If “performance coach” conjures an image of a tobacco-chewing man standing on the sidelines with a baseball cap and a whistle, that’s deliberate. Performance coaching applies the coaching skills of professional sports to the business world. We executive performance coaches may not use a whistle — or chew tobacco — but we are just as focused on whipping clients into peak competitive shape as any sports coach.
While athletes of all stripes have used performance coaches for many years, business leaders have only recently discovered our value. But, like many innovations in business, once people realized coaching for performance could deliver a competitive advantage, it spread like wildfire. High performance coaching is even starting to show up in pop culture — just look at the character of Wendy Rhoades on Showtime’s “Billions.”
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Chances are you’ve been hearing the term more and more. If you’re wondering what effective performance coaching can do for you and your business, we have answers.
What is performance coaching?
To define performance coaching, first think about what it looks like when we’re performing at our best. Usually it’s a combination of three factors.
- Natural ability. Some of us are born with a gift, and there’s not much we can do to change our innate abilities.
- Training and practice. Think of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours rule. Peak performance requires a high level of skill that can only be achieved through many hours of practice under the guidance of experts.
- Mental focus and toughness. Peak performance requires cognitive and emotional strength and resilience. Even high performers sometimes fail to achieve or sustain optimal results because they sabotage themselves with destructive psychological habits.
This last one is where we come in. We teach people to master their own minds. We provide the coaching and development to help people kick counterproductive mental habits and build positive thought patterns. This is our performance coaching definition — training the brain not to get in the way of results.
What does the process of performance coaching look like?
The performance coaching process works much like any good training — it adapts to fit your needs. The best practice in performance coaching is to deliver the skills and techniques that will help any one particular client succeed. Performance coaching incorporates many methods, so we can always find one that will work best for you.
Our performance coaching model focuses on five key skills:
- Relaxation. Unnecessary tension and anxiety interfere with peak performance. The right performance coaching tools will aid in relaxation. We use structured muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditative techniques, and other practices so your mind will focus on success instead of worry.
- Self-talk. With effective coaching techniques such as thought-stopping, positive affirmations, and reframing, we help you counter the negative effects of destructive, self-defeating thought patterns.
- Imagery. Visualization is a powerful tool for focus and mastery. The right performance coaching tips turn your imagination into a means of acquiring skills, preparing mentally, correcting past mistakes, and other goals.
- Goal Setting. Performance coaching helps you focus on what you need to do right now, rather than aiming only for more distant outcomes.
- Concentration. We use performance coaching techniques to eliminate distractions so you can focus both your thoughts and your physical effort on that which is most essential.
Coaching to improve performance starts by identifying what’s hanging you up. Once we know which areas need to be built up, we can select the techniques best-suited to you.
How can coaching improve job performance?
There are endless breakthrough performance coaching examples, but here’s one that’s very personal. A few years ago, I was invited to pitch for a consulting project that fit my skills perfectly. I was thrilled, but I knew that over the past few months, I had gone out for several similar projects and had lost every single one. There was plenty of proof for my consulting skills, but in the pitches I was clearly getting in my own way somehow. So I hired a performance coach to help me dissect what I was doing wrong.
Within a few hours, my performance coach helped me to reframe what my task was in a pitch meeting. That subtle shift in my outlook changed the way I interacted with prospective clients. I won that project, and I have had many successful pitches since.
Is a performance coach right for me?
Even the most elite athletes meet regularly with their trainers for a tune-up. A performance coach is proof you’re ferociously committed to being the best you can be. If you know you can achieve more and you’re willing to do the work, you’re ready for a performance coach.
To learn more, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org