• Published April 9, 2020
  • 5 Minute Read

Coaching to Improve Performance & Provide Support

Equip your leaders to tackle challenges and move from feeling threatened to feeling challenged. Research has found that coaching can improve performance in at least 4 ways.
Published April 9, 2020
Coaching to Improve Performance & Provide Support

As a leader, team members look to you for inspiration.

But in these times of unprecedented uncertainty right now, you’re likely being pulled in many different directions. Not only are you required to make strategic decisions that may change the course of your organization, but you’re also tasked with providing tactical guidance.

Working long hours and fielding questions from every direction, it’s only natural that you might neglect your own wellbeing. But remember that not taking care of yourself right now will diminish your ability to support the people and employees you lead.

In times of crisis, you need support, too. But, how can coaching improve performance?

A coach can help move you from feeling threatened to feeling challenged. Coaching to improve performance can provide clarity to help you make decisions about maintaining organizational performance; business continuity; and the safety, wellbeing, and financial security of your workforce. You may be figuring out strategies for maintaining organizational and employee performance with many people working from home and normal workflows disrupted.

Coaching can also help you work through questions like, How do I want to “show up” as a leader during this time of disruption? Am I sufficiently resilient to lead effectively through change?

In these times, quick doses of virtual coaching can be helpful. It can give you a confidential space to test ideas, help you manage or regain energy and focus, recapture your sense of clarity and purpose, hone your communication skills, and navigate tough decisions with major consequences.

Use a Targeted Approach for Coaching to Improve Performance

There are several types of coaching, which can address many different issues. For example:

  • An executive coach can serve as a sounding board during times of crisis and can provide you with a structured approach to leading your organization through unforeseen circumstances. The key is to be clear on desired outcomes and work with a coach in a way that emphasizes improved performance.
  • Senior executives and high potentials may benefit from coaching for performance that helps them develop strategies for leading in new or complex situations, build on existing strengths, and push their goals forward. One leader may work with a coach to go from “good to great.” Another may use coaching to shorten her ramp-up time in a new role or to help navigate a significant increase in responsibilities.
  • For middle managers, coaching can reinvigorate a job or even a career. A coach can help a leader identify skills to be developed, key strengths, and strategies for improvement. Coaching can focus on achieving goals within a leader’s current job or a move in new directions.
  • Derailing executives can benefit from coaching to improve performance, too. It can help these previously successful leaders, who for any number of reasons might have jeopardized their prospects, to identify problem areas and make tangible performance improvements that serve the needs of the organization and the individual.

Learn more about how coaching for leaders can provide support to individuals, and by extension, your entire organization.

4 Core Steps in Our Skills-Based Coaching for Performance

At CCL, we take a behavior-based approach to coaching and give leaders the tools they need to put actions into practice at their organization. According to our research, these 4 core coaching steps create a strong relationship between a coach and coachee and enhance communication skills:

  1. Listen to understand — Our coaches go beyond active listening to gather important perspectives including facts, emotions, and values. These elements help the coach better understand a leader’s point of view and unique context.
  2. Ask powerful questions — Coaches must ask courageous questions with the goal of benefitting the coachee, moving them forward and provoking new insights.
  3. Challenge and support — Creating a shift in perspective is important. The coaching process is focused on encouraging leaders to try something new, but to do this, the coachee must feel supported and safe.
  4. Establish next steps and accountability — The real work happens in between performance coaching and conversations. Leaders must have a clear plan on how to apply insights and when to leverage new tactics.

4 Benefits of Coaching to Improve Performance

So how does leadership coaching lead to results? Research shows that coaching can improve performance in at least 4 ways:

  1. Greater self- and contextual-awareness: Coaching is about you and where you work. You’ll gain insight into yourself as a leader within your organization.
  2. Greater understanding of others: A coach helps you understand why others might think and act the way they do. You’ll learn about actions you can take to help team members or to focus them in a direction that’s better for the organization.
  3. Enhanced ability to communicate: A coach works with you to find ways to improve how you convey what’s important to you, to the business, and to employees.
  4. Enhanced ability to coach others: Once you’ve experienced the value of coaching to improve performance for your own development, you’ll be much more prepared to notice and leverage coaching opportunities with your team. This capacity will be a key differentiator between a good leader and a great one.

However, a good coaching outcome requires a good coaching relationship. Asking the right questions, in the beginning, sets the tone for a strong coaching partnership.

If you’re ready to invest in coaching to improve your performance as well as employee performance, or just need 30–60 minutes a week to get more honed in and grounded, virtual coaching offers a tailored, focused way to connect your performance development with your day-to-day work demands.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Give your leaders much-needed support with coaching to improve performance. Learn more about our high-impact virtual coaching solutions designed to ignite individual, team, and organizational effectiveness.

  • Published April 9, 2020
  • 5 Minute Read
  • Download as PDF

Based on Research by

Andre Keil
Andre Keil, MA, PCC
Former Coaching Director, Facilitator & Executive Coach

Andre led our coaches and on-call faculty, and he managed our coaching portfolio with focus on executive coaching, team coaching, coaching skills and certificate programs, and large-scale coaching culture engagements. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Coach Training for the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Andre led our coaches and on-call faculty, and he managed our coaching portfolio with focus on executive coaching, team coaching, coaching skills and certificate programs, and large-scale coaching culture engagements. He has also served on the Board of Directors for Coach Training for the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

What to Explore Next

Leading Effectively Article
Executive Coaching for Performance: Maximize the Opportunity for Success

Coaching can help mid- to senior-level leaders be more effective by helping them learn new skills, reinforce new behaviors, and evolve their mindsets. Learn how coaching works and how to get the most from the opportunity.

White Paper
Coaching for Leaders: Why Executives Need Support

Providing executives with support is critical for strong organizational performance, especially in times of disruption. Learn how coaching for leaders can help.

White Paper
The Future of Corporate Coaching: Guiding Leaders Through Organization-Wide Transformation in a Digitally Accelerated World

We surveyed leaders from a range of industries about their expectations for the future of coaching and compiled our insights on the changing landscape of corporate coaching.

White Paper
Elevating the Virtual Executive Coaching Experience for Greater Impact on Leaders and Organizations

Through focus groups held with our global network of coaches, we’ve uncovered strategies and tactics for getting the most out of the virtual coaching experience.

Leading Effectively Article
The Nuances of Coaching for Change vs. Coaching for Development

Most change-management ventures fail. Coaching can help, but it's essential to differentiate the use of coaching for development from coaching for change.

Related Solutions

About CCL

At the Center for Creative Leadership, our drive to create a ripple effect of positive change underpins everything we do. For 50+ years, we've pioneered leadership development solutions for everyone from frontline workers to global CEOs. Consistently ranked among the world's top providers of executive education, our research-based programs and solutions inspire individuals in organizations across the world — including 2/3 of the Fortune 1000 — to ignite remarkable transformations.