Employee Coaching - 1John Maxwell once said, “everything rises and falls on leadership.” If Maxwell were a CEO of a financial institution he probably would have said “everything rises and falls on the branch manager.” One of the best ways to improve your credit union or bank’s performance is to improve your branch managers’ coaching skills.

In Coaching for Performance, author John Whitmore says, “coaching focuses on future possibilities, not past mistakes.”

According to Rory Rowland, president and founder of Rowland Consulting, one area to help grow your financial institution is to tap into the power of the coaching relationship between the branch managers and the frontline employee.

“When I conduct coaching training for organizations it is common to see the ‘shoulda, woulda or coulda coaching style,” Rowland says. “If your managers are focusing on your employees’ mistakes and not focusing on their future possibilities, then your bank or credit union is performing below optimal level.”

So how do you do that on a practical level? Rowland suggest having the employees tell the manager what they did right or wrong after a transaction.

For example, rather than hammering the employee by saying “you should have asked them to open a checking account,” or “why didn’t you ask to put GAP insurance on that loan,” the branch manager asks “what additional product or service could you ask the customer about?” In the first approach, the boss feels like an ogre and the employee feels beaten down. In the second approach both feel compelled to develop a solution.

Referencing Whitmore, he notes “coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance. It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.” In other words, true coaching is much more about creating self-awareness for the employee than telling them what to do.

“With this model, coaching in no longer a one-way street but rather a productive dialogue of important questions,” Rowland says. “Asking questions creates self awareness. And when you elevate the self-awareness of your employees you improve the performance of your entire financial institution.”