Many of you will have watched Billions, the series about the world of Wall Street hedge funds. In the series one of the leading characters is Wendy Rhoades who is the firm’s life coach. Her role highlights the real difference that such a role can have and in a cut throat business like Axe Capital, that it is definitely not the pink and fluffy, touchy feely stuff – but a strategic technique to enhance performance and boost the bottom line. Bobby Axelrod, the firms CEO, views Rhoades as a invaluable asset in his firm’s success and in helping the ambitious, smart and brilliant team functioning at their highest levels of performance.
As an example of this in play, in the first episode Rhoades works with a fund manager around helping him regain his “mojo” after he is being outperformed by his team. She helps him explore the fears and limiting beliefs he has built up in his head, and the subconscious voices that determine his levels of performance. In one session, through coaching techniques on unlocking negative beliefs and the harnessing of powerful mantras, she is able to help him re-set and within 24 hours he has made actions that result in the firm earning millions in revenue.
While this is a fictional example, it shows that life and performance coaching works, even in industries with a hard commercial line. As the series continues, Rhoades character brings in millions for Axe Capital, simply by supporting their people in mindset work that enables them to work at their best.
What is Life Coaching? And How Is It Relevant In A Business Context?
Accordingg to Tony Robins: “A life coach is someone professionally trained to help you maximise your full potential and reach your desired results. A life coach definition can vary depending on what your specific goals area, and they encourage and counsel clients on a range of professional and personal issues. Life coaching is distinct from giving advice, consulting, counseling, mentoring and administering therapy. You would hire a coach to help you with specific professional projects, personal goals and transitions. A coach helps you grow by analysing your current situation, identifying limiting beliefs and other potential challenges and obstacles you face and devising a custom plan of action designed to help you achieve specific outcomes in your life.”
In a business context, this is more often known as performance coaching, where the coach supports in laying out proven tactics that help elevate good performers into great performers, or help re-align great performers to regain peak performance. Performance coaching often focusses on helping individuals tackle subconscious barriers to high performance including reframing, overcoming fear, mastering limiting beliefs, energy management – all focussed on rapidly accelerating performance.
Performance coaching is not therapy, and it is not about just making people feel good. It is often tough to swallow, hard lined techniques that drive real results.
How Do You Determine The People To Coach?
Before looking at integration of any professional life or performance coaching structure, it is important to determine the high performers in your business. We use a tool that helps determine performance, and potential, of each team member. As a simple overview, it is useful to think of your team in three groups:
- The first are the top 10 percent – these are the people who give all they have, all of the time, who are self disciplined and have a relentless pursuit of improvement – these are the elite – the most powerful component of any business.
- Next are the 80 percent – they are the majority – people who go to work, do a good job and are relatively reliable – they are, for the most part, trustworthy and hardworking but they haven’t fully engaged with their performance in the way that your top ten percent have.
- The final 10 percent are your low performers – they are often just coasting, not caring about reaching their potential.
The leadership challenge is to move as many of the 80 percenters into the top as you can – if you can expand this into 15 or 20 percent it will mark a measurable increase in the performance of your team. This is where performance coaching can come in.
You would utilise performance coaching to continue to elevate your top ten percent, whilst also working with the top end of the people in the 80 percent bracket to elevate their contribution and impact.
Performance coaching is not for amateurs. On Billions, Rhodes has both extensive business experience and qualifications that enable her to both understand her clients, and maintain a focus on the business goals. Any coaching that you integrate into your business needs to be done by qualified individuals who are able to direct this in the right way – performance coaching is powerful, and any powerful tool can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
Lots of businesses are integrating life or performance coaching into their workplaces through qualified professionals. You can either hire a full time coach if you have the budget and needs to do so, like UK based Social Chain who have just hired a full time life coach, or you can bring in an outsourced specialist for one-off sessions. We work with most of our clients in an in-between solution – we work with them across development of their whole cultural landscape so are fully embedded with their team and strategy, but offer outsourced coaching on a pay as you go type structure to fit around budget and time needs.
The key with integrating coaching successfully into your business is to offer it outside of just your leadership team. In the performance coaching we do with our clients ranges from executive one to one coaching with leaders and managers, through to individually identified team members across the business.
It is important to keep the coaching elements wide – which is why it is often referred to as “life coaching” because often the performance barriers people face are from factors outside of an organisation. It may be that someone is struggling from something they were told at school 10 years ago, or someone who recently had a child and has lost their sense of identity, or someone who has fears from past experiences – all of which can actively contribute to placing a glass ceiling on their growth at work.
If you’re interested in learning more about the performance coaching solutions we offer, please just reach out.