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"Being a coach for your team is inevitable. You can do it well or you can do it badly, but you cannot avoid it." All managers are coaches; not all managers have the know-how, and not all are good at it.

In luxury retail, it is the same. Therefore, I thought I would share a few insights learned along my professional journey, both as an employee and as an entrepreneur, that have improved my own performance as well as that of those I’ve worked with.
Coaching is a must. Your people are your most valuable asset.

I’ve found that regular coaching and feedback conversations are rare at luxury brands. For many, coaching is still simply a tick-the-box component of what is expected from their managers, but they don’t give it the importance it deserves.
Post-Covid requires a very different style of management because, in the same way as it is in hospitality, many client advisors and team leaders have changed their view and perspective on their jobs.

If you are managing through the old traditional model of’ manager as expert’ you are the manager of the team and supposed to be the one with the answers. This means that if a problem occurs, the client advisor relies on the manager’s expertise and experience.
In most cases, this approach doesn’t work, as the solutions are not those of the client advisor and therefore not owned, supported, and driven by them.
Making the shift from manager to leader / coach puts people in the driving seat of their own performance.

Coaching vs. Managing.

•    A coach spends more time listening and asking questions, while a manager spends more time speaking and giving directions.
•    A coach invests time in observing, while a manager has opinions and makes assumptions.
•    A coach uncovers issues to get to the immediate problem, while a manager takes the quickest route to deal with the surface symptoms.
•    A coach supports employees in developing their plans, while a manager gives them the plan and expects them to follow it.
Managing is all about telling, directing, authority, immediate needs, and a specific outcome. Coaching involves exploring, facilitating, empowering, and leading to long-term improvement and leads to many possible outcomes.
It seems easier and more practical to ‘manage’ than to coach. But it’s worth it. Research and evidence both show that manager coaches have more engaged employees and get significantly better results.

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

Traditional retail management tells employees what to do and feeds back only when something goes wrong.
Coaching is about helping frontline team leaders and client advisors reach their goals for the future, supported by a vision. Feedback is about helping them understand what prevents them from reaching their current goals. Coaching is about encouraging each individual to perform at their best, it is about highlighting the most optimal behaviors. The change to a coaching mode involves a significant change in how we provide feedback.
Data supports the claim that more frequent feedback is a proven method for increasing employee engagement, which in turn gets better results. In addition, the younger generation, which now makes up most of the workforce, demands it.
Providing meaningful feedback enables retail teams to grow and will encourage them to not only look at their challenges and gaps but also identify their strengths and achievements. One core challenge for manager coaches is to provide constructive feedback that will not demotivate. Leaders consider their overall relationship with their team. If there is a high level of trust in the relationship, feedback will be welcomed as a supportive opportunity to be learned from. If trust is low, any suggestions for improvement may be resented.
In-store coaching helps build trust and entirely changes the energy and ambiance of the team.

Enhanced energy and much better results.

Brands spend a great deal of time, effort, and money implementing training programs to increase and maintain employee productivity and increase sales.

Effective coaches ask their teams how they think things could be done instead of simply telling them what to do. They help them see alternatives, reflect on mistakes, and find room for improvement. This empowers individuals to envision their best selves, including how they look, sound, and feel.


I have held several recent conversations with managers and leaders of luxury retail brands, sharing their concern for the high number of employees willing to move to a competitor offering improved incentives and opportunities. We noted that the fundamental driver for most resignations was the lack of growth and development opportunities. Coaching and feedback conversations can significantly impact retention and employee satisfaction, as well as performance.

Being a great boss involves taking responsibility for developing your team members' performance and fostering their growth. The days of a manager as an expert are gone; the days of leading coaches are here. We can either resist that change and stick to the management methods that were largely formed in the past, or we can accept the challenge and develop a coaching mindset and skill. The great news is that a coaching approach will be appreciated by your team, enhance the energy, and create a great impact on a store’s bottom line.

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