Call Coaching Requires Adapting to Different Personalities

Effective Call Coaching is more than just playing a few calls, reviewing the score and giving a couple of bullets. To encourage behavior change, a coach must be able to alter their coaching (often, on the fly) to effectively communicate and motivate the person towards positive behavior change.

Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of one-on-one call coaching for some of our clients. I have coached:

  • those who are thoroughly convinced that nothing they do is wrong, and are happy to tell you about it. They are full of excuses and can dismiss any constructive criticism by pointing blame at any number of places. It’s the customer’s fault, it’s management’s fault, or it can even be my fault for not listening to all the other calls in which they did everything right. Interestingly, I recently coached two people like this on the same day, and they were the absolute best and absolute worst CSRs in the call center.
  • those who are incredibly detailed. They will sit there with a note pad and take copious notes of everything I say. They want to have a thorough understanding of every piece of the QA scale, and how each behavior we discuss is going to effect their scores. They dot every "i" and cross every "t". They scour the call and the coaching form to make sure that every detail is correct.
  • those who enter the coaching session with boundless energy and personality. They will be happy to chat, and joke, and schmooze with me for an hour. They don’t want to be bothered with the details or listen to the call. They’d much rather shoot the breeze and have fun talking about anything other than their performance. They are a lot of fun, but hard to nail down.
  • those who enter the session on the edge of a breakdown. They want desperately to please me, their supervisor and their customers, but have been a wreck all day wondering if they are going to get a pat on the back or a kick in the back-side. They will say very little, especially if they feel  wronged or disagree. Instead, they will commit to doing everything I tell them whether they are committed to actually doing it or not.

Most of us have, at one time or another, taken a personality test. Effectively coaching someone can require different tactics depending on the personality type of the person you are coaching. It takes time and experience to learn how to quickly assess the person you are coaching and adjust your coaching to communicate in a way that will be most effective in motivating behavior change.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and ninatheevilone.

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