Six ways to coach your talent


Now more than ever, your employees should strive for improved practice efficiency. Teach them how.

In this down economy, your practice will struggle to survive if all team members aren't working to improve day-to-day operations. But are you guiding them in the right direction? It's up to you-or a qualified team member–to set an example and teach employees how to perform better. Here are six tips for coaching your team members, courtesy of consulting firm Lacher McDonald.

1. Encourage top talent to teach others. You're not the only one who possesses valuable knowledge. Empower your best team members to work with others to help them reach higher levels.

2. Hold weekly staff meetings. Encourage feedback from experienced team members to show that everyone is always learning. Give inexperienced staff members the chance to speak up, too-you can often gain valuable information by simply considering a fresh perspective.

3. Use real-life examples as teaching tools. Experienced team members have seen just about everything–difficult cases, cranky clients, and fussy patients. These team members can provide useful tips to newer employees on how to handle tough situations.

4. Review your current procedures. Just because you've always done something a certain way doesn't mean it's the right way. Encourage newer team members to question why your practice does something and listen to their suggestions on how you could improve.

5. Use online tools. There are plenty of online training opportunities available to your team members. Use these tutorials when you're short on time and aren't available to coach them yourself. (For a list of online CE resources, click here.)

6. Find better ways to use your software. Most veterinary practice software packages are incredibly underutilized. Ask your team members for feedback on your software and gauge their level of knowledge to address any weaknesses.

Your team members, unfortunately, are likely hearing plenty of stories from friends and family members who have been laid off. With the knowledge that no job is safe, they're likely more receptive to training. Take advantage of this opportunity, and by the time the recession subsides, you'll have a staff full of experienced professionals.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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