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The Four Cs of CoachingNancy Friedmanconcurrence, content, commitment, congratulations or continuation When most people think of the word "coach," they immediately imagine someone on the sidelines screaming at their players to do a better job. That may be true in certain sports situations, but in business, a coach needs to have a completely different approach in order to help employees improve performance. Let's have a look at the role of a manager/coach and how that integrates with employee development. Where does traditional training come in? How does training relate to coaching? What are the differences between training, coaching and counseling? The process starts with training. That's the first step. Let's say you're training a group. What usually happens is most of the group understands, learns and benefits from the information you've taught. Unfortunately, not everyone "gets it." What do we do about that small percentage of employees—often good, conscientious people, who may need personalized attention after training? Those are the ones who need coaching. Remember that coaching is strategically guiding someone into improving performance. It's analyzing feedback to see the areas where the training hasn't taken hold. Is remedial training needed? That's where the coaching comes in. These are the people who need one-on-one customized help to develop their skills. OK, we've talked about training and coaching. Where does counseling come in? Counseling is helping someone explore, and possibly resolve personal problems. Counseling is utilized if, for whatever reason, the employee isn't performing. It's for that special situation when training and coaching haven't worked, where the employee is unwilling or unable to do the job, especially if there is some distraction that is not job-related. We're going to give you The Telephone Doctor four-step model for effective coaching in a call center or business environment. We call it the 4 Cs of Coaching: 1. Concurrence 2. Content 3. Commitment 4. Congratulations or continuation Let's cover them one by one: •Concurrence: Concurrence is critical. Unless you and the trainee agree (concur) that there is a gap and the trainee commits to the improvement that's needed, you won't be able to coach to your full capacity for effectiveness. We need concurrence. Both you and the employee need to concur there is an issue. Once that's done, we can go on to the content. •Content: What's important is to identify the content that needs to be improved. What needs to be done? What are some of the issues involved? Normally, where coaching is needed, it's either due to the fact that the employee doesn't know how to do the job (they just don't "get it") or doesn't want to do the job. You need to find out which it is. The coach and the employee need to agree on the content, the issue and the problem. Only then can they make a commitment to solve it. •Commitment: The coach and the trainee need to agree. They can then make a commitment to solve the problem. Normally you'll be working with an intelligent, conscientious employee who wants to do a good job. With some coaching, the job will be done right. •Congratulations or continuation: Once you and the employee have found the content that needs to be corrected, you have given them instruction on how to do it correctly and you've both made a commitment that it will be done, it's time for congratulations. Let them know they've done a good job. This is critical. It's most important you don't leave that part out. Continuation is the worst case scenario. A little more work may be needed with some employees to reach the congratulations step. Much coaching takes place to fill a perceived need. You find out that there's a gap in the performance of an employee, and then plan a coaching approach that should improve the performance of that employee. It's nice and orderly to be able to think about what you're going to do. Formulate your plan and decide when you're going to do your coaching. Coaching, while immediate, should also be done in private, especially when it becomes an on-the-spot type of coaching. Never embarrass the employee. That's not coaching, that's being mean! Nancy Friedman, "The Telephone Doctor," has spoken at the past three National Association of Mortgage Brokers Annual Conventions and is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training in St. Louis, Mo. Nancy is a frequent speaker at meetings and conferences worldwide. She may be reached at (314) 291-1012 or visit www.telephonedoctor.com.