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Coaching for success. Building high performance teams: Part three.

Building High Performance Teams: Part Three - Coaching for Success

Welcome to the third article in the series aimed at helping you achieve top business results through building high performance teams.

We have already discussed how to run effective performance review meetings and how to agree and review objectives throughout the year. The third step of your PTM (Planned Team Maintenance) is to use coaching to enable your team develop and realise their true potential.

Why coach?

We all know that dealerships are busy, fast-paced environments with constant pressures on management and staff time. How many times have you thought, "I really shouldn't be doing this but it's quicker than explaining how to do it to someone else"?

If this situation sounds familiar, then coaching could be the answer you've been looking for.

Coaching - what's in it for me?

Coaching can be seen as time-consuming activity. However, our research confirms that - similarly to reviewing performance- you cannot afford to ignore it as a key management activity. Quality time spent investing in your team's performance is time productively spent. Here are just a few of the recognised benefits:

  • Improving overall performance of your team, e.g. improved workshop loading for a service advisor, improved efficiencies for a technician, improved conversion rates for a sales executive etc.
  • Enables you to build positive working relationships with your team.
  • Identifies training and development needs which will help you budget and forecast for the future.
  • Helps to develop new skills within a team and to clearly identify which skills may be missing.
  • More opportunities for delegation and succession planning - leaving you with more time to plan for the future.

Can everyone become a good coach?

The good news is, 'Yes!' As a manager, you will probably already have many of the skills associated with being a good coach. Think about coaching as 'helping somebody to find their own solutions to a problem and to improve their performance.' Focus on some of the skills you will already possess to help make this happen. An effective coach will:

  • Listen actively to what is being said by the individual.
  • Guide and support the person through the coaching session.
  • Ask relevant and appropriate questions.
  • Discuss options and solutions - how practical are they? What would the impact be? What is the cost?
  • Build rapport and provide a comfortable and encouraging environment for the coaching.
  • Provide good quality feedback.
  • Remain objective - be able to see the problem from all sides and remain unbiased.
  • Assist the individual in reaching a successful plan for improvement.

Do all these skills sound familiar? As mentioned above, if you are working effectively as a manager then you are probably already informally coaching your teams on a daily basis.

Key point

Since each member of your team is an individual, they may need a slightly different approach from you - you should adapt your coaching style to suit each person.

So what makes coaching work?

The GROW model provides a useful structure for any coaching session:

The GROW model

Goal Setting -

  • What is the individual's goal/objective?
  • What is it they want to achieve at the end of the coaching session? (Example: an overall goal may be to 'deal more effectively with customer complaints'. For a particular coaching session, it may be useful to focus on one element of that, e.g. 'developing a more assertive approach').

Reality Checking -

  • At this stage, you should generate an open discussion about what's happening right now.
  • What is the current situation for the individual?
  • What have they already tried?
  • What's standing in their way?
  • What's hindering them from dealing with complaints more effectively?
  • Which situations make them feel less assertive?

Options - Once you've clearly identified what the problem area is, you are in a stronger position to discuss some practical options to help overcome the issue. It is worthwhile exploring different approaches to the problem and working through the pros and cons of each.

  • What does the individual think is good about each idea/option?
  • How will it work with their customers?
  • What do they think their customers' reactions would be if they tried that?
  • How confident would they feel about putting that in to practice?
  • What benefits will the individual gain from dealing with complaints in this way?

What is to be done? - This is the action planning stage.

  • What is the result of the coaching session?
  • When is the individual going to put it into action?
  • What support will they need?
  • Who else can help them?
  • How will the individual take their ideas forward?
  • What timescale is appropriate?


Always use a mix of open questions (what? where? how? etc.) to get the individual to do most of the talking - and to generate most of their own ideas, options and solutions.

PLUS... Don't forget the importance of feedback and follow-up:

  • Arrange review dates to discuss progress.
  • Ask the individual how they feel now that they have put their plan of action into place.
  • What obstacles did they face? Was it easier to implement than they thought? Did they enjoy it?
  • Provide positive feedback.
  • Arrange further coaching sessions if appropriate.

The basic idea behind coaching is helping people to improve and develop - with you acting as the "sounding-board" for their ideas - which they implement. Coaching will bring you far-reaching benefits, not just for you and your team - but for improving overall business performance.

All enquiries about this article to: John Killen, Business Development Manager, email jkillen@rts-uk.co.uk or visit our website at www.businesssolutionscentre.co.uk