How do you maximise the chances of success when using Performance Coaching to improve bottom-line results? Studies have shown that progressive people management practices lead to significantly improved business results. How can you get payback in these troubled times? What can you do to find out whether Performance Coaching works for you, without risking much? Whilst there are few guarantees in life, these tips will help you.
To increase your chances of success, select a qualified Performance Coach. A bit of online research can pay big dividends. Professional coaches are trained and are often members of Trade Associations for Coaches. You should be aware that there is no agreed standard for coaches to reach to be a member of an Association; the Associations each have very different rules. Coach training is very important, as is commitment to Continuous Personal Development (CPD).
You could ask people you know who have had experience of Performance Coaching for recommendations, but do be aware that past performance is not always a predictor of future success. Trained Performance Coaches have a wide range of tools and techniques that they know how to use, and have been trained in when and why to use them. Other coaches may only have one process that they use in all situations. The analogy is if you only have a hammer, everything looks like nails. The recommendation of someone you know could have been because a “hammer” was what was needed. If a Performance Coach has a full toolbox, and has been trained to use the contents, they can work in a variety of situations. That is why training and qualifications, and CPD, are crucial
While researching, think very carefully about what you want to achieve by engaging a Performance Coach. Is it something you want to achieve personally, or is it a goal for the business you need help with? Performance coaching is unlocking the potential of people to maximise their own performance – is it your potential you want to unlock or the potential of others? Do you need a Performance Coach that can work with teams of people, or just in one-to-one situations? Team coaching is different from individual coaching, requiring knowledge of team dynamics and team roles to be successful. Be as clear as you can be about what you want to achieve – later, a good Performance Coach will help you to better define your goals.
With a good idea of what you want to achieve, and some potentials that you haven’t yet contacted, now is the time to limit your exposure – call them to find out more. Use the conversation to get some information on why the coach does what they do – are their motivations similar to yours? Do they have experience of working with many different people? Don’t be afraid to ask if you can have a “taster session” in order to find out if you can work well together. Good coaches recognise that the relationship between the coach and the person being coached is fundamental, and also recognise that sometimes the “chemistry” is just not right. Good Performance Coaches will be just as keen as you are to see if you can work successfully together, and really good ones will demonstrate their value in any initial call. One other “test” – ask them if they are coached and by whom. If Performance Coaching is so good they will surely be coached, won’t they? If they are not coached, how serious are they?
When first “meeting” (this could possibly be in a skype session), discuss with the Performance Coach what you want to achieve. It is important that you use this time to discuss and agree a “coaching contract”, essentially a personal agreement between the coach and the person, or team, being coached. The essence of this agreement is that both parties will do certain things that are intended to result in the sustained or enhanced performance of the person / team being coached (and possibly of the coach as well). Ask the coach again about their past and future training, how they define coaching, how they coach, and why they do it. If you are getting a good feeling about the person, then see how you get on – remembering that coaching needs your input to be effective. If you’re not having a good experience, try another coach, having only spent a little of your precious time. I wish you good luck and much success.