Performance Coaching: Transform Your Business With The Power of Feedback
There are always times when people need a helping hand to perform at their best. Few and far between are they who can continue relentlessly, always top of their game.
If you, as an employer, have noticed a drop in productivity from your employees, or if you’re lacking direction and don’t know which way to take your business, you could be in need of a Performance Coach.
These specialized mentors can help you develop a useful, actionable plan to cover every aspect of your work, ensuring everyone in your company can reach their full potential as soon as possible.
Let’s have a look at who and what they are, and how they can help you.
What Are Performance Coaches?
Performance coaches aren’t just for athletes. They can also help businesses thrive by identifying various pain-points within a company, and providing group or one-on-one consultations to work through them.
In many ways, they do work similarly to sports performance coaches, helping people to take their work ethic and performance to the next level. In both instances, the key is to focus on efficiency, so that you’re getting the best returns for the least amount of stress and needless effort. Work doesn’t have to be (and ideally shouldn’t be) a chore; a good coaching program will help achieve this.
In a meeting with a coach, you can expect to look at:
- Your values, and how they can better align with those of the company
- What motivates you
- You current working style and how you manage a task
- How good your decision making skills are – or, for more managerial roles, how you delegate tasks
- How to practice good time management
A good amount of psychology goes into coaching, since you’re looking at the psyche of a company’s workforce. High-performance coaches are those who specialize in this area, and can help consult on tough decisions or offer constructive feedback on how to perfect your work strategy moving forward.
Different Performance Coaching Models
Depending on who you are or what your business does, you may find yourself needing a more specialized coach. For example, entrepreneurs often seek advice from performance coaches if they are uncertain about which steps to take. Or an employer could bring in a coach if they are going through a merger and need help with integrating teams.
Let’s have a look at some of the coaching models you are likely to see.
Leadership Coaching (Executive Coaching)
Without a strong leader, it can be easy for a business to crumble. A leadership coach can help provide the strategies necessary to keep any boss at the top of their game. For high-ranking positions, someone with executive coach certification would be required, as they would have better competency when it comes to dealing with more intense positions in business.
These specialized coaches ensure that the work they do with a leader will have a positive impact on the employees who work under or alongside them. For leaders who have recently stepped into a role, or may have lost direction, coaching can put them back on the right track.
This helps facilitate a more positive environment, as leaders become role models for their employees. In doing so, it is easier to create a Most Loved Workplace®, bolstered on principles of mutual respect and appreciation.
A large part of leadership coaching is the development of better self-awareness. It can be easy to get lost at the top, stuck in a bubble or echo chamber. Specialists can provide coaching skills and advice that make it easier for executives to either engage better with others and become open to new ideas. Or, conversely, to eliminate areas of self doubt and help alleviate imposter syndrome or perfectionist tendencies which may be damaging a company.
Personal Development Coaching (Life Coaching)
Life coaching is relevant for any professional, at any level in a business. These sessions help to build skills that are important outside of work, and develop a roadmap for the employee or individual that they can continue even after the coaching has stopped.
The coaching process for personal development shouldn’t be confused with therapy. Whilst the process can be therapeutic, in the sense that you can talk to someone and get things off your chest, these coaches are ultimately there to help your professional life by eliminating issues in your personal life.
When people are forced to work together on a task, there is always the possibility for pain-points to arise. This could be due to:
Previous disputes or burnout
A person’s character (if they prefer to work alone and may resent being put into a team)
Individuals vying for control
No previous experience working in a team
A merger of two teams leading to reassignment of roles
No previous experience in the industry
A team facilitator looks at where these issues could present themselves, and works to put measures in place to prevent it.
This can be through addressing the interpersonal relationships between team members, making sure everyone can work together smoothly. Or it can be through assistance delegating roles and setting metrics such as KPIs to ensure targets are met on time. This also means that once the coaching is complete, you can continue to analyze your team to see if their training was effective.
In these situations, communication and clarity is key. Without these principles in place, things can fall into disarray. Fair delegation of tasks and an equal playing field for everyone in the team means that no one is unhappy with their lot. Additionally, team coaches can help address potential DEIB issues, making a team more inclusive, open, and welcoming environment to work in.
Employee Performance Coaches
Perhaps an employee is new to an industry – a recent graduate, for example. Employee performance coaches can do one-on-one to work on a person’s professional development, and get them to where they need to be so that they achieve the best results possible.
Then, once the training program side of things is completed, a coach can help push an employee and help challenge them. This allows them to build their problem-solving skills gradually, until they are at a point where they can tackle any task set to them without help or supervision.
Mental Performance Coaches
Working can be a mentally exhausting action. Burnout is a major issue in the work environment, which can seriously impact your health. Learning how to take care of your mental health is essential.
Mental performance coaches are there to teach you the necessary skills for staying on top of stress. Often, these come in the form of mental health webinars. Most of the time, these aren’t as helpful as HR would like to believe, and just detract precious time away from completing an assignment.
However, in-person, one-on-one mental coaching can have an enormous benefit, no matter where you are on the corporate ladder. You can:
Improve your confidence
Work on time management
Increase your motivation
Better understand how your brain works, and what peak performance looks like for you
It’s important to remember that every person’s “best work performance” is different, so setting individual performance goals will provide a company with more realistic results.
Various Styles of Performance Coaching
In the same way that there are different styles of leadership, there are also different styles of performance coaching. The preferred coaching model will have to fit the structure of your business and company culture. For example, a clan culture may be more suited to a democratic style of performance coaching, operating with a goal of better team performance.
In a democratic coaching environment, the goals are set by everyone as a team, and everyone has a voice. Decisions are made democratically (hence the name) and groups are provided with more autonomy and free-will to complete a task.
A democratic style works well when it comes to smaller groups of people, particularly when they need to complete quite a complex task where an easy solution isn’t immediately apparent. This is often one of the more time-intensive methods because of how much collaboration and discussion may be required in the planning stage of completing a task.
A holistic approach takes into account every aspect of the workplace and how each piece overlaps. You can expect to see an analysis of:
Studying all of these elements in conjunction with one another, coaches can build a larger picture of where the main stressors are and where pain-points could develop. This means they can provide more well-rounded advice on how to alleviate these issues before they progress.
Holistic methods work well when it comes to discussions of personal development coaching. As much as we may want to keep our work-life balance clearly defined, there will inevitably be points where the two intersect. Through coaching, employees can help set boundaries and improve their mental wellbeing.
In a visionary environment, a goal is already set by a coach (or via coach-manager collaboration). Coaches will then guide individuals or teams to reach that goal as effectively as possible. This provides a lot of opportunities for reflection and reevaluation of methodologies, which can be very useful in getting rid of unnecessary steps or obstacles.
For example, if a workforce’s performance had decreased in some way, the vision coaching model would first let a coach see how people performed normally, and then feedback would be provided with suggestions on how to streamline the process. This method also takes the time to listen to employees and see where they think obstacles occur, and help provide suggestions on how to overcome them.
This method turns the principles of democratic and vision coaching on their heads. Here, coaches have complete control, and a strict method that employees are expected to follow to reach a desired result.
As with an authoritarian style of leadership, little to no input is accepted from employees. A goal is set, and employees are presented with one method of getting there. This method does not take into account individual differences such as personal strengths and weaknesses. It is often used for coordinating larger workforces where there is only one way to complete a task, regardless of its complexity.
Pros and Cons of Performance Coaching
Like everything in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to performance coaching. In general, it’s expected that the pros of coaching outweigh the cons, but each business operates differently.
Incorporating this method of performance development might not be for you, but if you’re stumped on how to improve, it’s certainly worth a look.
An overall improvement of communication skills.
Goals can change over time, meaning certain styles of coaching won’t be as effective.
Can help you develop a better leadership style.
Not everyone is receptive and responsive to performance coaching.
Provides opportunities for developing new skills or honing existing ones.
Benefits aren’t immediately apparent, and some people may lose motivation over time.
Offers valuable third-party insight into the workings of a company. An external perspective provides new ideas and can help identify problems you may not be aware of.
Hiring a certified coach for a prolonged period of time is expensive.
Provides tailored advice. Whilst methodologies may carry over, coaching experts can alter the templates they use to suit the needs of individual businesses.
Decreases productivity in the short-term. Coaching takes you and your employees away from work, so you’re likely to see an initial dip in performance.
It can be hard to know when to ask for help. But by listening to your human resources department and engaging with your employees, you can begin to paint a better picture of how you could improve.
Performance coaches are there to boost your business to greater heights. If you feel as though your leadership skills could use some work, or you’re not connecting with your employees in an impactful way, bring in a fresh pair of eyes. These coaches are certified with the express purpose of helping you.
Are you a business leader in need of some assistance? Or perhaps you’re interested in performance coach jobs? Check out Louis Carter’s Executive Coaching to find out more, and become the best you can be.
Louis Carter is the founder and CEO of Best Practice Institute, Most Loved Workplace, and Results-Based Culture. Author of In Great Company, Change Champions Field Guide, and Best Practices in Talent Management, as well as a series of Leadership Development books. He is a trusted strategic advisor and coach to CEOs, CHROs, and leaders of mid-sized to F500 companies – enabling change and steering employer brand development together with highly effective teams, leaders, and organizations as a whole.