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Continued from Previous……
Coaching is what we talk about next. But before we do that, one clarification is in order.
Many managers use coaching and counseling interchangeably or as two parts of the same process. This is not right. These are different techniques, for different purposes and with different outcomes. Coaching is done to impart or improve skills; counseling is done to change behavior. Counseling needs greater expertise at understanding human behavior. Our managers who like to do counseling are neither qualified nor experienced at doing it. Rather than giving benefit, these may cause problems. I am therefore not in favor of counseling done by junior managers.
Coaching means giving training to do something. In a Hollywood movie, the lead character said, ‘THOSE WHO CAN DO, DO; THOSE WHO CANNOT DO, TEACH; THOSE WHO CANNOT EVEN TEACH, COACH’. This is just a lighter one; real coaching is hard to do.
Coaching is about building skills. And Skills can only be taught in the field where the action is. It is neither a classroom thing, nor something done through talk only. Coaching takes a lot of ‘show how’.
Scene 1. A field manager is working in the field with his medical rep. He makes three calls and finds that the med rep does not close the call properly. After the third call, he stops him for a few minutes and shares his observation with the med rep. He makes a little speech about the importance of closing. He talks about how the closing should be done, what are the different ways of closing and even gives some examples of good closing. He then asks the med rep to make sure he remembers to do proper closing. The manager then leaves the med rep to do the rest of the calls and goes off for some ‘more important’ work.
Scene 2. Another field manager is working in the field with another medical rep. He notices that the med rep did not close the call properly and that it was happening repeatedly. The manager understands that it is a pattern, not an isolated event. After the third call, he takes the med rep to a side and tells him about his observation. He asks the med rep if he felt the same way. The med rep replies that he was not sure or clear about it. The manager is now clearer that the med rep does not know about closing skill and therefore does not know its importance. He briefly tells him about closing and its benefits, and why it is important to close properly. Then the manager tells him that in the next call, he will close the call. He asks him to observe the process keenly. They make the fourth call like this. After the call, the manager asks the med rep about his observation. The manager asks med rep if he could try to do proper closing in the next call. So, in the next call, the med rep tries to do formal call closing and is partially successful. After the call, the manager and med rep again have a small discussion. The manager appreciates him for the effort and asks him to try again in the next call. In the next call, the med rep does better than before. The manager and med rep keep doing this exercise till the manager is satisfied that the med rep has learnt at least the basics of closing. At the end of the working session, the manager again compliments the med rep and ask him to keep doing better. The manager says they will continue with the practice of the same skill when they work together next time.
SCENE 2 IS COACHING LIKE IT SHOULD BE.
During long years of field working, I have observed that most managers do not understand coaching, or do not know how to coach, or are incapable of coaching, or are too lazy to do coaching. They barely haul themselves to field, make few calls without much input, make speeches after every call, waste time and then go off. No wonder, their team remains mediocre.
First line managers, middle managers and upper-middle tier of managers must do coaching only. They should learn how to do it and should actively do it. It will boost the performance and morale of the team very significantly.
THE MANAGERS MUST STOP DOING AND TEACHING AND START COACHING.
To be Continued.
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