Coaching Employees for Success: Strategies to Build a Service Culture in Your Credit Union

Coaching employees

At the heart of every successful credit union is a strong service culture, where employees consistently go above and beyond to meet the needs of their members. While training and incentives are essential to building this culture, coaching is the most critical aspect. Why? Because people don't always act according to their training or incentives; instead, they do what they're coached to do, rewarded for doing, and held accountable for doing.

However, coaching employees is not without its challenges. According to a Pew Research survey, 29% of Americans struggle to find meaning in their work, while 60% feel too busy to fully engage with their jobs. As coaches, it's essential to understand the root causes of these behaviors. It is understood that they are often rooted in human nature, meaning most employees are externally motivated, while most coaches are internally motivated.

In this article, we'll explore the importance of coaching and offer strategies for overcoming these challenges to create a service culture that sets your credit union apart.

Coach to Behaviors - Reward Results

Coaching specific behaviors and rewarding results is critical for creating a service culture in your credit union. While numbers are important, coaching your team to a standard of behaviors is what truly drives success.

Defining Desired Behaviors for Your Team

Defining the behaviors you want from your team is the first step. These may include:

Creating a Method for Measuring Behaviors

Once you have defined these behaviors, creating a method for measuring them is crucial. Some great techniques for measurement can use are:

Remember, it's essential to measure specific behaviors for coachable results rather than relying on perceptions. By focusing on these behaviors, coaching employees to provide exceptional service becomes easier and, in turn, rewards them for their efforts.

Reinforce Desired Behaviors Through Daily Coaching

When it comes to creating a culture of service, reinforcing desired behaviors through daily coaching is critical. As a coach, focusing on positive reinforcement is important when you see team members using desired behaviors.

Implementing the Magic 5:1 Ratio for Your Credit Union Team

Use the Magic 5:1 Ratio and provide specific feedback to make it clear what behaviors you want to encourage. This means that, for a team member to feel valued, you should give them 5 pieces of positive feedback for every 1 piece of negative feedback.

To make the Magic 5:1 Ratio meaningful, consider the type of feedback you are giving. Here is a progression of praise that can potentially create a meaningful experience for your team members:

Going deeper with your praise will make your employees feel special and develop a sense of loyalty to your credit union. In turn, they will be more motivated to exhibit the behaviors you have laid out for the team.

Conducting Quick Coaching Sessions

If you notice a team member not exhibiting the desired behavior, conducting a quick coaching session as soon as possible is essential. But be sure to do this away from other team members or customers to avoid embarrassing the employee. Here's how you can have a successful quick coaching session:

One-to-One Coaching Sessions Using Feedback

Sometimes one-to-one coaching will also involve using information gained from a mystery shop or customer feedback. In this case, it is helpful to have a well-formulated system that is collaborative and productive. Try this method to facilitate a productive one-to-one coaching session:

Sometimes, employees may object to your feedback. This is natural and to be expected. Here are some key things to remember:

By reinforcing desired behaviors through daily coaching, you can create a culture of service excellence that benefits your entire organization.

Determining Skill Vs Will When Coaching a Team Member 

When it comes to coaching employees, you need to be able to determine whether they lack the skill or the will to consistently exhibit the desired behavior. This is because different approaches may be necessary to address each situation.

Helping Unwilling but Skilled Employees Succeed

When coaching and monitoring employees, it's important to determine if they are unwilling or lack the necessary skills to perform their job effectively. In the case of an employee who is unwilling but skilled, coaching and monitoring is the best approach to take.

It's important to remember that even skilled employees can benefit from feedback and coaching to improve their performance and behavior. By consistently monitoring their work and providing specific feedback, you can help them understand the impact of their actions on the team and the credit union as a whole.

Additionally, coaching and monitoring can help to build a positive relationship with the employee, showing them that you are invested in their success and development. By creating a supportive environment and encouraging open communication, you can work with the employee to address any underlying issues causing their lack of willingness, such as job satisfaction or personal concerns.

In short, while working with an unwilling but skilled employee can be challenging, coaching and monitoring is still the best approach. Providing specific feedback and creating a supportive environment can help team members improve their performance and behavior, leading to a more productive and positive work environment for everyone involved.

Supporting Unskilled but Willing Team Members

When it comes to willing but unskilled employees, providing training and support is the best approach. It's important to remember that every team member brings unique strengths and challenges, and investing in their development can lead to improved job performance and a more positive work environment.

Providing training and support can take many forms, from formal training sessions to on-the-job coaching and mentoring. By identifying areas where the employee needs to improve and offering targeted support, you can help them build the skills and confidence they need to succeed in their role.

It's important to approach training and support positively and be supportive, emphasizing that you are invested in the employee's success and development. This helps create a positive work environment that fosters growth and learning rather than one that is punitive or focused solely on performance metrics.

Ultimately, investing in the training and support of willing but unskilled employees is a win-win for everyone involved. By providing targeted support and training, you can help team members develop the skills they need to excel in their roles, leading to a more productive and positive work environment for everyone involved.

Addressing Unwilling and Unskilled Employees

While coaching, monitoring, and training are effective approaches for willing and/or unskilled employees, sometimes an employee is unwilling and unskilled at their job to the point where disciplinary action or removal is necessary.

Disciplinary action should always be a last resort, used only when coaching, monitoring, and training have not resulted in improvement. Before taking corrective action, it's important to clearly communicate expectations and consequences to the employee and provide ample opportunity for improvement. This includes documenting specific examples of the employee's behavior and its impact on the team and credit union.

If, despite your efforts, the employee continues to demonstrate unwillingness and a lack of necessary skills, it may be required to take more serious action. This may include a formal written warning, suspension, or even termination. This is not an easy decision, but it may be necessary to maintain a productive and positive work environment for the team and credit union as a whole.

It's important to approach disciplinary action with empathy and understanding while still holding the employee accountable for their actions. This includes providing them with clear explanations for the corrective action and an opportunity to express their side of the story.

While disciplinary action is not the ideal outcome, it may sometimes be necessary. By setting clear expectations, documenting specific examples of the employee's behavior, and providing ample opportunity for improvement, you can approach disciplinary action in a professional and fair manner.


Building a strong service culture is essential to a credit union's success. Coaching specific behaviors, rewarding results, and providing specific feedback is crucial for building up the behaviors you want to see in your credit union. By implementing these strategies, you can create a culture of service excellence that benefits the entire organization.

Don't forget to share this post!
Don't forget to share this post!

Ready to experience MemberXP?

Get a demo

Stay in touch

Subscribe to the MemberXP Blog! You’ll gain valuable insights and analysis from industry thought leaders to help you get the most out of your MemberXP experience. Unsubscribe at any time.