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Coaching Expectations


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I also think it has to be a good fit along with their experiences, references and reputation. You first need to understand what you want to gain out of the coaching and make sure your coach is aligned with the goals you have. You also have to understand that at times one might out grow their coach or the coach simply is not able to take you where you want to go. I have seen coaching used in various ways and I have used coaches before. I have never used a coach specific to our industry as in my mind business is all the same, you're manufacturing, selling or repairing widgets. It's all about dealing with people. With that said I talk to a number of people in the industry also.

I have used coaching for the simple reason of having accountability, and if we read, study and are out in the industry we sometimes know what we need to do but as an owner we may not have anybody holding us accountable to get it done.

For the most part in my mechanic shop, I just coach, as I don't run or get involved in day to day operations, but I also know that there may be areas that my manager would benefit more from by having a different coach. Coaches can bring a wealth of information and experience especially if they are dealing with many players.

I myself will probably look at some coaching in the next year. I just came off of a two year coaching, accountability group that just became to burdensome and time consuming as they wanted us to be be involved, participate and attend too many other activities. I simply did not have the time and felt I was not leveraging my investment the best I could. I was already out of my businesses pretty much one week per month when I evaluated all my other commitments.

 

We have used Elite Training for service writers and yes it could be considered costly but in the end it really isn't. What makes it work is the mandatory accountability calls and reports.

 

In the end a good coach will take you where you can't get to by yourself. And yes cost is something you have to consider also. Be interested in who you choose and how well it works for you.

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I am on both sides of the coin, trained and coached.

 

It is important the attitude you bring to the table.

 

If you are the type of character that "knows" everything, you will not benefit from a coaching relationship, and worse you will claim that you were "ripped" off.

 

One of the priceless lessons that I learned in the Army was from drill sergeant that said to us: "Some of you come from the woods and are experts shooters, but for now put that aside and listen carefully because I will teach you how we shoot in the Army. That way, we are all on the same page, and in the heat of battle, you know what to expect from your buddy. Once you are out there killing the enemy, we don't care how you shoot him, but at least we know you will know how to shoot him the Army way."

 

It was that lesson that has served me well in life, when learning new things, I put aside what I know, and let the one teaching me show me his way.

Edited by HarrytheCarGeek
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I've been through enough coaching sales pitches and had a couple of coaches. That doesn't make me an expert, but I've noticed some patterns.

One of the things I've noticed in the sales pitches I've been through is the shops they hold up as an example of their "Management Success". One recurring theme I saw was the length of time in the program. Without fail, these shops had been in the program less than a year. The salesman of course pitched that as a positive, of course owing to their program working so quickly. The example shops that I talked to of course were thrilled with the program. But then I started asking specific questions. How long in the program? What was your car count before you started? What's your car count now? What was your average RO before/now? Labor rate before/now? Parts GP before/now? and on and on through a list of key metrics. Then you see a pattern emerge.

Without fail the shops who were held up as a success were in the program on average 6 months. The had a very high car count before they started with the program, and were still enjoying a high car count, but it was down slightly from before. These shops all previously had the cheapest labor rate in town, and had been coached to increase their labor rate dramatically. They were also coached to pad the labor hours, some shops a little, some shops a lot. The parts GP had been taken from a very low percentage, usually parts store "list" or less, (some shops were selling parts at cost) and were now getting a reasonable GP of 45-55%. The shop was now enjoying high car count, and a very good average RO with a good GP%. Success!

I'm not saying that these shops didn't need to make dramatic changes. Nor am I saying that these changes were wrong. What I'm saying is that the shop's current clientele were going to these shops because they were the cheapest in town by a long shot. Suddenly they were no longer the cheapest in town. A high percentage of these shops go out of business. I personally know 2 shops that spent a large fortune (they have you put it on credit cards up front) and subsequently went out of business because their client base left them plus they were now having to pay off a 30K credit card bill. I know another 2 shop owners who went through the program, and years later (20 for one shop, 15 for the other) they are both mediocre shops. I personally know zero long term successes with this model. This is not to say there are none, but this model is 0 for 4 in my personal sphere.

My personal coaching experience is different.

1st coach I hired was a system based on the E-myth book, and modified slightly to apply to the automotive business. This was my wife's idea for me to do. Everything was done over the phone with no delving into the numbers of the business. It was good stuff, but like many technicians I didn't relate well to the touchy-feely approach. Maybe it would have been good for a business in the stages where I am now, but at the time I really just wanted a step by step plan (repair procedure?) to get me from A to B. Money spent, no real effect on my business in no small part because it wasn't my idea and I never bought in.

2nd coach was much more effective. He visited the shop to do a two day evaluation including looking over repair orders, reviewing GP percentages, interviewing staff, and reviewing the facility. After that it was strictly phone coaching like every other coach. As time went on it was obvious that their approach focused almost entirely on the sales process, including inspections from the technician and the advisor selling process. They also wanted me to start a direct mail campaign, but they strongly encouraged me to use their "proprietary" mailers. The mailers were expensive (about 3 times the going rate) and I didn't have the resources to do a proper mailer campaign with any kind of consistency. We NEVER talked about expense control. In the end I got my money's worth from them as my sales were up, my GP was up, but it was done in a way that didn't chase off customers. I still like those guys and speak well of them. They did do a lot for my business and I'm were I am today as a result of their coaching. I hope that in the 6+ years since I left them they're doing more on the expense side and the books in general. But even if they aren't the sales benefits are still great.

 

3rd coach actually isn't a "coach" but rather a 20 group. This is the whole enchilada. Low cost to the business. Great marketing ideas, and where to get it done cheaply. Great sales coaching from other group members, and also where to send your sales staff for the most bang for the buck on sales training. Continuous review of the books, including GP performance, expenses, salaries, all of it. Plus, you're forced to learn how your own books work and what all the numbers mean. Maybe it's been so good for me because I was ready when I got there. No question that my previous experience with my 2nd coach played a big part in getting me ready for a good 20 group experience. The other members of the group are also a huge factor. If you join a 20 group and are dissatisfied with the results you're getting, move to another group within that coaching company, or to another company's groups. If you still don't see dramatic improvement in your business, it's you.

Edited by AndersonAuto
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