Getting the best Performance Coaching

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.

Success childTo 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.

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.

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Want a brighter future?

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? A-Brighter-Future1-300x240

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.