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Without fail, one of the most challenging tasks managers and leaders face in building coaching fluency models is developing pinpointing skills. I see it consistently with my new clients during their upfront training sessions, as they struggle with being clear about “what they want”. What they come to learn is that guiding them from the global high-level, often-subjective “feedback” to something that is a bit more specific and objective is probably the most important skill they need to build. As I check-in with these same clients over the years I consistently hear that “pinpointing is hard” and a skill that they have to continuously work on. It is no surprise that the more they practice the better they get. As coaching models continue to move to an increasingly virtual environment, this skill becomes even more critical in shaping the behaviors that will have the desired impacts. Effective virtual coaching models should emphasize increasing both the quantity (do more coaching) and the quality (improve the value of your coaching) of their fluency. By increasing touch points, coaches can increase the quantity of their coaching and therefore, how the skill of clear, objective coaching (pinpoints) influences the quality of these interactions. For example, many of my clients are using text messaging as an effective tool for increasing touch points. Both coaches and performers like the flexibility and ease of using this technology to “communicate” on critical performance issues. Twitter takes it a step further to enhance pinpointing skills. Because Twitter has a 140 character limitation per “tweet” it is an excellent tool to shape the pinpointing skill. Here are two real life client examples: A Pharmaceutical Sales client moved towards a virtual field trip model in lieu of the infrequent and highly formalized traditional Field Visits.
A Banking/Financial Services client implemented a customer-centric selling model that is a key component to their strategic planning process. Coaches focused on shaping the behaviors that will result in clients perceiving this organization as “different” than other firms vying for their business.
Both of these clients have reported that building this tool helps (forces!) them to practice pinpointing. Both the coaches and the performers are becoming increasingly comfortable with this dynamic and appreciate the level of specificity and objectiveness that comes along with it. The next challenge is to help the performers shape their responses to “fit” the Twitter requirements. (More on this phase in my next posting).
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