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A Quick Guide for Performance Coaching

A Quick Guide for Performance Coaching

Performance coaching helps clients gain a competitive edge and work at the peak of their abilities. Find out more about the benefits of this coaching program.


Is your client working hard but can’t seem to break through a roadblock and reach the next level? Has your business team plateaued and started struggling to attain the next stage of success? This situation is common – and it’s where a performance coach can help.

Performance coaching has many benefits in professional and personal spheres. Incorporating coaching into work environments improves corporate clients’ effectiveness by:

  • Boosting work performance
  • Enhancing collaboration among team members
  • Increasing job satisfaction

Performance coaching initiatives result in better customer service outcomes, an increase in productivity, and improved employee retention.

On a personal level, performance coaching helps a client:

  • Improve their self-knowledge
  • Develop tactics to reduce negative emotions and behavior
  • Define goals and identify personal growth opportunities
  • Increase concentration, reinforce discipline, and boost creativity

This results in enhanced relationships at home and improved performance at work.

But what is performance coaching, and how can you incorporate it into your program to help motivate your clients in their personal and professional growth? We’ll explain everything you need to know.

What is a performance coach?

A performance coach plays multiple roles for clients, depending on clients’ needs. Performance coaching has multiple intricacies and applications. Here are the three main functions of performance coaching:

1. Executive Coaching

This type of coaching helps organizations and managers coach employees by learning to identify their strengths and growth potential. Supervisors act as coaches and work with employees and human resources to determine education opportunities and encourage employees to learn new skills and expand their capacity. Executive coaching results in improved employee performance, teamwork, and retention.

2. Helping clients find success in their personal and professional lives

Performance coaches help clients accomplish goals and reach their potential in their personal and professional lives. In this case, the performance coach's job is to identify and collaborate with clients to support their continuous improvement by identifying their motivations, providing accountability checks, sharing constructive feedback, and delivering a constant flow of encouragement. Performance coaching is all about helping clients maximize their potential instead of teaching them a specific competency.

3. Guiding clients to reach their full potential

This aspect of performance coaching focuses on helping clients perform at the peak of their abilities. Clients benefit from performance coaching in high-stakes, make-or-break events like sporting competitions, performances, or examinations. Performance coaches focus on psychological tactics and strategies to help decrease stress, improve focus, boost confidence, and motivate clients to succeed.

Whichever application of performance coaching you use, it’s important to remember this isn’t a short-term process. It’s an ongoing, collaborative investment in your clients’ future that requires continuous feedback and support to help them meet their long-term performance goals as individuals or employees.

What is a performance coach’s essential role?

Whether professional, personal, or event-based performance coaching, your role is to provide your clients with continuous feedback to drive their success. You want to generate a constant sense of self-awareness and keep them from becoming complacent. Challenge your clients to strive beyond their current position and encourage an ongoing commitment to becoming better contributors, partners, and individuals.

As their environment changes with each level of success, help your client manage these new developments by teaching them resilience, innovation, strategic thinking, and communication skills. These strategies will enable them to tackle new challenges head-on. Help them expand their action plans and grow their leadership abilities by assessing their skills regularly to identify growth opportunities.

It’s important to remember: A performance coach isn’t a life coach. While there’s overlap between the disciplines, a life coach focuses more on helping clients set goals allowing them to live the life they want. Performance coaches also use goal setting, but they focus on giving their clients a competitive edge by adding a layer of accountability and leveraging tools and strategies to help the mind and body perform well.


Do you have what it takes to be a performance coach?

A performance coach’s salary can be pretty lucrative, with some coaches earning six figures or more, which makes it an attractive specialty to consider, but what competencies are required to offer these services?

Performance coaching requires you to have the ability to:

  • Build trust: Your clients’ success is based on their ability to trust you. Building trust requires open, honest feedback and respect. Without it, your coaching sessions are doomed to fail.
  • Define issues: As a coach, you must take the time to get to know your clients and understand their challenges without judgment. Your action plans must be tailored to your clients’ priorities, not what you believe is most important.
  • Coach for success: Clients often require clarity to identify what motivates them to improve and reach their goals. Your role is to help them get in touch with what matters by using open-ended questions and visualization exercises, leading to greater insight and self-reflection. Only then will compliance become a commitment.
  • Create a plan of action: To secure your clients’ buy-in, you need to jointly develop an action plan using SMART goals to keep them moving toward success. These goals should be simple, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely (SMART). 
  • Provide feedback: High-performance coaching requires honesty. You and your client should always provide input on the effectiveness of your coaching sessions and plans. Without it, your coaching skills won’t improve, and you’ll be no use to your client.

What do performance coaches do in the workplace?

In professional settings, business managers and executives often spend time mentoring employees. A performance coach helps management develop and establish effective coaching models to ensure performance improvement for both supervisors and subordinates.  

Coaches do this by:

  • Helping to identify workers’ talents and skill sets
  • Assisting employees in setting realistic goals and providing accountability
  • Identifying opportunities for employees to gain valuable skills and where to learn them
  • Provide ongoing, honest, and relevant feedback on a worker’s progress and performance management activity effectiveness

A performance coach contributes to a corporation’s holistic work culture by helping every employee achieve their peak potential and contribute their utmost to the company's success. 

Performance vs. business coaching: What’s the difference?

Performance and business coaching share many similarities. But the difference between these coaching practices is rooted in the purpose of the coaching and the overall focus. 

Business coaching

A business coach focuses on growth, taking a business from start-up to “real company” level. They assist business owners in developing their vision for the company, establishing goals, creating an action plan, and tracking a business's performance and growth.

Performance coaching

A performance coach is concerned with the individual. They’ll help their clients with personal goal setting, identify growth opportunities, and help overcome roadblocks to reach clients’ full potential.

Some coaches incorporate both performance and business focuses into their practice, working to provide clients with ways to improve their company and employees simultaneously.

Becoming a performance coach requires a thorough understanding of coaching and customer service fundamentals. Performance coaches need the ability to listen and communicate ideas and an understanding of how to craft achievable action plans. 

Day in, day out, as a performance coach, you’ll be your client’s mentor and cheerleader. And it’s your job to hold them accountable to make progress and meet their goals. It’s not easy, but it can be a role filled with personal and professional rewards.

Are you considering adding performance coaching to your list of services? Let Practice help you start on the right foot with our client management applications, invoicing templates, and more. Try Practice and find everything you need to support and expand your coaching business operations.

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