There is no doubt that coaching is an effective tool for developing people and teams. Research shows that training and coaching can lead to an 88% increase in productivity, versus 23% from training alone, and an organization’s return on investment (ROI) in training increases from 22% to 88% when supported with coaching. The question is, how do you use coaching in your organization to really make a difference?
A Story of Coaching Success
Sound Credit Union, “Sound,” one of Washington state’s largest credit unions, with 28 full-service branches and over 143,000 members, recently completed a sales training program — but it lacked a strong coaching element to guide managers to establish the new desired behaviors. Knowing that coaching is essential to the success of the sales team and the organization, Sound was looking to implement a coaching program that would make a high impact. More importantly, it recognized the importance of starting from the top if they wanted to change the mindset of the entire organization.
Before they could begin building the program, Sound needed to address three key challenges:
- Challenge 1.) Lack of a formal corporate coaching program for sales and branch managers and future sales leaders, which prevented the growth of the sales management team and branch managers.
- Challenge 2.) The absence of tools to build and support training development.
- Challenge 3.) Leaders who have never completed any formal sales coaching.
Sound’s goal was to build a formal coaching program that would drive a behavior-based coaching mindset among managers and create positive coaching interactions between their team members. It was critical that the program seamlessly integrated with Sound’s overall organizational objectives and their culture of high-touch customer service.
Sound partnered with TTA to develop this program for their 40-person sales management team. The program, “Coaching for Sales Success,” focused on strengthening coaching skills for upper-level sales managers. It provides managers with the skills, tools and knowledge necessary to coach team members to improve employee performance, resulting in better customer engagement and higher revenue. Here are three tips for creating a sales coaching program in your organization, based on Sound’s successful program implementation.
Tip 1: Make it Interactive
Sound teamed up with one of TTA’s expert training coaches to develop a series of interactive and engaging facilitator-led workshops, both in person and through virtual coaching and role playing, to help their employees learn and practice behavior-focused coaching skills.
Tip 2: Provide Practice and Tools
These workshops included opportunities to practice skills through small group and partner activities. The sales coaching program featured practice scenarios, strengths assessments, role play samples, worksheets, templates, quick reference guides, job aids and a coaching toolkit — all of which greatly contributed to both the engagement of Sound team members and the new program’s success.
Tip 3: Choose the Right Coach
A coach who is authentic and transparent will help make the learner feel comfortable being vulnerable and open to feedback. Sound has attributed its award-winning coaching program to the coach’s ability to connect with employees at all levels in the organization. This approach allowed Sound to keep the team energized and build a high-performance culture. In choosing a coach, it’s important to look for candidates who are aligned with the company’s overall mission and culture.
The Impact of the Coaching Program
Sound achieved its overall goal of establishing a formal coaching training program that provides managers and team members with the skills, tools and knowledge necessary to coach teams. Sound experienced the following benefits from the coaching program:
- Changed company culture behavior to a “Coaching-Based Mindset” within the organization.
- Improved member (customer) engagement and revenues resulting in increased sales.
- Increased loan production by 36% year-over-year due to a stronger sales strategy.
- Improved confidence levels and competencies of managers in coaching capabilities.
- Developed a wide range of coaching tools, including assessments, job aids, facilitator guides and reference guides to improve employee engagement that can be used to reinforce training and for new hires.
- Enhanced coaching relationships between managers and teams.
Sound’s success story is an inspiring example of the difference and impact that coaching can make in an organization. It shows how coaching can develop sales leaders, improve culture and impact your bottom line. Sound was able to change its culture and adopt a behavior-based coaching mindset. By implementing the tips above, your company can do the same.