit whereby we audit an organization’s learning and development programs (e.g., coaching, training and mentoring programs). We match this with their culture and long-term strategic expectations and plans. We then provide a report that sets out how well they are able to change. For instance, if a company plans to introduce new technology or important organizational changes, the audit allows the company to understand how well-equipped organizationally they are to introduce and deal with the proposed changes and how well matched are their expectations and their ability to successfully change and evolve.
Change, however is not simply structural. There has to be a collective sense of responsibility that goes beyond changes to systems and structures. What influences successful change is the way people in the organization interact with each other. Change is more fluid and less stressful when management is seen as supportive and embracing of change.
Where possible, changes should be planned together with all the people who are going to be involved. Again, limitations of the present system and the benefits of the proposed changes have to be explicitly communicated. Employees have to feel free to voice their fears and enthusiasm.
Managers can adopt a coaching role. This involves listening, reflecting, questioning and giving feedback.
Managers have to balance being challenging and championing with empathy for the difficulties some people experience in the face of change.
COACHING IN ‘NEW SCHOOL’ CALL CENTRES
(Customer Contact World Magazine.)
by Perry Zeus
All industries, particularly call centres, are experiencing an unprecedented rate of technological change. Customer expectations are continually rising, high levels of staff turnover are endemic and yesterday’s customer service and procedural skills are virtually obsolete.
Call centre training costs are increasingly expensive and difficult to justify. Moreover, current research suggests that only 8 to 12 per cent of those who attend traditional training courses actually translate new skills and knowledge into measurable performance improvement or bottom-line results. Much of the investment in training as a model of learning is, therefore, simply wasted.
So – what are the leading and forward-thinking call centres doing to ensure their survival and success? As progressive call centres recognize that they can no longer rely on traditional training techniques to raise performance levels and continually re-skill their workers, they are adopting and developing a genuine coaching culture.
Coaching remains a frequently misunderstood and misused term in the call centre industry. Coaching is about learning, change and transformation – about the human ability to grow and generate new, adaptive and successful actions. Coaching is essentially a conversation – it is a dialogue between a coach and a coachee within a productive, results-oriented context. Coaching is more about knowing what questions to ask than about providing answers.
Coaching in call centres can refer to: coaching for call monitoring, coaching for skills, coaching for team membership, customer service coaching, sales coaching, coaching as a style of management and working with an individual TSR or CSR to improve on weaknesses and develop strengths. Yet, any type of coaching is only truly successful in an organization that boasts a genuine, thriving coaching culture or ethos.
Many call centres have been busy putting out fires rather than growing staff and examining the reasons for the fires. The ‘old school’ call centre uses coaching on a remedial basis which involves ‘telling’ employees what to do rather than developing their learning and performance capabilities. On the other hand, progressive ‘new school’ call centres have established a genuine coaching culture which enables their people to thrive and grow while at the same time, increasing productivity and customer satisfaction. These new school call centres value professionalism and the individual’s unique contributions and are willing to invest in their growth and development.
So why is old school management reluctant to adopt a formal coaching profile? Some reasons include:
· Managers and other senior staff have not received coaching themselves nor are they trained to understand the various coaching models, techniques, skills and benefits of coaching.
· The role of the coach is unclear. Because many senior staff have no formal training in coaching they are unsure of the parameters of coaching and fear that coaching may take them away from their ‘real jobs’. However, coaching enables staff to become more competent and therefore more self-reliant and in fact, frees managers, supervisors and team leaders to attend to other tasks.
· Old school managers claim it is impossible to justify coaching on personnel who are likely to leave. Yet this approach is short-sighted and overlooks the coaching benefits of increased commitment and loyalty.
In my seventeen years of experience working with call centres around the globe, I have found that many old school call centre managers recognize the need to develop the full potential of their staff but feel that this conflicts with their productivity requirements. However, recent studies have found that using traditional productivity measurements tends to result in low staff morale, high staff turnover and decreased customer satisfaction.
The new school of call centres are adopting a modern, friendlier model of management based on coaching principles that enhance growth and potential and result in true productivity gains. Productivity is not simply a question of the number of calls per so many minutes, but is rather a measure of the improved value of customer interaction with the call centre as well as call outcomes. Such a model can only be adopted within a culture where staff are encouraged and supported to become self-directed, self-motivated and self-responsible – that is, within a coaching culture.
The old school call centres have a traditional call coaching or call coaching monitoring program administered by personnel who have undertaken traditional training courses but who have never received any formal training or certification to become a coach. They employ a training model of learning with a fixed agenda set by the trainer. By contrast, in the new school call centre, the individual sets the agenda which can be fluid and flexible. Training rarely involves open and honest feedback, whereas the coaching process includes ongoing feedback and continuous learning. Unlike traditional training which tends not to bring about major shifts in thinking and action, coaching is about sustained, measurable behavioral change and enhancing the coachee’s intrinsic motivation.
Workplace counselling is another discipline confused with coaching in old school call centres. Counselling involves turning around under-performance by resolving a particular problem. Such problems can involve stress, anxiety, poor quality work and frequently, uneven performance levels. Essentially, counselling takes a remedial approach and gets problem employees to recognize the gaps between their actual and desired performance, identify the source of the problem and develop an action plan to remedy it. Coaching, on the other hand, emphasises strengths and achievements and is a process of continual development by which employees gain the personal and position skills and abilities they need to develop professionally and personally and perform better.
In the old school call centre there is no quality control, benchmarking or auditing of the results of the training program, call monitoring or coaching program. In the new school call centre a trained accredited Master Coach guides a team of coaches (supervisors, team leaders) who oversees the learning and development of all personnel and ensures all learning programs are reaching (according to Management objectives) either Best Practice, Best in Class or World Class standard.
In the increasingly competitive, high-tech, borderless, global call industry, any call centre is only a few clicks away from oblivion. Only after an Accredited Coaching Program is implemented can any call centre today aspire to, or successfullly compete in an open marketplace.
A genuine accredited coaching call centre has all its key personnel certified as coaches. Such an authentic and not just a lip-service coaching culture encourages agents to want to provide three star service, up-sell, cross-sell, and provide that something extra. This leads to better customer impression, customer retention and a higher return on investment.
Our coaching courses are designed by Dr Suzanne Skiffington, one of the world’s leading Master Coaches and author of the best selling “The Complete Guide to Coaching at Work” (published by McGraw-Hill). Our 2-day (A+ Certification) and 4-day (Certified professional Master Coach) Coach-the-Coach workshops formally accredit your managers, supervisors, trainers, H. R. personnel, team leaders and other key personnel.
The certification process is based on competencies, standards and skills that are recognized throughout the profession. The 2-day (A+ Certification) course is practical and hands-on with an emphasis on how to successfully coach at all levels. Workshop exercises are designed to bridge the knowledge, behavior and skills “gaps” to becoming an effective coach.
The curriculum is designed to give the participants: 1) a solid understanding of core coaching techniques, models and skills, 2) a world standard competency in these skills, and 3) a means of adapting the coaching skills to their own style and personal skills.
The 4-day (Certified professional Master Coach) course members typically include senior management, H. R. and Training personnel. The Master Coach course skills individuals for training, development, implementation and overseeing the progress of coaching standards and programs within their call centres.
Coached in this world class, stimulating learning environment, the graduates of our coaching courses can confidently and securely lead their call centres into the exciting and ever challenging world of the call centre industry.