02 is a leading provider of mobile communications services with 100% ownership of mobile network operators in three countries - the UK, Germany and Ireland - as well as a leading mobile internet portal.
02 has developed a strong presence in high-value markets through the provision of mobile data and internet services.
The 02 channel help-desk known within the business as ”The Dimensions Support Bureau”, deals with retailers, dealers, distributors and stockists of O2 (UK) products and services. The role of the help-desk is to provide a centre of excellence to O2 UK trading partners, by imparting accurate and timely information on O2 UK’s portfolio of products.
The team structure consists of help-desk advisors, managed by a team of supervisors, who in turn report to a departmental manager, responsible for the overall performance of the department. Primarily, the role of the help desk advisor appeals to those aged between 16 - 24 and in many cases, the role is often this group’s first serious employment since leaving education. 02 recognised that although it was vital that their brand promise to customers was delivered consistently, it was important that the aspirations of this young group were met by providing an environment that was fun, rewarding, yet challenging. Furthermore, those advisors who displayed a desire for more responsibility needed to be easily identified and fast-tracked as potential promotion candidates.
02 in partnership with its strategic coaching partner Prosell, decided to implement a Procoach programme that would equip managers and supervisors with the necessary skills and behaviours to performance coach the help-desk advisor team. Procoach techniques were employed to help managers and supervisors deal with what they perceived as ‘uncomfortable’ people issues: such as attendance and timekeeping.
These issues, if dealt with incorrectly, would adversely affect the innate levels of motivation and willingness already established in the help-desk advisor team.
Procoach was implemented to the managers of the help desk team. While some theoretical classroom learning was used, the majority of the time spent, used real-life on-the-job experiences, to ensure the transfer of learning was immediate.
By using real-life experiences, managers were able to receive immediate feedback and encouragement from both the coach and the coachee on how successful the intervention had been. Furthermore, questioning techniques were employed to ask the coach and coachee what had been learnt from the experience and what if anything, could have been done differently.
Having a coach on hand also provided some managers with the ‘courage’ to deal with difficult ‘people’ situations. Additionally, the help-desk agents benefited from receiving first-hand coaching in the presence of a Procoach expert, ensuring that a positive outcome was always achieved.
To ensure that the skills and behaviours were embedded amongst the management team, these individuals were required to complete a rigorous accreditation process and were frequently observed during surprise audits carried out by Prosell.
During the programme, eight managers and supervisors passed the Procoach accreditation process. Stuart Flower, Manager of the Dimensions Support Bureau comments:
“For every participant on the programme, there has been a noticeable and positive change in behaviour. This has contributed to an inclusive yet robust working environment.” He further comments: “My supervisors now appreciate the need for a varied coaching approach, instead of delegating using just the ‘tell’ approach. We encourage effective questioning by our supervisors which manifests in an open-dialogue with advisors, making them feel involved in the decision making process. He concludes:
“Procoach has also given my supervisors the confidence to address ‘people’ issues and feel comfortable, delivering performance feedback."
As a result of implementing Procoach, O2 has seen a 53% improvement in their managers coaching effectiveness. This was evidenced by measurable behaviour changes during the programme.