Whether you are a #Coach who wants to serve your clients more powerfully, or a #Leader who wants to empower your Team, these keys to #HighPerformanceCoaching will help you unlock your people’s highest potential.
Transformational work is by definition, Life-changing. Your life looks one way, and all of a sudden, it becomes very different. It was as if you were entering a New World. This can happen in an instant. Coaches have different names for his: Tony Robbins, as an extrovert, calls this a Breakthrough, whereas Rich Litvin, in his introverted way, calls it an Insight.
These moments are magic. What looked like the biggest problem in your Life transforms into the biggest opportunity or the greatest gift. What seemed like an insurmountable wall becomes a stepping stone to the next level of the game.
On the contrary, these moments can make your biggest goals and highest aspirations seem like a walk in the park in comparison to what you can really achieve.
Here are some key elements you need to master to practice High Performance Coaching:
The art of setting impossible goals
As a coach for high performers, your job is to help your clients dream bigger than they dared to dream before. If they are truly high achievers, they tend to attain their goals on their own. They do not need your help to do that. Most of the time, they reach their goals before the deadline they set for themselves. I still think about a client I coached last year. As a very successful entrepreneur in France (although she might not see herself that way), she set out to launch her business in the U.S. After a few sessions of work together, she decided to stop coaching altogether. It took me time to realize the two mistakes:
- I had not created a clear agreement with her.
- I had not challenged her enough. After only a few coaching sessions, she had reached what seemed like challenging goals at the beginning of our work together. I had forgotten how powerful she was.
Two years ago, I had set out to working with the best coach I knew. It took me two years to feel ready, and create the conditions to work with him. I needed time, money, space, and enough confidence to feel that I was ready. I still remember the first coaching conversation I had with a coach who was filtering out clients for him. After the call, I thought:
“This is amazing, but I am not ready yet.” I had a lot of work to do.
This is what great coaches do: They help you see all the work you have to do, and let you do it.
Sometimes, putting in the hard work feels amazing. You get an amazing sense of achievement from that part, and it creates momentum.
At other times, what you need to learn is to do all that effortlessly. This is when a Masterful Coach can help you: Reach even more impossible goals effortlessly with fun and ease.
The art of creating Insights
Three years ago, I participated in an amazing experience: A Vision Quest. The beauty of that experience, is that I got to spend 10 days in Nature, on the beautiful land of Mendocino, California. Not only that, but I got university credits for that ! I was part of a group of about fifteen questers. We were blessed to be welcomed by a Native American who was the caretaker of this land. The Vision Quest is an indigenous rite of passage, where the quester sets out an intention, and during a fast, asks the elements for insight and guidance. For me, it was about stepping into adulthood, maturing, taking on responsibility for my life, and following my life purpose.
We started with four days of preparation, where we became acquainted with the land, and were mindful of our eating and thoughts. Then, we each went in our own direction. I spent three days in a spot I had chosen, in between two lovely oak trees which provided shade during the hot days, and protection for the night. During these three days, I was meant to drink only water, and not eat any solid food. Each day, for safety reasons, I was to go to a particular spot and leave a sign that everything was OK. A buddy would come at a different time, to avoid making contact with me, and check in that I had left the sign. The first day went well, but after some time, I got an insight:
In the last years, I had put myself through a lot of intense experiences such as:
- 3 weeks of military training
- Fasting for 9 days
- Self-discipline routines
- Boxing workouts
- Austere meditation retreats
- Among others…
I saw how I had created all that suffering for myself, in the name of personal growth. Don’t get me wrong, I did grow tremendously through these experiences. But right in that moment, all I wanted was to enjoy life.
I decided that I did not have to complete this fast. I went to drop a note written for one of the professors guiding the quest, telling him about my decision. He kindly suggested that I continue my fast with Miso Soup, and left me a thermo filled with this divine liquid. It felt so abundant that I didn’t even finish it. Each sip was like an ocean of nourishment. That was it, That was my insight: “stop making your life harder than it needs to be. You are allowed to enjoy.”
At the end of the fast, I learned to enjoy the chocolate and other sweets we had, as well as the fresh blueberries. That can be a challenge for High Performers: knowing when it is ok to stop, relax, recharge, have fun and enjoy. We can easily be addicted to challenge and discomfort (it makes you grow, right?).
The art of knowing when to take your clients off the hot seat
High Performers are prone to overdoing things. As a high performing coach, you might fall into that trap too. During a session, you coached your clients so deeply and powerfully that they got the insight that they needed. It could be tempting to continue to coach the client around the strategy, the branding, the actions to take, et cetera. But sometimes, the best thing you can do is take your client off the hot seat, and let them simmer with their insight. If they are truly high performers, they will know what actions to take, who to call, what to do. They don’t need you for that.
Another thing that can help your clients beyond measure is to help them learn to relax and recharge. What does it mean for them to recharge? How do they practice self-care? How do they manage their energy?
A very simple tool you can use, is the Energy List.
The client simply takes a sheet of paper and draws a line in the middle. In the left column, they will write “What energizes me”, and in the right column “What drains me of energy”. Then, they list the people, the places, the activities and habits that drain them of energy, and the ones that charge them. Then, they can simply find out creative ways to stop doing the activities that drain them of energy, or transform them into activities that energize them. I used this tool myself, when I made the commitment to become a professional coach. At the time, I dreaded the accounting and dealing with numbers and money. Instead, I started to practice it as a discipline, blocking out 1 hour per week to do my accounting, billing, and financial planning. After a couple of weeks, my finances were in much better shape, and I now look forward to this time each week. Another example is that in a previous job, I dreaded team meetings. I found them boring and thought that I could make a better use of my time. When I left my job I noticed how energized I was by not participating in all these team meetings and activities, and I gained a lot of focus to serve my clients.
The art of pushing your clients beyond their Tipping Point
A few years ago, I had a dream: I was a climbing up a mountain, and as I came closer to the edge, I became scared of falling off. I remember going back a few steps, and still decided to jump. I flew, and the sensation felt amazing and liberating. Last December, after the Deep Coaching intensive I participated in in Los Angeles with ten other amazing coaches, Rich Litvin sent us this poem by Guillaume Apollinaire:
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
Sometimes in life, you just need someone to push you over the edge.
When you are afraid to jump, who in your world challenges you?
Who is willing to push you over the edge?