The range of responsibilities of an effective manager is frighteningly broad.
Too many such people in the sales and lettings industry find it difficult to be a manager in the true sense of the word as they are often sucked in to the day-to-day sharp end business.
Vast numbers of managers are also the office valuers – thereby in reality performing two jobs for the price of one. In truth, it is extraordinarily difficult, arguably impossible, for a manager/valuer to perform all the leadership duties to a high standard so prioritisation is key.
One of the most important duties is to develop individuals to enable them to take on extra duties which broadens the skill set of the team as a whole, and in turn frees up more time for the manager to actually manage.
The most effective way to achieve this objective is to invest in outside training provision but of equal importance is the follow up time spent by the manager to coach individuals successfully.
In short, effective coaching will lead to:
- Improved staff performance
- Development of key individuals
- Strength in depth
- Versatility of team
- Easier succession
- More income
Sadly, coaching is a responsibility that too many managers/business owners fail to fulfil – often citing lack of time as the reason. In reality, coaching is ultimately a fantastic time management tool which pays dividends in so many ways.
The other real cause of a lack of coaching in a business environment is lack of knowledge or skill on the part of the potential coach. I have witnessed numerous examples of “tell” management and even “barking orders” at staff – these approaches have no long term gain.
There is a recognised coaching model (“STEER”) which covers the five critical areas of successful staff development – Spot opportunity, Tailor, Explain, Encourage, Review with each stage playing a key role in the process.
“Spot opportunity” means observing staff in work situations whether in or out of the office. Making notes of the strengths and weaknesses of the quality of work starts to assist in revealing which skills and knowledge need improvement.
”Tailor” is ensuring that the coaching provided is appropriate to the experience, skill set, attitude and confidence of the employee in question. Pitching the content correctly must not be underestimated.
Use too much of your own jargon and you will baffle the recipient.
“Explain” is about the manner in which you impart and instigate the desired behavioural change. Verbal communication is quick but can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, so written guidelines are advisable.
I have found the use of clear, documented standards indispensible in the coaching/training process.
These are checklists of each of the key elements of a particular part of the job (eg taking a valuation enquiry, carrying out an accompanied viewing etc) and ensure the coachee is totally clear on the coach’s aims and expectations. Agree a deadline for a full review of the success of the project.
“Encourage” is the stage that reminds the coach of the ongoing nature of his/her responsibility. Monitor throughout the process. Spot the coachee doing things right and praise them. Watch out for things going wrong and step in to reinforce guidance and standards. Ensure the member of staff knows they can discuss progress at any time without you judging them until the end.
“Review” is the need to conduct a full check of the effectiveness of the coaching process – if unsuccessful, it is important to look at the process rather than the person involved. Success means new habits have been formed. If that is not the case, it is an opportunity spotted that takes the coach and the coachee back to the first stage.
The old adage “Watch the pitch not the scoreboard!” is entirely apt here as too many managers get bogged down in poring over figures therefore rarely finding time to watch their team in action and to embark on the above coaching process. When was the last time you went out on appointments with your valuers or salespeople for example?
What do customer feedback questionnaires and mystery shopper reports tell you about areas that staff require help with?
Once you have found time to look at the evidence around you, it is time to “steer” your team to success…
TM training & development