KCS: How should you select your KCS Coaches?

Selecting KCS Coaches is an important piece of being successful with KCS as coaches can bring out the best in people which will drive towards those KCS benefits you’re looking to realize. However, coaches can also have the opposite effect if they’re not the correct person for the role, if they’re not trained on how to be an effective coach or if they aren’t receiving the support they need to coach.

You may be at the point of your KCS planning and design where you need to start selecting coaches. Perhaps you’ve already implemented KCS but haven’t been as successful as you would have liked when it comes to coaching. Or maybe you’ve launched KCS successfully but have seen a downturn in agent KCS activity. Wherever you may be in your KCS journey, you’ll need to select people who will be successful at coaching your knowledge workers. In this blog, we’re going to talk about the different techniques that you can use to be successful in that selection.

  1. Understand the skills required for coaching. Coaching is about interpersonal skills with the most important attribute being the ability to show interest in seeing other’s succeed. Other valuable skills for coaching are being able to listen and communicate effectively and guiding someone instead of telling someone how to do something.
  2. Do not automatically assume technical leads are perfect for this position. Technical leads often focus on articles being perfect which is not what we’re looking for when we’re doing KCS. However, there is a different role which may better suit our technical leads who are looking to have more responsibilities with the knowledgebase that enables them to use their technical expertise at a higher level. Knowledge Domain Experts (KDE) are those who have that expert level knowledge over a particular domain and can add additional value to the knowledgebase, your customers and your organization.
  3. Creating an Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) is going to provide you with a valuable tool in selecting coaches. This is essentially a map of the trust network that you would create based on relationships people have with each other and how strong those relationships are. Understanding the trust network in your organization is going to help you select the correct coaches. Creating a map of this network seems daunting, but it comes down to asking some simple questions to gauge who people trust and who they do not.
  4. Managers have good insight on the people they manage.  Ask managers for their perspective on those individuals who have the strongest relationships on the organizational network analysis and use this insight in combination with the map of the trust network.    The best results in selecting KCS coaches have used this combination.
  5. Ask prospective coaches if they’re interested in coaching.  Those who have been selected to coach may or may not be comfortable with coaching their peers.  It is important to discuss this as a potential opportunity for them while providing information the training they will receive and future support they would have in this role.  They should also be made aware that they were personally selected by those in their network as they have been respected by their peers as someone they can trust. Coach candidates should have the option to opt out of becoming a coach should they still feel uncomfortable or not be interested.

The organizations with the most successful coaching programs selected their coaches by combining the results of the organizational network analysis with the manager’s insight.  These organizations then gave those selected individuals the choice on whether or not they wanted to enter into a coaching role with their peers and provided them with the training and support needed for them to be successful.

We’ve helped others develop their coaches and we can help you too. We offer a KCS Support coach training built specifically around providing coaches with the skills they need for success. If you’re interested in KCS training or finding out whether KCS might be right for your organization, feel free to request a demo for a closer look at the knowledge software by Upland -RightAnswers in action.

In our next blog, we’ll dive into the effects of selecting the wrong coaches!  Stay tuned!

In case you missed any of the previous posts in this series…


About the Authors: Laura Yeomans (left) and Michelle Stumpf (right) are qualified KCS Trainers and have many years’ experience in running their own knowledge practices, as well as training and coaching others in Knowledge Management and KCS. 

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation

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