Have you heard of high performance coaching?

Chances are if you’ve been trained as a coach that you’ve heard the phrase once or twice. You may have even had a few class modules specifically on the topic.

Maybe images of Tony Robbins comes to mind. After all, he seems to work with a lot of high performing people. Heck, he is a high performing person.

Or, perhaps you’ve heard of high performance coaching in relation to sports. Think Michael Phelps and his coaching regimen.

The term “high performance coaching” is not new. What is new is how people may have begun to see it.

What Is High Performance Coaching?  

When most people think “high performance coaching” they tend to assume that it’s simply coaching for high performers or high achievers. It’s coaching reserved for stars. Some people may even be intimidated by it because they think it’s reserved for a special type of person.

At first glance, this may seem true; however, this isn’t actually what high performance coaching means.

According to the leadership skills training website, MindTools, high performance coaching is simply the art of helping people reach their full potential.

Why High Performance Coaching Is Making a Comebackshutterstock_162287438

High performance coaching is a term that has traditionally been reserved for corporate environments and athletes.

For the sake of simplicity, and because it’s more closely related to the kind of coaching we’re discussing, let’s stick to the example of how it’s been used in corporate settings.

In the past, companies would invest in high performance coaching and mentoring for their employees. It was meant to help employees perform better as well as foster a relationship between employees and their managers.

Fast forward a few decades and many are noticing a problem in the corporate environment: They are slacking on the coaching.

This is costing companies billions of dollars in lost revenue because employees are unmotivated, unproductive or just flat out quitting to go elsewhere.

Additionally, many people have begun to seek coaching outside of corporate environments. Just take a look online and you’ll see a coach for just about anything – business, health, relationships, even spiritual coaching.

According to the 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study, the coaching industry is a $2 billion industry. This is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it’s likely that the number will increase as people begin to seek more of it in their own lives.

In many ways, coaching has become pretty common.

A decade ago no one knew what it was outside of a corporate environment (although in all fairness, because corporate environments began to do less coaching with their employees, they probably hadn’t heard of it at all).

A decade ago, if you did know what coaching was, you also probably thought it was something reserved for a select few either because it was a luxury or because, as we previously mentioned, people thought it was for star talent.

Now we’re seeing a much different story.

High performance coaching has become more democratized thanks to free content on the internet and coaches finding affordable ways for clients and customers to get the help they need, like books.

Additionally, the mindset of the public has changed. Many are now realizing that coaching isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

People who run their own businesses have always known this, it’s just that now people are starting to realize that the same is true in many different areas of their lives.

As such, the term “high performance coaching” has started to make a comeback not just in the boardroom, but also in living rooms, coffee shops, yoga studios and online communities.

What does this mean for you as a coach? shutterstock_336761369

As a coach, the rise of high performance coaching means there are plenty of people out there who need your help. As a business owner (don’t forget you are one of those too!), this means the market is ripe and ready for you to make a living.

It’s really a win win.

Whether you want to get hired as a coach and trainer for a large corporation, or whether you want to get hired by individuals, there has never been a better time to start a coaching business.

Of course, you probably already know that or you wouldn’t have come across this website.

How do you get started with high performance coaching?shutterstock_236117707

If you’re not a coach yet but are interested in becoming one, getting started with high performance coaching can be as easy as beginning to study.

If you’re really just getting started, try dipping your toes into it first by participating in one of our many trainings with world class coaches.

Some who are thinking about coaching as a profession may even decide to do a formal traning down the road. There are far more options than there used to be for this and even local universities are beginning to offer trainings.

If you’re already a coach, it’s important to note that you’re probably already engaging in high performance coaching. Remember, it’s simply the ability to help people reach their fullest potential.

Granted, there may be some areas in which you can improve when it comes to doing high performance coaching. The rest of this article will walk you through the process so that you can help your clients reach their highest goals.

When to Conduct High Performance Coaching for Clientsshutterstock_335852540

As a coach, it’s important to know when leads and clients may be in need of some high performance coaching. This will help you be a better coach and can also help you with enrolling clients.

Here are some of the common times when someone may need high performance coaching:

  • Wanting to take it to the next level in their business. Think: Doubling their revenue.
  • Someone who wants to quit their corporate job to become self-employed.
  • Someone who is having a health issue and needs coaching outside of traditional medicine. For example, losing weight.
  • Someone who is preparing to launch something at their company or in their business.
  • Making big changes to their performance or behavior.
  • Handling major setbacks.
  • Long term planning such as career, business, life or financial planning.

As you can see, high performance coaching fits into a variety of situations and life events.

Just a quick note in regard to setbacks, it’s important to know the difference between high performance coaching and pushing too soon.

When someone is dealing with a setback, high performance coaching still allows room for the person to grieve and go through their process.

It is not about forcing them to do anything too soon, it’s about holding the space to help them overcome the setback. Your job as a coach is to help them get out of victim mode, but that doesn’t mean you don’t honor their transition.

How to Conduct High Performance Coachingshutterstock_289175252

Every coach has their own style of coaching that is unique to them.

Even though that may be the case and you should embrace your own unique flavor, here are some guidelines to keep in mind when conducting high performance coaching.


Consistency is extremely important when conducting high performance coaching.

What do we mean by this?

It means putting touchstone points into your coaching program and setting clear expectations about when sessions take place.

For example, do you meet once a week or once a month? Do clients have access to you via email?

Clear Expectations

What are the expectations from both you and your client?

What do they want to achieve and how will you measure it?

Since high performance coaching is about, well, performance, it may be beneficial to find some metrics by which to measure the progress your client is making.

One way in which to do this is to have a pre-coaching survey where clients outline exactly what they expect to get from their time with you.

At that point, you can work together to see if the expectations are reasonable. You may even notice that perhaps your client is playing too small and end up pushing them a little more.

Once the expectations have been set, you may need to find ways to track progress. Will you have your client fill out a report each week? Will there be a post-coaching survey?

It’s up to you to decide how to do this.

On-on-One Time

High performance coaching likely requires customization and the kind of support you can only get from one-on-one coaching.

Remember, there’s only so much you can do with group coaching because you are dealing with general themes and more than one individual.

With more personalized coaching, you spend more time with an individual and can give them unique attention.

Depending on what the goals of the individual are, this may be the best route for high performance coaching.

Be A Good Listener

You’ll notice that some of the best coaches tend to listen far more than they actually talk.

This is so that the client can make their own decisions without so much influence from the coach.

Remember, with high performance coaching you may be helping people change their habits or make better decisions for themselves. They can’t do that if you’re constantly interjecting.

Additionally, listening may be where you as a coach notice if there are any holes or issues that need to be addressed. This is where you can challenge your client to start thinking and behaving differently.

Hold Your Client Accountable

Accountability is key with high performance coaching, and, unfortunately, some people need more accountability than others.

This means that you hold clients to their decisions and commitments. It also means you help them start taking responsibility for themselves.

For example, do you notice your client beginning to blame others for something? This is your cue to hold them accountable and help them take responsibility for whatever part they may have played in that decision.

In a LinkedIn article about high performance coaching, Rick Conlow suggests asking questions that make your clients (or, in his case, employees) think through the process of how they make decisions and where they can improve. Otherwise you could consider the GROW Model and apply it to your clients.

This can provide a lot of insight to you as a coach as well as hold your clients accountable for their actions and decisions. It can also help them change their habits for the better.

Final Thoughts

Chances are that as a coach you’re already engaging in some form of high performance coaching. Just keep in mind some of these guidelines so that you can truly help your clients reach their fullest potential.

Ajit Nawalkha

Ajit Nawalkha is the Co-founder of Evercoach. He is passionate about disrupting industries and creating positive change. Ajit is a business coach himself.

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