Learning & Development

Coaching as Critical Reinforcement to Self-Directed Learning

Melissa Pollock
Coaching as Critical Reinforcement to Self-Directed Learning

ICMI Featured Contributor Article.

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Coaching promotes a form of active learning that is not entirely instructive, nor entirely directive, nor entirely introspective, but includes aspects of all three, albeit at different times and in different proportions.  No wonder a lot of front line managers struggle with leading effective coaching! 


Contact Center coaching is usually focused on improving performance but is often too directive; coaches are typically promoted from within and know how to do the job themselves, but haven't had any or much coaching training or practice, so the fastest course correction is simply explaining what to do and how to do it.  This 'telling' approach fails to generate any self-awareness, reinforce any learning, or create any relational equity for the coach.  


The 'telling' approach also fails to generate performance results.  Being told the right thing to do or the right way to do a thing is not enough to create in someone the will, or the behavioral skill, to repeat what they were told.  If it did, no one would ever need anything beyond initial training - no practice, refresher, or coaching would be necessary!  


One of the primary principles of Adult Learning as identified by Malcolm Knowles, is that we learn best when we have the opportunity to explore and experience information for ourselves and at our own pace.  Some of this self-directed learning occurs naturally on the job as we perform and make mistakes.  Self-directed learning journeys can now also be promoted through use of AI technologies that push knowledge resources and micro-learnings directly to employees for instant use.  


Consider the CSR who is missing their NPS goal because they're not connecting with customers; they sound impersonal and un-involved.  Now imagine that CSR is automatically sent a series of short multi-media micro-learning content, each focused on single, very specific behaviors, such as vocal warmth and sincerity, then concluding with a knowledge check.  The learning journey is short enough that it can be informally consumed, and precise enough to be immediately useful. 


Enter the front-line leader who then leads a coaching conversation about ‘connecting with customers using vocal warmth and sincerity’, using the same best practices content, and suddenly coaching becomes a powerful reinforcement for the employee’s learning journey. 


The potential for modifying behavior and affecting performance and engagement through coaching is most significant and successful when it is relevant to, and therefore reinforces, formal and informal learning.  For front-line leaders to effectively reinforce learning with coaching, they first have to be aware of this relationship, then lead coaching conversations that allow employees to reflect and build on effective behaviors.  Only when learning and coaching are aligned and reinforce one another, can we successfully accelerate individual growth and drive performance. 


AmplifAI Solutions, Inc. helps contact centers transform performance outcomes through AI-based self-learning, predictive coaching, and crowd-sourced best practices. For more details on employee self-learning journeys and coaching effectiveness, send us an email.

Improved Performance & Customer Experience
Month over month gains in Issue Resolution,
FCR and NPS;
Month over month reductions in Handle times,
ACW and Hold
Winning additional client headcount
30% improvement in sales conversion
Retaining talented people
8-point reduction in turnover
Improving financial performance
10% increase in utilization


The future of success in your contact center is contingent on how you impact performance in ways that are both immediate and sustainable. And it doesn’t matter whether your agents are on-site, at-home, full-time, part-time, or temporary – you must deliver on performance.

Coaching is one of the most significant tools we can use to deliver on the engagement and performance of our people – but we must develop our processes, our people and leadership skills, and our technology tools, in order to overthrow the pervasive challenges to achieving greater coaching effectiveness and supercharging contact center performance!

Unlock the potential of your employees and skyrocket your ROI with cutting-edge coaching.

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Connect with the authors:

Melissa Pollock Customer Success at AmplifAI

Jim Rembach President at CX Media

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