There are many great reasons to hire a performance coach for your executives and staff. Of course, the primary goal is to raise overall company or organization achievement, which is why many organizations begin coaching from the top down, starting with leadership. However, performance coaching can be conducted for any role within a company, and when done effectively, will improve a person’s skill set and increase their confidence.
When hiring a performance coach for any reason, look for this experience:
1. Previous achievement as an effective performance coach
A performance coach must provide evidence that they have achieved compelling results, and this should go well beyond a simple list of former clients. They should provide written information about the company, the role or roles they coached, and the specific outcomes for each. Contact information should also be provided so that you can reach out to those with whom they’ve worked before.
A performance coach will be working directly with your people with the aim of significant improvement. Before you lay out the funds and time for this person, do everything you can to know that they’re going to help you.
2. An understanding of your industry or market segment
For a coach to evaluate performance, they must grasp what your organization does and its overall environment. A coach having worked within one type of business won’t necessarily help performance in another where they have no experience.
For example, one organization may sell retail gifts in a shopping mall, while another sells ultra-high-end heating and cooling systems for large buildings. These are drastically different types of business—selling a heating and cooling system for a 10-story building is much more complex than selling a stuffed unicorn to a teenager. In either case, a performance coach should fully understand the field.
3. An understanding of the roles they’ll be coaching
If a performance coach is going to coach a Chief Operating Officer (COO), they need to have a deep understanding of what a COO is supposed to be doing. On top of that, the performance coach should have a good grasp of the duties that COO would have within that particular company.
It’s an added plus if the performance coach has their own experience in the role they’ll be coaching, although this isn’t always necessary.
4. Can identify roadblocks to achieving true potential
Once a performance coach begins working with someone, they need to spot what is slowing that employee or executive down. They need to be correct in their observations and be accurate in spotting what is actually a roadblock.
Beyond being correct, the performance coach needs to point these roadblocks out to the person they’re coaching so that they will accept them. It won’t work to simply tell them they’re doing something wrong—often, this will only upset them and won’t serve to move the person forward. The person being coached needs to see that dealing with this barrier will improve them.
Finally, the performance coach will have to help the person being coached find adequate solutions so that these blocks are corrected and disappear forever.
5. Truly inspires employees to do better
A performance coach will dig in and find things that the employee or executive is not doing correctly. In itself, this can discourage the person and lower their overall performance. For that reason, a performance coach must include a steady dose of encouragement throughout the coaching period and demonstrate to the person being coached that they indeed can do better.
The result of a person being coached should be that they improve in their performance and come away inspired to raise the bar.