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Performance Coaching

by Paul Pluim

Performance Coaching

I am regularly asked what performance coaching exactly entails. How does it work? What does a project look like? Who do you work with? In this blog I will take you through all the ins and outs of a performance coaching programme.

What is performance coaching?

The word ‘performance’ means ‘achievement’, or ‘result’. And that is exactly what performance coaching is all about: achieving results. Nothing more than that. It’s about creating a desired future in the most efficient way, in the shortest possible time. During a route, the goals that were set out beforehand are central. Topics can be work-life balance, growth in revenue and customers, stronger leadership or certain ambitions on both a business and personal level.

During conversations, the focus is on who you as a client need to be in order to achieve certain goals, rather than what or how you need to do something. To clarify this, I use the ‘BE-DO-HAVE model’ of Stephen Covey: it is not important what you need, or what you should do, but who you should be, to get what you want. Personal attitude, or even stronger: your identity, is the foundation for powerful results. Someone can have a lot of knowledge, but will never achieve powerful results if he or she comes from reticence, doubt, irresponsibility or arrogance. When you develop a more powerful identity, the actions that follow from it become a logical consequence, and ultimately achieve the desired result.

For whom?

I work exclusively with entrepreneurs and management who are prepared to give everything for a better result. Passion is a prerequisite for this. An organisation does not run itself. And results do not grow on trees. At least, not where I come from. Everything stems from the leader who runs the organisation. Who he or she is as a leader is directly reflected in the results. Or who he or she is not… Why don’t I work with employees? Because I know from experience that it is more effective to put energy in the entrepreneur or the management themselves. They are the foundation on which the organisation is built and are therefore able to create a better future.

The route

No two routes are the same; people are all different. The course of the programme depends on the person himself. Nevertheless, there is a common thread in every project, with topics that are always addressed. These include where someone is now and where they want to go. A number of topics are explained below:

Being honest about where you are exactly

Logically, you think, I know exactly where I am. But beware: it will surprise you that most people are completely unaware of where they are. I am referring to their attitude and behavioural patterns, or even stronger: their identity. We humans have a natural tendency to pretend to be better. For others, but also for ourselves. Have you never bragged about the number of kilometres you have run? Or when that superficial friend asks if everything is going well, you yell out a resounding ‘yes’, while mentally you are completely grounded. We do it all day long: lying to make ourselves look better. Unconsciously, of course, but we do it. I also recognise this in entrepreneurs. During an initial meeting, I am often told that everything within the organisation is going well, except for a few ‘minor details’. Only to find out that the absenteeism rate is skyrocketing, there is no clear strategy in place or the financial health of the company is in a sorry state. Not to mention the challenges on a personal level: a relationship that is not strong, an unhealthy lifestyle or a work/life balance that is completely out of balance are more common than not.

That is precisely what makes it challenging but also valuable to recognise a non-workable identity. Being honest about who you really are at those moments when you get stuck requires courage and is certainly not always fun. Wouldn’t you rather blame a crisis, society or the weather for the fact that you didn’t get around to doing something, instead of admitting that you just didn’t dare, didn’t feel like it or were lazy? Being honest with yourself about who you really are gives you powerful insights. That forms a basis and you can build on it. Note: there is no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to who you are. However, you can draw the conclusion that certain behavioural patterns do not contribute to achieving a desired result.


A commitment is nothing more than a promise to yourself that you will achieve a certain result. It is an irrevocable commitment and shows the level of involvement. A commitment goes hand in hand with discipline and focus. When certain results are not achieved, what was necessary has not been done. This can be traced back to a commitment that was not ‘firm’ enough to generate the necessary core action. When you make the commitment to achieve a certain result, there is no plan B or back door through which you can slip when the going gets tough. You just do what you have to do. Full stop. Getting your commitment clear is a must if you want to implement successful changes.

Internal dialogue

The internal dialogue is the voice in our head that “colours” situations with opinions. These opinions are then converted into reactions and statements. It is important to create awareness around these thoughts and their impact. This will give you valuable insights and enable you to react more quickly.

Where do you want to go?

What result do you want to create? Simply a higher revenue or more customers is not good enough. It has to be more specific and measurable. And what are the consequences if you do not achieve your goals? Can you challenge yourself further?

How it works for me

Coaching has been the fastest way for me to grow to date. All my education and training have been very useful and provide a stable basis. However, it is the high level of coaching that provides me with certain insights, which in turn lead me to take action. This then results in a desired outcome. One of the important things I picked up during my first coaching session was that growing is simply a choice. And not growing either. And that it is not the acquired knowledge that brings us further. It is the actions through which we achieve certain things. I still invest in my own development by following an intensive coaching programme. Every ceiling becomes a new floor. After all, you are never done growing, are you?

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