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Tue 14 Apr 2015 04:19 PM

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The benefits of a performance coach

Carolyn Coe explains how you and your business could benefit from a performance coach

The benefits of a performance coach

Growing a business these days is more demanding than ever. Maintaining the personal power to impact others, create results and balance your own energy and sanity is a fine art.

When we enter a key event with the wrong mind-set, we lose all our power. When we come unprepared, fatigued or lacking in mental clarity we don’t have the power to make an impact.

Developing the leadership skills for today’s business market is a science – a fine blend of energy, application, power and resilience.

Everyone is looking to get more done in less time. The desire to have more clarity and perform at a higher level and to create more impact and team effectiveness is relentless.  That constant drive for excellence is closely followed by a ton of pressure. That pressure mounts and sooner or later lack of sleep, stress, lack of time, the frustration of going round in circles and the social life trade off starts to take its toll. (And hey, let’s not mention that expanding waistline and a deepening set of wrinkles on your brow).

What happened to the heady dream of being a successful leader, business owner and entrepreneur?

How can you continue to raise the stakes and improve your game all day, every day? What is the key to building your team and optimising your performance? Where does the energy come from to grow your business year on year? As you observe those successful people, the ones who seem to be making it all look easy… what’s their secret? If only you knew.

Well here it is. Their secret is coaching.

Specific, measured and provoking; coaching is fast becoming the in-thing for creating sustainable and consistent high performance.

Gone are the days of dusting off the annual personal development plan just before appraisal time. Complacency and mediocrity has no place in today’s business world. Performance has to be constant and immediate. Coaching provides that reflection and personal insight in real time. Coaching is about creating change inwardly, and placing the accountability for growth and learning up front and centre.

A coach will help you to fine tune your thinking, challenge your beliefs and reframe your perspectives - but make no mistake, the road can be gritty. Coaching is not fluffy and it isn’t counselling!

Leaders who adopt a coaching for performance mind-set build in a plan to improve the way they manage themselves and their people every day. They develop skills and confidence to continually nurture their capability and the commitment of their team.

It’s a constant state of engagement and growth, back-benching the formal interventions such as PDPs, 360s and appraisals as the milestones in a process rather than the process itself. Coaching moves an organisation away from the traditional competitive culture of “assess and appraise performance” to an empowered culture of “engage and develop.”

Recent research by Deloitte found that: “Organisations, regardless of size, with strong senior leader and cultural support of coaching have superior results. For example, organisations where senior leaders “very frequently” were coached had 21 percent higher business results. Further, organisations with “excellent” cultural support for coaching had 13 percent stronger business results and 39 percent stronger employee results.”

So how does coaching work, what benefits will you experience and how can you effectively implement a framework of coaching into your own business?

Firstly, you have to be ready and willing to be coached. Putting yourself back in the learning seat is unfamiliar territory for many. The coaching process involves participation and inevitable change. Change can be scary and all sorts of fears are common: fear of the unknown, of vulnerability, of exposure, of feedback, of growth itself.

It’s often easy in the short term to hide behind one’s pride and hope that growth will come through time and effort. However no leader ever became great by shielding themselves from the truth and committing themselves to becoming the change.

Second. If you don’t measure then you don’t know.

At Skyrocket, we take a detailed history and complete a pre-assessment to understand and highlight where performance can be improved before our coaching programmes begin. Coaching is non-judgemental and is always impartial, the pre-assessment is used to measure the growth, results and effectiveness of the coaching programme – not the person.

Third stage is that senior leaders are involved with the roll out. The boss must be part of the process.

In our experience, the most effective coaching programmes are rolled out at top level and then cascade throughout the team. This approach differs from traditional learning and development models where training is mostly to induct the less experienced team members or specifically up-skill a particular department. Coaching leads from the front and paves the way for others to follow.

Skyrocket coaching programmes can be conducted in various ways to suit time, budget and team dynamics. Workshops, small groups, personal one to one sessions and even online or telephone coaching are all common. Involving stakeholders such as ‘feed-back buddies’ and ‘accountability partners’ are all part of the process and contribute to overall personal and organisational betterment.

The coaching process is spread out over a period of time and culminates with a round-up of results and growth measurements taken from the coach, coachee and the involved stakeholders.

Results are evident in a marked escalation in productivity, confidence, positive attitude, resilience and personal effectiveness, likeability and relationships, career advancement and leadership and influence.

Carolyn Coe, CEO and business director of OP Integrated Lifestyle and Skyrocket, explains how you and your business could benefit from a performance coach.

Liam Dunn 4 years ago

Hi Carolyn

Excellent article. Was thinking of my own job as I was reading, the key is definitely senior management engagement as you note. So back to Glasgow for a chat with my senior manager.

All the best Liam

Evelyn Mitchell 4 years ago

Very interesting Carolyn , as usual your professionalism , knowledge and enthusiasm shine through