Recently, I had contacted a consultant to take her coaching training. I chose the online version which was to launch in September. After confirming the dates with the consultant, I attempted to register for the course.
Everything seemed fine until I received a call from my bank’s fraud alert department. My card number was used to purchase some items at a clothing store. My card was deactivated, and I contacted the consultant to warn her about the incident. What happened next made me think about the link between customer service and coaching.
I received an email from the consultant that blamed my bank for misunderstanding the fraud alert. She stated that her self-managed WordPress web site used a popular e-commerce plugin which is completely secure. I agree that the e-commerce plugin is reliable – if correctly configured.
In my reply, I pointed out that, according to her web site’s language, I would not be charged until the course began in the fall. I thought that putting in my card number was to reserve my spot in the class. She could understand my confusion.
However, her second email just restated that it was my fault and my bank’s fault for misunderstanding the fraud alert. Her response wasn’t helpful, and I spent the last seven days waiting for my bank card which was a significant inconvenience.
The ACCESS Customer Service Delivery Model
One course I teach is customer service to government employees. The model I use is the ACCESS Customer Service Delivery Model:
Actively listen to identify needs
Create customer confidence
demonstrate Care and commitment
exert extra Effort
Stay calm, courteous, and professional
Solve the problem
I take the participants through various role plays to demonstrate how to use each step in the model. We spend much time on the first five steps so participants can help the customer be receptive to the problem-solving stage. Think of the times when you felt listened to as a customer and how much more likely you were to trust the customer representative.
The Essence of Coaching is Listening and Problem Solving
As the Career Coaching Program Manager, I am familiar with the coaching competencies of the International Coach Federation. The ICF competencies also stress listening carefully, demonstrating care and commitment, and staying calm, courteous, and professional as the coach and coachee explore solutions to the coachee’s problem(s).
The coaching relationship is a deeper relationship, and more effort is expected on the coachee’s part than in your typical customer service transaction. Having excellent customer service skills should be a fundamental skill for any coach. Especially if the coach’s success depends on how well he or she listens in helping to co-create solutions.
So, I did learn something valuable from my recent “coach.” Given how poorly she practiced customer service, I must question her skills as a coach. And, especially her skills in training other coaches. I now know what to look for in finding my next coaching trainer.