Distinctions between “life coaching” and “performance coaching”

With the passing of Dr. Stephen Covey, one of my first mentors when I started coaching in the late 80’s, I began to reflect on this model of Performance Coaching I have practiced for 25 years now and trained and certified performance coaches for the last 12 years.

Many people ask me about Life Coaching and what the difference is from our designation at Source Point Training of Certified Professional Performance Coaches (CPPC). When studying with people like Dr. Covey, Larry Wilson, Lou Tice and the works of Peter Druker, I observe similarities in each of their philosophies in one key area – objective results.  I have always felt that “Life Coaching” was a bit arrogant in that who am I to coach you on your “life”?  Rather, the question for me is “how can I align with you (my client) on certain outcomes that you want to achieve in specific areas of your life?” That is why the most effective coaches coach in particular areas of expertise. Mine has been business, Structure for Performance Coachingprimarily, through the years and also a good deal of work with family systems. My belief is that when you are coaching people to performance and specific outcomes, you focus on actions and behavior with a high level of accountability to look at all outcomes for the purpose of determining what is working and what is not working. This eliminates a high need to FEEL motivated or inspired by someone outside of you.

When watching the Olympics in London and observing how each person confronts their results minute by minute, event by event, we saw coaches working with champions, continuing to confront results, determining changes needed and then took action. This is the model for performance coaching.

At Source Point Training, we teach our coaches the ground of being performance coaches which is ontological. This means that as we are coaching on particular outcomes, we are also seeing all the interdependences and what will change as a result of achieving a desired outcome. To be effective, we do not live a life in a set of compartments. Due to the way that our world is changing, we see this more and more – the cross over between work and play, family, friends and business associates. In his book The World Is Flat – A Brief History of the 21st Century, Thomas Freidman describes our world as the realization of what it means to become a global society. His words have been played out in the last decade in ways that have us stop and take notice.

What this mean as Professional Performance Coaches is in order to serve our client, we must stay very present, current and observant of what is occurring in the world around us. Performance Coaches work with their clients to explore their World View. This is not a physical or philosophical process, but one that can be broken down in the following way:

What are the immediate circumstances facing your client

What are their near term objectives – needs and desires stated objectively

What is their vision and sense of possibility for their future?

What are their core values and beliefs? These are shaped by life experience

What is their current frame of mind, attitudes, frame of reference, emotions that affects their openness to be coached?

What is their background – education, social influences, culture – that will drive beliefs and choices and actions?

Performance Coaches are always coaching to desired outcomes as set by the client. We are always working with clients to understand their world view or how it will change as they take on new levels of self-awareness and practices that bring about change.

As Performance Coaches versus Life Coaches, we hold our client’s agenda, recognize all results and respect their choices. We focus on forward movement and attitudes that support risk taking and moving out of what is familiar and predictable, “the way that it is” to “what can be”.

In coaching performance, we hold our clients as infinitely resourceful and capable at all times. Unlike a counseling or therapeutic relationship, we focus forward versus the history that got us to where we are. The language of Performance Coaching is powerful in that we use metaphors to look at where we are and where we are going as powerful coaching tools to engage clients in holding a new perspective or image of themselves.

When hearing of a difficult situation from my client, as a Performance Coach, I am more apt to say “So what, NOW what?” from a place of real inquiry. Many people would like to play the “waiting game” or “let’s be doubtful” because they want certainty in uncertain times – however, nothing will change unless you are willing to get uncomfortable and stretch yourself by taking on new skills, attitudes and behaviors – AND this is where the performance bar will always get raised by a Professional Performance Coach.

When the International Coach Federation (ICF) took on the role of becoming the governing body for professional coaches globally – they defined
the core competencies of coaching as:

Setting the FoundationICF Logo

Meeting ethical guidelines and professional standards
Establishing the Coaching Agreement

Co-creating the Relationship

Establishing Trust and Intimacy with the client
Coaching Presence
Communicating Effectively

Active – Listening

Powerful questioning
Direct Communication
Facilitating Learning and Result

Creating Awareness

Designing Actions
Planning and goal setting
Managing Progress and Accountability

These skills are taught and practiced in many ways around the world. To be recognized by the ICF as a credentialed coach, you must be able to demonstrate these 11 core competencies. You can look on-line and see that there are many trainings that teach these skills – some trainings can be a week long and others, like ours, are a 9-month learning and application process to demonstrate competency. Competency takes practice and experience, which is obvious in any profession. That is why it is unreasonable to expect to learn how to coach from a program that is a week or even one month.

In order to apply for the first level of credentialing with ICF, the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) Credential, you must complete 60 CCEs (Continuing Coaching Education) with a training organization recognized by ICF.  You then complete a Portfolio Application that also includes at least 100 hours of coaching with a minimum of 75 hours paid coaching. This raises the skills and level of professionalism that ICF is committed to and acknowledges as the minimum necessary for a professional coach to be prepared to best serve his/her clients.

Source Point Training is proud of offer a total of 140.5 CCEs upon completion of our Fundamentals and Mastery of Performance Coaching.  This number of credits allows our graduate to have the necessary CCEs for both the ACC and PCC (Professional Certified Coach) credentialing levels with ICF.

What are your views on the distinctions between “life coaching” and “performance coaching”, please post your thoughts and ideas, we’d love to hear from you!

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By Barbara Fagan
Co-Founder & President, Source Point Training

Leading with Purpose and Managing Priorities

With today’s 24/7 demands, our attention is divided and we’re forced to focus on things that may not necessarily be what’s important.

Control is one of our greatest illusions. Let’s face it, even with all the information available, unexpected events often interfere with our plans and our best efforts to control an outcome or an event, and even ourselves. And what happens to us, to those around us, and to the teams and organizations we lead when things get disrupted?

Multi tasking in every directionFor many of us, it depends on the day. There are times when we run into an obstacle and see it as an opportunity for creativity; a challenge that excites us. Then there are times when an obstacle throws us off balance, creates confusion and stress, and shows up in our actions. These reactions are often not productive, and it depends on our ability, on that day, in that moment, to regain focus quickly so we can respond with purpose and creativity.

Great news! It’s possible to cultivate this capacity and train ourselves in the same way we would train our body to be stronger, more flexible and fit. And, for this training to be the most effective, do it in the context of strengthening and expanding our capacity to lead with purpose.

Leadership Source training and coaching provides the ability to be purposeful and present, in all areas of our lives each day. The results we consistently see have been both in what people already recognize about their lives, and in new awareness and personal practices developed in a short period of time that is extraordinary.

We coach people to lessen the time that they live on auto-pilot and reaction and to use their time more effectively by being focused on their purpose and desired outcomes, learning to adapt responsibly.  Participants learn that stopping and making the effort to be purposeful improves their capacity to be at their best and enhance their productivity and clarity. They stop being on auto-pilot norms
that had become engrained as they juggle demands.

What’s needed now, more than ever, is the ability to cultivate our capacity to be present, to experience life and people exactly as it unfolds, and to tap into this potential gift of leadership presence with clarity, compassion and joy.  Learn to remove distractions, or significantly lessen them, so that there is more room for the spaciousness and clarity to respond with purpose, flexibility, calm and
creativity when the unexpected occurs.

As we work with our clients in their own leadership purpose, they rediscover the passion that first brought them to their chosen profession or to their leadership aspirations. Time and again, people are able to answer the call to be of service to their teams, to be compassionate leaders, to push the boundaries of knowledge, and meet the challenge to be creative and passionate about their unique contribution.

Share with us what cultivates your presence to support experiencing people and events with an open clarity, compassion and focus!

Cultivate your capacity and master your Leadership skills at Source Point Trainings for an amazing tomorrow!

By Kelly Mobeck

If Your Life is an Advertisement, What Are You an Advertisement For?

Reflections on Oprah Winfrey’s “Last Show”

Many of us watched in amazement, wonder, and sadness as Oprah Winfrey, an icon of being in service to others, consciousness, and living your best life, conducted her final show after 25 years last week. Her messages were funny, poignant, and powerful as she summed up both her 25 years as this nation’s premier talk show host and as one of our most profound teachers.

Discover your purposeOprah challenged us to really own that life is always speaking to us and to listen for what it is saying. We are all put here to find our own ‘spark’ – what lights us up – and to share it so that we can illuminate the world. Each of us has a platform – hers was on a stage reaching millions with her message of self-love, forgiveness, and taking responsibility for your life and finding your joy.  The ultimate message was clear: Each of us has a calling, and an opportunity to make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others. The work to be done is to get clear – if we are a walking advertisement – what are we advertising? What experiences are we creating for ourselves and others to live their truth, their authenticity, their passion and who they can be for others?

My belief is that Oprah is right – when we find our place in being in service to our own lives, we are inspired to share that message with others. “There’s a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing that you are worthy of being happy. Your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough.” When you consider your life – is this what you are communicating through your energy, your words, and your commitment to yourself and to others? If not, what would it take to connect with that and be about it today?

Oprah said each of us has a platform – hers was a sound stage – but you have one too with your own reach to impact the lives of others. Are you a walking advertisement for what you say is truly important as Oprah is and was over the years? What would it take for you to realize your true impact?

  1. Find your passion – what lights you up – and then take action to incorporate that into your life in a powerful way every day.
  2. Realize your importance and power – you have the ability and the call to make a difference in the lives of anyone, everyone you meet – what is the impact you want to make?
  3. Take action to be the walking advertisement of what is possible – take risks, let your purpose guide you – be willing to be messy and ‘ugly cry’ as Oprah did as well as inspire others with your life.
  4. Ask others to join you in this quest – people sometimes are just waiting for the validation an invitation generates – that you see such possibility in them and challenge them to take ownership in living their dreams now.

Who have you taken a stand for lately? Who have you invited to step into their best life – either by working with a coach through Leadership Source or inviting them to step in to become your peer and colleague by taking on professional coach’s training? What stops you from being the model for always reaching out to generate possibility for others?

My challenge to each of you is get clear what you are advertising, decide if that is what you really want to communicate, and make a choice today that honors who you are willing to be for others? Invite someone today to begin their journey of creating their best life now by joining us for Leadership Source or Fundamentals of Performance Coaching and Mastery of Performance Coaching. If not now, when?

By Tommy Ruff, Director – The Source Institute