It’s long been shown that empowered team members are happier at work, take less time off and produce better results. Long gone are the days of task oriented goal setting. Everywhere you look, more and more successful organisations around the world, especially in the retail industry are turning to a more empowered and engaged team through retail coaching to achieve not only their company’s goals but their teams goals along the way. And no wonder, retail coaching has been shown to increase productivity by 88% (Public Personnel Management Journal).
Whatever your business, you rely on people to run and drive that business. So ask yourself, ‘how can I get the best results for my business from my team? How do I best discuss current performance and future development?’ This communication in the workplace is often an emotive and tricky process. People’s personalities and expectations can cause time consuming HR and performance based issues that are detrimental to the productivity of your business. Having a simple set of guidelines to stick to can speed up and increase the efficiency of the communication of your employees, in turn benefiting your business.
What is coaching exactly?
“Coaching takes a holistic view of the individual: work, corporate values, personal needs and career development are made to work in synergy, not against one another.” – British Journal of Administrative Management.
Evidence based coaching is a term coined by The University of Sydney which aims to help guide an individual or team toward a desired end goal. With observation, solution based questions and active listening, you can get your team to come up with their own solutions. This will give them ownership and accountability of their work which ultimately leads to an increase in business performance - hurray!
Here are 5 simple tips to get beneficial results from retail coaching
- Ensure 80% vs 20%
When discussing outcomes and performance, allow your employee to talk 80% of the time and you 20%. Listen to their response and allow it to shape your next question. Retail Coaching is accessing the potential of the individual through asking them questions to help them arrive at the conclusion you want.
- Get the facts
What is your goal from the coaching? Is it to improve performance in a particular area? And have the black and white results so they can see their results for themselves (to create ownership). As the coach, you need to have a plan or ‘map’ of the journey that the team member is going to undertake. They need to understand where they are starting from if they are to know where they are going. Therefore, have results and hard evidence for their performance in the chosen area so they can see their under-performance. This means they discover the problem/ opportunity themselves from the facts and you’re there to help them with the solution!
- Make it relevant
Identifying the results you want to achieve and make them relevant to the individual/ group you are coaching. We are all most concerned and dedicated to ourselves. Therefore, discovering your teams individual goals will help you relate your business’ goals back to them. Example scenario with your team member:
You: I was thinking, I know you want to go traveling around the world and you are working here to earn the money to go, right?
You: If I can help you improve your sales in the accessories department to reach the company target of 15%, I can give you Sunday shifts where you can earn a higher hourly rate, and therefore earn the money quicker. What do you say?
Them: Sounds awesome! Let’s make it happen! This will ensure they have high motivation to achieve both your goals and their own - Win/Win.
- Ask divergent and solution based questions
‘How did you go with that customer?’, ‘How do you feel you did?’, ‘What could you do differently next time?’, ‘How can I help you achieve that?’ You want to give the team member the chance to discover their own opportunities for improvement and come up with measurable targets to assess their development.
"People will exceed targets they set themselves." Gordon Dryden
- Focused Feedback
‘Sandwich’ feedback of the 90’s has been proven to be ineffective as people get a confused message of positive vs. negative, and often end up only remembering the positive. It’s totally OK to give constructive feedback. Clarify the task and the relevant goal again with them. Ask more questions like, ‘how did you find doing that task?, ‘how do you feel about that? Give your observation simply, ‘I noticed you didn’t show her a scarf to match’, ‘when I walked passed, I noticed the customer didn’t say a lot to you, it appeared as though it was mainly you talking’. Then follow up with a question relating it back to their experience, therefore returning ownership back to them.
People’s self esteem is often more important to them financial gain (check out Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). So, by investing the time into your employees with retail coaching and feedback, their self-esteem and belonging will increase. This will often lead to higher morale, engagement, skill level and therefore higher productivity in the workplace - something we’re all looking for.
"I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable." ― John Russell, Managing Director, Harley―Davidson Europe Ltd.
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