First Financial Security, Inc.’s Director of Performance, Dave Wild, shares insights into how you can jumpstart business performance and create a new wave of growth in your team.
What’s the difference between training and coaching in business? Most people would say that they were the same idea, or at least very similar.
You provide your new agents with knowledge of products and processes, so that they can go out on their own and build their own business. “If you have any questions or run into any stumbling blocks, come back and I’ll show you how to handle them.” Sound familiar?
In all my years as a business performance coach to up-and-coming leaders and a builder of businesses, I’ve never witnessed that approach lead to any significant level of success, mostly because, in that scenario, there is no coaching being done.
Training vs. Coaching
Training is instruction about products and processes. Coaching is a completely separate step that can only be entered into after the instruction step is successfully completed and the agent has mastered the information. The steps cannot be combined and one will not produce the results you’re looking for without the other. Because they build upon one another, sometimes an agent has to take a step back to relearn what he’s missed – and that’s critical.
If an agent doesn’t have the base knowledge, he cannot be coached.
Lack of knowledge, however, isn’t always the issue when it comes to identifying the root of underperformance. So much of the time people think training is the solution when, actually, the agent is in need of coaching and the accountability that comes with it. The tendency is to go back to the basics, but if your agent understands the product material, there’s no need to reteach it. It may just be the act of applying the process – the how and the why – that’s in need of attention. That’s where coaching comes in and that’s where the growth and business performance excellence takes place.
Self-discovery Is the Key
Taking your agent to the next level is all about self-discovery. The objective of coaching is not to solve your agent’s dilemma, or fix the problem. As a business performance coach, you need to ask the right questions so that he learns to discover the answers himself. You simply guide the way. The challenge is having enough patience and discipline to stay the course and not hand over the answer. In the short term it’s more time consuming, but if you can look long term, it will be beneficial to both of you and absolutely critical to the overall success of your team.
I’ve heard frustration voiced from so many leaders who say they aren’t able to take their team to the next level because ‘they’re too busy solving problems with their current agents.” This is exactly why teams reach a certain point of success and then seem to plateau. The leader is stretched to the limit. By positioning yourself – whether intentionally or not – as the focal point of your team, and not cultivating any other leaders within your team, you’re putting limits on your potential success. Although you may think you’re helping your team … it’s quicker for me to show them, it’s more efficient for me to answer, it’s easier for me to just do it, you’re actually holding your agents back and putting your team at a disadvantage. A strategic coaching program could breathe new life into this team and jumpstart a new wave of growth.
As a leader, you need to actively work on replicating yourself. Develop leaders who are as smart and as capable as you through coaching and you could bring remarkable depth to your team. Your agents will be able to solve problems on their own and answer their own questions. They’ll be a resource for new agents and serve as coaches for potential leaders. You’ll find more time to grow other areas of your business, and your team will thrive. Imagine multiple leaders just like you and what you could accomplish together. With time, patience, and coaching, it can be done!
Coaching is not the secret to business performance excellence, but it’s a critical part of being set up for success. Training is the first step, but if you stop there, you’ve given up half way through the process. Without self-discovery and accountability, agents will never answer the tough questions to gain the confidence and self-assuredness to be successful. Make coaching a priority and you’ll be introduced to unlimited growth potential and a new, game-changing approach to your business.