Blog - Development

Looking to Improve QA Coaching? Go Peer to Peer!

08/29/2013

Working together to better learn the business, remote agents communicating to help each other better performance

It is not unusual for quality assurance teams to get into a routine. Evaluate transactions, provide feedback, look for all the good parts and then provide supportive feedback for improvement. It can get to be too much of a routine. If you are looking for a positive way to mix up quality reviews, then look no further than the team member next door!

There are many benefits to using peer-to-peer coaching, even in virtual environments. Peers can provide a support mechanism that is more comfortable than in a hierarchical setting. Plus, peers will push each other to move forward without the issue of feeling they are being called out or criticized. Some of the benefits include:

Better learning

In a classroom environment, the teaching style is usually either to the assumed mean, or to the lowest common denominator.  As a result, students that are farther ahead are bored, while those that are a bit behind are often left even farther behind.   By using peer coaching, the material can be tailored to the student, which also means that students make a better connection with the material.

Peer coaching can allow for deeper dives into the subject.  By moving away from the classroom environment, students can delve more deeply into the material.  It is no coincidence that post-graduate classes are smaller than normal college classes.  By the time a student is working on their PhD, they are often working one-on-one with their sponsor, which is the essence of peer to peer coaching.

The student isn’t the only one to gain something from peer coaching. Teaching something often gives a new insight on the material for the teacher, helping them understand the issue better as well.  Noted musician Phil Collins has said: “In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.”

Stronger professional ties with colleagues

In many companies, agents come in, do their job and leave, often with minimal interaction with those around them.  While this can be caused by a number of things, peer coaching can be one tool to help change it.  By encouraging interactions between colleagues, coaching can help foster increased understanding and increased trust.  Peer coaching encourages employees to work with, not merely beside, one another.

Individual development

Everyone is being asked to do more with less and often one of the first casualties of cost reduction is the training budget.  That means that opportunities for individual development can be more difficult to come by.  This can lead to employee dissatisfaction as they begin to feel that their skills are becoming out of date and they begin to feel they are being passed by.  Rather than sending employees off to train or bringing a consultant in, why not leverage the resources that you already have?  By getting employees involved in coaching each other, they can improve their own skills and help their colleagues improve theirs.

Increased impact and value of training

One of the many reasons people come back from training without remembering much of new information presented is that they didn’t feel as if they were involved in the learning.  By using peer coaching, employees feel more involved both in the learning and the teaching, leading to better retention of the subject.  This means that they will retain the information longer and be better able to use it to improve their own performance.

Peers are on equal footing and therefore create a unique, positive way to coach each other through quality challenges. The bond that can be built by utilizing peer to peer coaching is also a benefit to a contact center in that they begin to share more frequently. This occurs whether working side by side in a brick and mortar center or virtually through chat rooms. The end result is improved quality with a more cohesive team.

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