Canadian Contractor

John Bleasby   

How coaching is helping a roofer to reach his business goals (Part 2 of 2)

Canadian Contractor

His staff approve of what Brian Audea has learned through coaching: “Brian’s more relaxed, more focused on what’s going on in the company, and generally happier.”

In Part Two of this series, I look at how a business owner’s goals for growth through business coaching play out to his team on the shop floor. (Read Part One)

Businessmen like Brian Audia, owner of the family’s A&G Roofing in Orillia, ON, speak effusively about the benefits of business coaching, whether through mentoring, or a combination of one-and one sessions and peer group discussions. The big question is, “How do the employees feel about the process? How does it impact their enjoyment of work, their attitudes, and their engagement?”

Adam (l) and Jake (r) have been with Brian Audia’s company for several years and can see the impact of business coaching, right down to the shop floor

Adam joined A&G Roofing as a laborer about eight years ago, and grew into his role as Sales & Project Manager. His responsibilities include estimating, following up with prospects, and site visits. “I’ve attended a couple of group meetings with Brian,” Adam says. “The first half of the meetings they have speakers explaining core values, how to identify the character of people, and how they can fit into the company. It’s something I never experienced before. I walked away with new ideas and knowledge.”

Jake joined a few years before Adam, back when Brian’s father was still working on job sites and the company had just one in-house crew. Jake evolved from laborer to site foreman over the years, and was recently named Operations Manager. He’s responsible for making sure the trucks get loaded up with the material needed for the job. “My whole job basically is to eliminate guys running around the shop for an hour like chickens with their heads cut off, and getting them out the door as fast as possible.”

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Brian told me that he had decided to grow the company, but that bigger wasn’t the same as better. He felt things might implode.
Adam: When I was brought into my current position in 2014, Brian had a lot on his plate and wanted me to take some weight off his shoulders. He wanted me looking after all the residential projects so he could focus on the contractors, and the industrial work, and go after more leads. That year he joined the coaching group because he felt there was something missing.

Jake: That’s right. We were getting bigger, but the organizational aspects were horrible. It wasn’t that jobs were going off the rails. It was the small stuff, like the details listed on the job cards, things forgotten on the materials list, or not quite enough material. The result was the job ended up taking longer because there was more running around. You’d be trying to sort out what’s missing, trying to get the job finished, guys were leaving the site to get stuff, and not as many would be working on the job.

How did you see it affecting Brian himself?
Jake: Brian was quite scattered and had a kind of push-push attitude. He’s now more relaxed, more focussed on what’s going on in the company, and generally happier. He’s a nicer guy to be around. He was never a bad guy to be around but he always had some scattered-brained issues going on (laughter).

Has his response to coaching impacted your confidence in the company, the direction it’s going, and your security within the company?
Adam: I’ve noticed how his attitude has changed about who he is and towards the guys, absolutely. He started valuing the guys’ input towards the company and making suggestions. Before, he might have just sluffed it off. He also doesn’t want the guys working late now, like to five or six o’clock. He wants them home with their families. His attitude towards safety has grown, big time too.

Jake: Yeah, he’s completely changed on that. Our safety is on-point, absolutely on-point. That alone makes you feel more confident, that someone actually cares about you. We’ve now got health benefits. That’s a huge thing! I don’t know of any roofing company, not around here anyway, that has health benefits. Six months in and you’ve got health benefits!

You both have supervisory roles. How do the guys on the work sites feel?
Jake: Everybody is happy to work here. It’s a good place to work. I wouldn’t have stayed for eight years if it wasn’t. I have a Corrections Diploma, so I could be a corrections officer if I wanted, but I’m happy here. With new hires, Brian’s actually gone to the guys themselves and asked them, “Do you know someone? Are they a good worker? Bring them in for an interview.” That’s how most of our new hires who have stayed were found. It’s been really successful.

Adam:  Seventy per cent of the employees here knew each other before they started. Two of them are my family members. If employees recommend their own firm as a good place to work, that’s the best thing.

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