One of the things I often hear from managers as they grow their departments is that they don’t have time to do ride-alongs as frequently as needed. An excellent solution exists: Hire a dedicated person to perform ride-alongs and training for your technicians. If this sounds applicable to you, read on for what you should look for in your future ride-along coach.

But before we get to that, let’s talk about the ultimate objective of the person in this role: To increase performance in the areas of call conversion and average ticket through ride-alongs, one-to-one coaching, and training. Often, low performance from technicians in these two areas isn’t a problem with not knowing what to do, but a failure to choose to do what they should — it’s an implementation problem.

The ride-along coach is there to help technicians gain perspective on their current performance and identify what they could do differently in order to increase that performance. It’s as if the technicians are walking through a corn maze: stalks can be as high as 8-12 feet and all they can see is the path ahead. In their minds, they feel like they’re going down the only path available and all is well. But a ride-along coach can help to elevate their perspective, as if taking them in a hot air balloon up high above the maze, thereby helping them to see the whole situation and things they may have been blind to before. Through awareness, they will see for themselves the alternate paths that could be taken.

When choosing or hiring a ride-along coach, look for someone who is good at connecting with people and drawing them out. This role is not about new knowledge; it is about adding new perspective and coaching others on how to implement existing knowledge. This person does not have to be an industry expert, but he or she should be a natural relator who can demonstrate the effective use of questions.

Before you create this position, make sure to consider how you will compensate the person who will fill it. Performance-based pay is a key to success, so consider a compensation plan that is at least 50-percent dependent on an increase in technician performance. Previous careers that can lend themselves well to this position are sports coaches, Sunday school teachers, or counselors — anyone who has worked with a group of people to develop them. I wish you success in your search to find the best coach for your team!