These days, you can get a Coach for almost every aspect of your life. You can have an Executive Coach, a Life Coach, or a Financial and Wealth Coach. You can seek out a Career Coach, Conflict Coach, or Sports Coach to help you. Then there are Educational Coaches, Style and Image Coaches and even Dating Coaches. So what is a “Performance Coach”? Should you have one? How do you decide? What would be the impact on your business results? Is it an investment worth considering in these tough times?
Performance Coaching is the use of coaching in the business context, focused on the bottom-line impact. It is about Performance, Learning and Enjoyment. As we talk to other business people, we hear about coaching being used by organisations for a range of explicit or implied reasons. It may be that a company is down-sizing and uses Coaches to help their employees get through a potential or actual redundancy process. Perhaps a poorly-performing individual or team is offered a Coach to improve their performance, or a “high-flier” works with a Coach to help them to fly higher more quickly. Maybe the CEO employs a Coach to help him or her work through the strategic options for the business, possibly to act as a sounding board.
Performance Coaching is unlocking the potential of people to maximise their own performance. It is more about the person being coached, about enabling them to achieve more, with more confidence and creativity, and with more self-direction. The key is that Performance Coaching is about the future potential of the coachee, not the past or present performance. A good Performance Coach will use a range of tools and techniques to help those being coached to develop more awareness, responsibility and self-belief.
Coaching has evolved over time and is still evolving. The origins can be traced back to several sources: sports coaching and sports psychology, psychology, sociology, therapeutic and counselling disciplines, organisation development and management theory. Each of the sources has influenced the development of certain tools, models and perspectives that can be used by a Performance Coach to address specific challenges and to devise innovative ways of helping those they coach to develop more awareness, responsibility and self-belief.
A recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) reported that over 80% of organisations using coaching used line managers as the coaches, and over 60% used external coaches. When asked about the effectiveness of this coaching, over 80% reported line manager coaching as “effective” or “very effective”, while more than 90% judged external coaching to be effective using the same criteria. Coaching by line managers is widespread, but external coaching is being proved to be more effective.
Research shows that good Performance Coaching gives people feedback on both their strengths and weaknesses, supports changes in attitudes and behaviour that can lead to more effective performance, and enables them to refocus and take a critical look at their approaches and style at work. It helps to promote individual self-awareness and self-direction, helping people to identify barriers that are preventing them from being more effective in their jobs. Importantly, it helps people commit to new performance goals and creates individual responsibility for performance and development.
There are many studies showing the progressive people management practices lead to significantly improved bottom-line business results. In the next blog on this topic I will take you through little-used ways that maximise your success when using Performance Coaching.