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Business Performance Coaching Techniques To Create Winners

This may sound obvious, but performance coaches don’t only exist in sports. No, they exist in our business lives too, but (and I oughtn’t to generalise too much) they don’t necessarily look like sports coaches. They’re unlikely to be wearing a track suit, probably won’t be shouting across a sports field, and may well not have the type of physique which we’d usually associate with a coach. However, exist they do, even if the coach doesn’t actually know it.

Now what do I mean by this? I mean that unlike on the sports field, coaches might not even know that they’re coaching people. What they are doing, however, is guiding others towards success by using the right ideas, words and motivators to help others to achieve success.

What is a Business Performance Coaching?

Formal or informal coaching

Some coaches are formally charged with coaching others. We’ll call these people “Group A”. This is either their job, or part of another role, and they’ll be thinking a lot of the time about the steps needed to bring others to certain goals. In “Group B”, coaches don’t even know they’re coaching. Instead they either get satisfaction from helping others towards achievements, or they realise that in order to reach wider business goals, they need others to be performing at their best.

Often the difference between the two types can actually become a difference in terminology and expertise. When we look at this, we realise that each group can learn from each other, and, more importantly, we can all learn from the methods, orientation and success of coaches to improve the success of our team members, or in fact anyone in the organisation.

The difference between coaching and mentoring

Starting with Group B, these people will often be mentors, rather than coaches. A mentor uses his or her expertise in the field to guide others along a path which they know, from their own experience, will be successful. In a sales situation, for example, the mentor might accompany the mentee to sales meetings, then de-brief afterwards to suggest areas for improvement, in a structured way, based on the mentor’s own experience as a salesperson. In this way, the mentor passes on his or her expertise to the mentee, guiding the mentee towards success.

Those who fall into Group A are actual coaches, rather than mentors. These people coach others towards success through helping them identify their own values, align goals to these, and then self-analyse in order to modify performance and behaviour to achieve success. It is not necessary for a coach to have any expertise in the field in which they’re coaching – the task is instead to ask pertinent questions and give valuable feedback to the client to enable that person to identify the steps needed to be successful.

Combining the two for business success

As we’ve seen, coaches may or may not be formal, and in fact some coaches may be performing these tasks naturally and providing valuable guidance simply by behaving in a way which comes naturally to them. For others, some structure is needed in order to get the best out of others.

In a business environment, it can be helpful to act as a mentor, passing on solid experience to the mentee, whilst at the same time using coaching techniques to help the mentee to find their own route to achievement, within the best practice of the mentor’s knowledge.

For those who are new to this, here’s a suggested 10 point process (techniques) to coach someone towards business goals:

  1. Sit down with the mentee to discuss the task in which improvement may be needed.
  2.  Ask the mentee to describe the task as they understand it from the requirements given.
  3. Drawing on experience, the mentor should offer guidance to clarify understanding.
  4. Ask the mentee to rate their performance in the task on a scale of 1 to 10.
  5. Discuss performance until both parties agree on a suitable score.
  6. Request that the mentee describe how the task would have been performed differently if the score had be a 10.
  7.  Offer guidance where necessary.
  8.  Together, identify required actions to improve the mentee’s performance to a 10, as described by the mentee.
  9. Obtain agreement to the actions required.
  10. Follow up after an appropriate timescale to review progress.

Do you have thoughts on this topic? Let me know how you move your staff towards business success.

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Image: “A grid illustrating a workflow / Shutterstock.com


Salesperson, sales leader, sales trainer. Dedicated to business success by putting the customer first.Salesperson, sales leader, sales trainer. Neil is director of Naturally Sales Ltd, which helps businesses around the world to sell more through improved sales, leadership, customer service and team-work. http://www.nsales.co.uk

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Comments
  • Welcome to TYB, Neil! I love the process/10 point actions at the end.

  • Hi Neil,
    Welcome to TYB, I enjoyed your post, especially the difference between coaching and mentoring – there are clear differences.

    In your list is headed “…coach someone towards business goals” the first 5 relate to mentorship as described just previously. The second 5 are common coaching procedures.
    I think there is a distinction between the first 5 and second 5 and not all “coaching” techniques.
    Otherwise, great pointers 🙂

  • Interesting post Neil. I like your action points at the end.

    I would add though that the coach has to be aware of her own perspective of the situation or problem.For instance, if the coach’s belief is that most difficulties are caused by a lack on interpersonal skills everything looks like an interpersonal problem.
    It is important to acknowledge our own biases and to separate them from the coaching process. This is why I always recommend that new coaches create and use a reflective journal as part of their own personal development.

  • A very interesting company Irish company leading the way worldwide, great post Sian.

  • It is interesting to see how a big publishing house like Random House is investing heavily into global ebook distribution. I got myself an ebook reader as a X-mas gift. The challenge is to find books to read on it. The ebook reader is designed for a big online book seller in Scandinavia. I will follow ePubDirect.com’s business development. When will it be a lot cheaper with e-books than regular books?

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Don, your post is a great reminder why planning and preparation should not be avoided. While making sure that you have the infrastructure (finance, staffing and such) in place is certainly a part of this, it is also important for the emotional infrastructure to be put in place. Self-reflection for the business owner keeps the focus on where and how he/she wants the business to go. Also, when the business owner consciously keeps the communication lines open, this helps staff and/or vendors adapt more effectively to the changes brought on by the growth.

  • Mariah Courtney

    Hi Harry, Thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right. I think the trick is sticking to what you’re good at. -Mariah

  • Mariah Courtney

    Hi Maegan, Thank you for your thoughtful comment. The reactive habit is definitely a tough one to break – and can be very dangerous to a small business. -Mariah

  • Mariah Courtney

    Thank you Sian! I’m excited to be part of the community.

  • Mariah Courtney

    Thanks Brown.

  • Thanks Niall – it took me a while to put the monster together so hope it provides value. Happy New Year to you too

  • Hi Martin. Normally 2 a week

  • Hi Martin, in total to do the whole piece ready for publishing I think it took about 6 hours

  • Wow! Just wow! What a resource to bookmark for reading for the months ahead!! A great compilation Sian, and thank you for introducing other blogs and sites that are helpful for businesses globally. TYB will always be my favourite though!




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