High-Performance Coaching

High-performance coaches work with individuals in personal and professional contexts to enable them to reach their full potential. While these sorts of coaches are commonly associated with sports, it should be noted that the act of coaching is a specific type of behavior that is also useful in business and leadership

Understanding high-performance coaching

High-performance coaching involves helping people reach their full potential in any aspect of their personal or professional lives. 

In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Wagstaff, Arthur, and Hardy defined high-performance coaching as:

a systematic application of collaborative, individualized, solution-focused psychological practices by leaders to enhance individual, group, or organizational performance.

At the individual level, high-performance coaches help clients better regulate and direct their resources toward achieving goals.

They also help them to maximize their unique strengths via self-directed learning.

High-performance coaches also possess the following characteristics:

  • Observation and performance analysis.
  • The ability to ask effective questions, and
  • The ability to provide both developmental and motivational feedback.

More characteristics of high-performance coaches

High-performance coaches help them determine what they want to do in life, set goals, and then achieve them regardless of whether the client is an athlete, entrepreneur, or executive.

In fact, many turn to these professionals because they were never taught how to do so themselves.

Here are a few more characteristics of high-performance coaches:

They provide crucial support

High-performance coaches support clients to give them the confidence to take risks and pursue dreams they once thought impossible.

Coaches can also see through excuses and will push the client to succeed.

They provide important advice

High-performance coaches realize that we can sometimes make poor decisions when under duress.

With this in mind, they become beacons of wisdom and objectivity when challenges arise.

They answer existential questions

Many of us ponder the meaning of life and how we can make the most of it.

High-performance coaches help people of all ages and persuasions find purpose and direction.

They provide balance

High-performance coaches recognize that there is more to life than money, work, achievement, or a sports car.

For the maximum chance of success, they help clients ensure there is a balance between their professions, spirituality, finances, hobbies, and relationships. 

They are forward-looking

While therapists deal with the past to improve performance, high-performance coaches show their clients how to build a successful future.

They are certified

In many jurisdictions, effective coaches are certified by organizations such as the High Performance Institute (HPI).

Others take comprehensive online or in-person courses to hone their skills.

Key takeaways:

  • High-performance coaching involves helping people reach their full potential in any aspect of their personal or professional lives. 
  • High-performance coaches help clients better regulate and direct their resources toward achieving goals. There is also a focus on self-directed learning that maximizes an individual’s unique strengths. 
  • High-performance coaches provide crucial support and advice when situations become difficult. They also answer existential questions and encourage the individual to strive for balance at all times.

Read Next: High-Performance Management

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Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Adaptive Leadership

Adaptive leadership is a model used by leaders to help individuals adapt to complex or rapidly changing environments. Adaptive leadership is defined by three core components (precious or expendable, experimentation and smart risks, disciplined assessment). Growth occurs when an organization discards ineffective ways of operating. Then, active leaders implement new initiatives and monitor their impact.

Delegative Leadership

Developed by business consultants Kenneth Blanchard and Paul Hersey in the 1960s, delegative leadership is a leadership style where authority figures empower subordinates to exercise autonomy. For this reason, it is also called laissez-faire leadership. In some cases, this type of leadership can lead to increases in work quality and decision-making. In a few other cases, this type of leadership needs to be balanced out to prevent a lack of direction and cohesiveness of the team.

Distributed Leadership

Distributed leadership is based on the premise that leadership responsibilities and accountability are shared by those with the relevant skills or expertise so that the shared responsibility and accountability of multiple individuals within a workplace, bulds up as a fluid and emergent property (not controlled or held by one individual). Distributed leadership is based on eight hallmarks, or principles: shared responsibility, shared power, synergy, leadership capacity, organizational learning, equitable and ethical climate, democratic and investigative culture, and macro-community engagement.


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