How coaching frontline call centre people is good news

When supervisors in call centres coach their people they make a positive impact on both productivity and engagement. Recently, a study demonstrated a clear productivity benefit, a saving of 1 second on each call as a direct result of coaching.

Coaching frontline call centre people inceases producitivity and engagement

Coaching frontline call centre people inceases producitivity and engagement

Furthermore, coaching was added value, since it was delivered by supervisor at no further cost.

Sometimes supervisors were unwilling to coach. Specifically, they were more likely to be unwilling when supervisors had not been supported to:

  1. develop their coaching skills,
  2. have time to coach rather than attend to administration
  3. evolve their confidence

From an effectiveness and efficiency point of view it makes sense to equip supervisors to coach.

Even when organisational hierarchies are beginning to flatten the evidence here indicates a need for supervisors to play a central role in employee development and performance management. Supervisors are the ideal people to deliver call centre training coaching.

1 Liu, A. And Batt, R (2010) How Supervisors Influence Performance: A Multilevel Study of Coaching and Group management in Technology-Mediated Services, PERSONNEL PSYCHOLOGY, 63, pp265–298 

Reach us at 07779 345 499,

Marjorie Raymond

Marjorie Raymond

T: 07779 345 499


We have experience in developing senior managers and their team members – both on an individual and team level – so they can develop practical approaches that encourage positive, constructive behaviour. This, in turn, leads to the development of positive beliefs and values. We are ready work with you, to help you get the best out of your people.

Here are some examples of approaches that can be used and tailored to your individual needs:

  • Individual and group coaching…Coaching – a powerful way of developing people
  • Personal development activities
  • Special projects, secondments and assignments
  • Mediation, to address workplace conflict
  • Psychometric assessment, which can identify strengths as well as derailing behaviours and also include 360 degree feedback
  • Structured module for understanding the psychological contracts in your organisation, both at an individual or team level
  • Straight Talking: …Straight Talking create change through conversations


Recognising the narcissist in your organisation

Identifying Narcissists

Identifying Narcissists

Since I published my ‘Charming the birds off the trees’ blog post I have received a number of inquiries about how to identify whether there may be a narcissist in your organisation. I hope the thinking below helps.

A distinct aspect of narcissistic behaviour is the need for excessive admiration. The narcissist demands respect from people at all levels in an organisation – and for everything they do. This degree of praising may feel like hard work to those expected to provide it. However, always remember that ‘criticism’ is unwelcome to a narcissist.

Signs to look out for are:

  • They are often keen to change roles before their manager has a chance to notice a systematic pattern.
  • They show immature or inappropriate behaviour, including poor coping skills, gossiping (for example, based on privileged access to personnel files), inappropriate remarks (for example, asking people in a team-building game to consider sexual experiences with others).
  • Some narcissists have performance issues, such as poor results/missed objectives that they usually cover up. Narcissists often explain these poor results as being the result of someone or something else out of their control obstructing them. The sound bite may sound like this: “X did not do their job properly.”
  • Strong narcissistic performers expect others to work as they do. Where this requires co-operation from others there are often complaints about the narcissist being autocratic, micro-managing and being overly demanding of others. This often results in a high turnover of team members. One story I heard was ruefully told. She was ‘made’ to work until midnight to get a task completed, only to discover that the narcissist had taken the next day off and taken all the credit for delivery.
  • Narcissists have difficulty in taking a balanced perspective. For example, I once heard a call centre manager refuse sales training for his people, as it would “simply make my people more attractive and they will leave”.
  • Narcissists are perceived as being insensitive, often shouting in public and deliberately humiliating people. For example, on the death of a team member’s mother – “you’ll get used to it” – said in an abrasive, abusive tone. And there was the demand that an ill colleague continue to work in order to finish a task important to the narcissist.

Charming the birds off the trees

Charming the birds off the trees, or a charming devil?

Charming the birds off the trees, or a charming devil?

‘I start off as a witch, and then get a bit nicer – sometimes’

When does confidence, easy charm and the ability to persuade people to your way of thinking move towards a darker, unhealthy part of personality. More often than you may think, since research in the USA indicates that executive failure owing to personality traits costs $3m annually. Given the relative seniority of such people, these costs may be the tip of the iceberg.

Often people who are charming are successful in organisations. However, organisations are often inept at noticing those with a darkside to charm: narcissism.

Narcissists are unpleasant and destructive to work with, or for. They are self absorbed, have vaulting ambition with inflated and at times, unrealistic opinions about themselves, particularly in relation to others. Examples I have heard are “I can make a profit anywhere”, “I start off as a witch, and then get a bit nicer, sometimes”, “I have made a mistake accepting this new job, it is not big enough for me”. Even just three statements show their sense of entitlement and exemption from standards and norms. In gaining entitlement they can be vicious, deliberately sabotage careers of others, and are good at managing their managers. Significantly, they feel no remorse. Equally, they can be charismatic, dramatic and exciting.

So, if your recruitment and performance management systems can’t tell the difference between someone who can healthily ‘charm the birds off the trees’ and some who is an unhealthy ‘charming devil’ take heed! It is simply not true that devilish individuals won’t rise to important positions. There is evidence that well known and initially respected business leaders, sports people, politicians and religious leaders have been clearly diagnosed as having narcissist personality traits.

Build Stakeholder Relationships

Stakeholder's need you to help them create understanding about their change management  activities and resulting business value

Stakeholders need you to help them create understanding about their change management activities and resulting business value

It’s important to build stakeholder relationships quickly, as this gives everyone time to get to know one another.

Robert Stake (yes, great that his name mirrors his interest in stakeholders) has made it part of his life’s work to understand stakeholder relationships. He has developed an approach called “Responsive Evaluation”. It does what it says: the approach shows how to respond to stakeholder needs and wants, motivating them to engage with you.

I find the best way to explain this to stakeholders is to tell a story about the journey and the changes that will result. Do this in a way that makes it easy for the stakeholder to grasp. Good approaches include:

  • Create understanding. Link relationships about your change and planned business value
  • Enhance links using holistic information: be descriptive, say how. Also, provide process information
  • Acknowledge the personal and political aspects of decision-making
  • Shape data into information rather than just collect reams of data

You also need to scout out the organisation by asking good questions, such as: who is in a decision-making role? Why are your changes important to them? What values, biases or experiences may influence judgements about changes?

Also, find out what your stakeholders want to know? What questions do they have about your changes? How are they going to use the information they receive? What decisions may be coming up around your changes.

You need to help your stakeholders focus on the important questions their people have. Surveys, for example, give a good overview and also provide a baseline for plotting progress, with the aid of repeat survey activity.

Focus groups and interviews are also useful as they provide detail about emotional states. Best of all, they can reveal people’s “lived experience” stories.  Stakeholders can use these stories to act on expressed feelings.

However, activities need to be proportional to the change; one size does not fit all. But remind your stakeholders that people’s beliefs and values are more affected by metaphors, stories and anecdotes than they ever are by statistics.