Coaching Enablement: The New Strategy That Will Transform Your Admissions Team

Coaching Enablement: The New Strategy That Will Transform Your Admissions Team

In June 2021, VoiceOps attended the Career Education Convention hosted by CECU and CCST. During the annual event, VoiceOps CEO & Founder Ethan Barhydt was joined by VP of Admissions at Unitek Learning, Michael Collins, to speak on the important role that coaching enablement plays in education and why it is key to enrollment team success.

The world of student enrollment has become increasingly complex. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the recruiting landscape faced new challenges to “business as usual” such as the rising costs of education and the heightened interest that many prospective students have in creating non-linear education and career paths.

These obstacles make it even more important for admissions teams to be able to provide a really great, personalized experience when speaking with students. In fact, the impact of the pandemic has resulted in a resurfacing of traditional tactics like calling students directly, since in-person interaction hasn’t been possible and there has been so much digital noise. Not surprisingly, students seem to be positively responding to the much more personal approach of a one-on-one conversation, vs. “conventional” mass marketing.

These personal conversations are the keystone element in the admissions process, and it’s especially critical now that your team on the phone can drive growth when other areas become volatile.

Here are the top three insights that came out of the CECU session with Ethan and Michael:

The common signs of under-enabled admissions teams

At the heart of the admissions team is having great conversations - and the right conversations - with students to provide an incredible experience and get them enrolled. But, we all know that good conversation is hard. It’s hard to learn and it’s even harder to teach. And so among admissions teams we often see performance gaps between top & bottom reps. This means that poor conversations are happening with students and there are too many missed enrollment opportunities. Basically, when your reps aren’t well-enabled to have great conversations, not only does their overall performance suffer, but employee turnover tends to go up as the team gets increasingly more frustrated. All of this results in poor student experiences.

Effective coaching improves rep performance and student experience

As our customers in the education space have told us, these calls are not “cookie cutter” situations, that can be solved with some simple keyword tags and chat scripts. In order to provide personalized and authentic guidance to students, it is important that admissions reps gain deep knowledge and skills so they know what they need to be saying no matter what twists and turns the conversation takes. Coaching - consistent coaching - is how you get your reps to the point where they can routinely do that. With effective coaching, that performance gap mentioned earlier starts to shrink, unlocking higher enrollment rates and a bunch of other great results like increased productivity, faster ramp times, and reduced attrition. So, coaching reps to have better conversations is not only good for students, but it is good for your team and good for your organization.

Coaching enablement is the key to admissions team success

Tackling the challenges described above requires two important elements: a strong coaching strategy and effective coaching technology. These two pieces are what make up coaching enablement, and most teams simply don’t have them. Coaching shouldn’t be something you do only during onboarding or when there’s a performance issue – it should be ongoing and consistent for all reps. There’s always room for improvement, so you should always be coaching. Coaching enablement is what gives you the framework and capability to do just that. Done right, building a coaching enablement program will create a cascading effect of better conversations, stronger relationships, and improved performance. This all leads to higher enrollment rates, greater productivity across your team, and an incredible student experience. What’s not to love about that!

Coaching enablement will transform your team into a strategic force for your institution, enabling you to adapt to shifting trends and unpredictable economic and societal factors, keeping your admissions strong and your school competitive.  Learn more about VoiceOps and how to create a world-class coaching enablement program for your enrollment teams here.