The 2 Types of Coaching Performance

Retail Coaching

Coaching is an important skill for a retail manager. It's the process of getting the most out of your retail employees every day. However, there are two types of coaching approaches you should use regularly. They are formal and informal. The purpose of this article is to define both for you and help you improve your retail coaching. Coaching is designed to improve performance. It's not a counseling session.


Informal Coaching

As its name leads you to determine, informal coaching is done without a set meeting or time. Informal coaching takes place at the moment the behavior occurs. Now, pay attention to the word  behavior. Never discuss attitude with your employees. While I grew up in a retail era that was all about attitude in people, the truth is, attitude is subjective. Behaviors, on the other hand, are not. 

Informal coaching takes place on the sales floor as you witness the behavior. For example, if you saw one of your employees greet a customer, but not engage them in conversation, then you might ask them why they did not follow the sales process? Or if you see a customer walk without buying, you ask the salesperson to walk you through the exchange. The key is not to say something like "what happened?" That is not coaching. A coach would want to replay the situation. Think of it as reviewing the game film at halftime.

You are giving feedback to the employee to help him or her improve. 

Here is a principle that is very important when managing employees - 

ALL behavior is rewarded. Your non-action can say as much as your reaction. 

So, what does that mean? Consider this. If an employee is late to work and you "let it slide" then what you have actually done is reward the late behavior.

It may not be your intention, but that is what happened. This really becomes bad when we let the "top salesman" get by with it, but not the others. 

Formal Coaching

Formal coaching is the set time, planned meeting. Formal coaching takes place after all the informal coaching you have been doing is not working. Too many retail managers jump right to the formal coaching and then are frustrated when the employee pushes back. The truth is, if the formal coaching session catches and employee by surprise, then you have already failed. Never schedule a formal coaching session until after you have tied informally to change the behavior. 

For a formal coaching session, you need to be prepared. Come with you notes ready including specific examples of the behavior. The formal coaching session is not designed to fire an employee. In fact, it's the opposite. However, it is the last stop for an employee. If after the formal coaching session the behavior does not change, it is time to let them go. 

Make sure this is a conversation and not a download from you. Ask the employee to share his thoughts or feedback. Ask them for this ideas on ways to correct the behavior. Get several ideas not just one. And make sure it is in writing.

After you have mutually agreed upon a plan of action, then have the employee sign the document and give him a copy. This is your "contract" for him to improve. 

Lastly, set a follow up time. Monitor the employee's behavior for at least 30 days before you follow up. Follow up can be either formal or informal coaching. But the key is to follow up. Otherwise, coaching is for naught.