The Psychology of Performance Coaching

In the pursuit of excellence, individuals and organisations often turn to performance coaching as a powerful tool to unlock their full potential. Our Co-Founder Kate Cousens is currently mid-way through an in-depth programme accredited by the International Coaching Federation and has discovered that so much of human performance is tied up in psychology – in this blog she shares how understanding the mind can lead to transformative results.

In embarking on the coaching programme, I was keen to learn more about how I could help my clients to do more, be more, have more in their business or career and wow, have we gone deep on the psychology around this! It is fascinating to learn how powerful the human mind is and how as a coach, through applying a deeper understanding of human psychology I can help individuals navigate the complex terrain of their minds to overcome barriers, set meaningful goals, and achieve their highest aspirations.

The first lesson I had to learn was that performance coaching is not about offering advice or instruction – it’s about facilitating personal and professional growth through a deep understanding of human psychology, using questions and reflections to really invoke an awareness in the client. Turning off the inner Consultant has been a huge part of my unlearning! The fact is that the person who has the challenge or problem also holds the solution…the coach is there to help them unlock it.

It starts with building self-awareness. As a Coach I am learning to use various techniques to help individuals get curious about their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. By understanding their strengths, weaknesses and personal preferences, the coachee can develop a clearer picture of who they are and what drives them. From there they can look at their goals and aspirations. 

Effective performance coaching is rooted in the psychology of motivation. A coach helps a coachee define clear, achievable goals that align with their values and desires. By using a range of motivational techniques we can help the coachee ignite the inner drive needed to pursue these objectives relentlessly. This is all about tapping into someone’s intrinsic motivation – what is it they really want to be, do, have? And what action are they ready, willing and able to take to move towards that? 

Sometimes it’s the coachee themselves who is getting in their own way but it’s not the coach’s role to tell them that, rather it is about teasing out and challenging some of the limiting self-beliefs which may be holding clients back.  Our beliefs about ourselves and our abilities significantly impact our performance. By replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations and realistic self-perceptions, individuals can boost their self-confidence and enhance their performance.

We can explore what else is stopping them from achieving their desires – for instance procrastination and resistance are common psychological barriers to achieving goals. As a coach we can go deep in assisting the coachee to understand the root causes of these behaviours and develop strategies to overcome them. By addressing the underlying psychological factors, individuals can break free from the cycle of avoidance and take meaningful action.

The psychology of performance coaching also addresses the emotional aspect of success. Coaches help clients manage stress, anxiety, and fear that can hinder peak performance. Techniques such as mindfulness, relaxation exercises, and emotional intelligence development enable individuals to stay calm under pressure and make sound decisions.

All of this is done with ZERO judgement and holding the coachee with unconditional positive regard. That has probably been the most wonderful part for me so far. It is so empowering for the individual being coached to realise they have everything in themselves to make their desires a reality. That success is not solely determined by external factors but by the inner workings of the mind. That whatever you want to be, do and have is potentially accessible for you. Coaching is the key to unlocking it! If you are interested in finding out more about coaching, drop us a line – we’d love to help you!

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