The Performance Coach

by Barbara Fagan

What is a Performance Coach?
What is the difference between a “Life Coach” and a “Performance Coach?” I am asked this question many times as people interview me on the possibility of becoming a professional coach.

Years ago, as a pioneer in the field of coaching, developing what would eventually become a recognized profession, I would go out to various businesses to educate them on the value of coaching. I had spent 20 years in the corporate arena, attended many graduate-level courses through the years and worked with some of the top business educators. What I have seen is consultants who worked with my organization and others, with years of experience, offered great advice, reviewed our practices and procedures and introduced various new programs. My favorite was Managing By Objectives, introduced at that time by a leader of consultants — Lou Tice. Then of course we were introduced to Quality Time Management to improve initiative. Each one had some type of formula attached to it.

In the mid-80s, I began to wonder what it might look like if I worked with organizations and had questions for them, instead of answers. Of course I did my homework to understand their business model and gained experience in all facets of their business. But when it came to giving advice, I found a way to illuminate what I was seeing in their organization or in the communication within their organization. Together, we began to ask questions like: what if, how come, if this then what about that? As coach, I began what is now termed “co-creation.” From this, I saw that most of my clients looked to me to assist them to increase their performance, effectiveness and bottom line results. So I saw myself as a Performance Coach. This is the designation that I give to all coaches that I train and certify today. It is given as a result of 150 hours of coaching core competency training and demonstrating these skills working with a client around real goal achievement.

My belief as a coach after years of working with clients is that people will stretch themselves, take risks and get out on the “skinny limb,” when they feel that they are clear about what they want. Coaches are there not to direct or tell, but to illuminate so that their clients know what they are going for.

When a client invests time and energy in coaching sessions like any other business endeavor, they are looking for some return on their investment. This must be laid out in a way that can be quantifiable, so that when they achieve it, both coach and client can celebrate – “We did it!”

Performance Coaches Believe 100% is Possible
Performance Coaches are trained to listen deeply – never letting vague or non-specific communication slide by. Clarity is important for both the coach and client. Working with the client, using deep listening skills, Performance Coaches see or hear opportunities to intervene and challenge set beliefs, as well as explore new ways to approach a goal or overcome a barrier. When they challenge and intervene with their clients, it is not to be harsh or unreasonable. It demonstrates their commitment and belief that 100% is possible with 100% accountability and ownership for all that their clients create.

Performance Coaches work to understand their clients’ world view, so that they can meet them where they are – versus having their own agenda of where their client is suppose to be. When I understand exactly where my client is, I can then begin to explore with them how to raise the bar and create new levels of achievement.

Source Point Training is committed to developing Performance Coaches who stand head and shoulders above the rest and are seen as leaders in the industry of coaching. As a Performance Coach, my goal is to always raise the bar for coaching and by doing this, leave a legacy of superior Performance Coaches to contribute to other’s visions and dreams.

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