Coaching, in the words of former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney, is "taking a player where he can't take himself."
Sadly, many F&I managers today are playing the game without a coach.
Millennial professionals are entering the work force with fewer experienced coaches in the dealership than the generation that preceded them, according to Tony Troussov, owner of Minneapolis F&I training company Mezen Dealer Services.
Troussov says that's because members of his age cohort, Generation X, are vastly outnumbered by the younger workers entering dealership employment.
When his generation, those born from 1965 to 1980, went to work around 1994, the preceding generation of baby boomers was the largest group in the U.S. labor force, according to the Pew Research Center.
In 2017, millennials, born from 1981 to 1996, outnumbered the generation preceding them in the workplace by several million.
"Think about how many baby boomers have retired from the automotive world. A lot of that knowledge has not been transferred from one generation to another," Troussov said. "There is this knowledge gap with the younger, less experienced folks entering the business."
Lacking experience in the store means many newcomers may miss out on certain skill sets that developed before recent technology took root. Many F&I managers at dealerships today have never had to fax credit applications to lenders or call to check on an application.
In some ways, the technology expedites the process, but young managers lose an element of relationship building that occurred naturally using lower-tech tools in the F&I office.
"Many of them are not calling in and rehashing deals with the lender because that was never their experience," Troussov said.
The generational gap in the auto retail industry leaves space for F&I training companies and consultants to pitch their services to dealers. Car dealers should keep an eye on the up-and-coming F&I professionals in their stores, and make sure they have support from older colleagues and plenty of training.