"Best Ever" Leadership Symposium: Leaders as Coaches
AAA Life Insurance Company, headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, is owned by several of the largest entities in the AAA organization.
As often happens in many organizations, those with the best technical skills are often promoted to lead others. The problem is they do not always have the leadership skills needed to oversee people and process, as these are different skill sets. This was the experience of sales managers at AAA Life Insurance Company.
Sales leadership identified areas of concern with their middle managers. As sales people they were superstars, but as leaders of others, they needed to learn how to coach and lead those who reported to them.
The client wanted a customized training event to take place at their annual leadership symposium. The event would bring together all their field sales leaders.
The challenge was to make a measurable impact in a short amount of time. Coaching is a skill that takes weeks, to months, to years to practice and fine tune. We had a day and a half to create a learning event that would produce results.
To clarify the need, we held several Web conference with the AAA Life leadership team, to determine the best solutions to address their specific need. We drafted a proposed agenda, objectives, activities and learning outcomes and the leadership team took it to their peers and leaders for review and input until it was finalized.
Based on the discovery information, we designed and facilitated a tailor made, 1.5 day workshop to teach coaching skills through knowledge, practice, discussion and other forms of engagement. We:
- Clarified the need through team meetings with the leadership team.
- Drafted an agenda, objectives, activities and learning outcomes.
- Used a coaching model and active learning technique to engage the group.
- Designed drill-and-practice rounds where the participants were able to give one another feedback and also share best practices.
- Included interactive “jolts” designed to keep participants on their feet and keep the activity moving.
- Co-facilitated to offer our diverse expertise and so that the participants could gain from different styles for conveying information.
- Invited participants to schedule three follow up coaching sessions so that we could:
- coach sales leaders to overcome barriers and support the desired behaviors to use with their staffs, and
- collect dataand validate skill transfer to the job.
The session titled: "Coaching to Achieve Monthly Sales Goals" received a 4.71 out of 5 evaluation rating, the highest rating of all the individual sessions.
In follow up interviews, 90% of participants reported value linked to their sales results.
The majority of sales leaders reported that they had met their sales goals and reflected on the benefits of the symposium as it related to meeting other leaders, learning coaching skills, and applying the techniques they learned.
One person reported using the actual symposium listening exercises with his team and was able to correlate the results of his coaching sessions with sales results.