Jerome Vongsaphay, Optometrist at Specsavers Nowra Central in New South Wales, discusses the lessons he learned during the third module of Pathway, Specsavers’ partnership development program, on leading commercial success and coaching teams.
The first part of the ‘Leading Commercially and Coaching Styles’ module focussed on understanding how to drive positive commercial outcomes within a Specsavers store. One of the module sessions looked at core aspects of business finance, including how stores achieve commercial success and how to read all the numbers in the financial reports that will be supplied to us as store partners. I really appreciated the structure of this finance session as it started with basic information and then built up to a higher level of commercial understanding, including business planning and financial tool utilisation. Another session educated us on the main areas that enable profit growth, as well as how to drive this growth. A key learning here was the idea of “having the right people at the right place and right time via effecting rostering”.
The third Pathway module also included training on how to coach a team to succeed. A pearl that I learnt from this aspect of the module was the GROW (Goal, Reality, Options, Way forward) model. This model helped me understand the difference between managing / mentoring and coaching, and the importance of listening, observing and asking great questions. I learnt that coaching isn’t telling the team member what to do – it’s helping the team member come up with his or her own answers by asking the right question at the right time.
Coaching and learning to be more of an active listener took some time to get used to, but after applying these skills in-store, I found I was able to unlock so much more potential from my ‘coachee’, while also helping them to learn and improve intended outcomes.
The third Pathway module really challenged us as future business partners to “put our partner thinking caps on” and consider how we would ultimately lead our team and our store. After completing Module Three, I applied what I had learnt to engage, empower and influence my team, which has improved and strengthened our teamwork and has had positive ripple effects on our customer service and business performance.
Pathway has challenged me and taken me out of my comfort zone, but it has definitely been a fulfilling experience. The support I have received – not only from my store directors but also from my team and particularly from the Pathway faculty – has really impacted me on a professional and personal level. I feel like I have matured and that I’m definitely on the path to being a better leader. I’m a firm believer that learning, developing and growing never stops.