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May 09 2017
Performance Coaching: A Different Approach

As we've worked with clients and adapted our Coach-Manage-Lead family of programs for different organizations and participants, we've identified two big differences between our programs and most others that we've seen.

  1. We emphasize continuous performance development of employees NOT ONLY development of leaders and managers: While most programs for managers and leaders are positioned as management or leadership development, ours emphasize the role of leaders and managers as vehicles for continuous performance development of their people. While this might at first seem academic, it plays itself out in important ways.

    For example, we recommend measuring program impact by counting new and improved accomplishments or work outputs produced by individuals and teams rather than focusing so much on the behavior of the managers or leaders as they help to improve their people. We view the role of leaders and managers as helping to identify important areas for development and then collaborating with their people to configure the best conditions for improving target performance. Yes, managers and leaders in our programs gain improved capabilities. But their changed behavior is worth very little if not for the improved and expanded performance of the people whom they coach, manage, or lead.

  2. We teach what to coach or manage, NOT ONLY how: Most coaching, management and leadership programs enable participants to develop new ways of conducting conversations, relating to their people, knowing how directive or supportive to be, and so forth. In other words, leaders and managers learn "soft" skills for working with people more effectively. This is very important, and a number of popular programs are quite effective in establishing these new skills.

    On the other hand, with a focus on employee performance, our programs enable participants to precisely define performance for development, and then configure behavior influences to help accelerate desired performance. In other words, we emphasize the what, not just the how of performance development. We teach the Performance Chain and the Six Boxes® Model as guides for defining what to improve or develop and what to configure to achieve greater performance. When used on a daily basis and communicated among team members at all levels in the organization, this Performance Thinking approach becomes a vocabulary for continuous performance improvement and a  powerful ongoing talent development process. In addition, over time it produces an organizational culture focused positively on performance development and accelerated results.

An important implication of this difference is that our programs fit well with, rather than competing with other programs. In fact, some of our clients claim that Performance Thinking® programs provide the "missing link" between other programs and measurable performance results. One well-known program, for example, Situational Leadership, is quite compatible with our offerings, because when combined, the two programs teach both what to discuss with employees and how to conduct discussions most effectively. In short, our programs play very well with others!

For more insight about the Performance Thinking approach, check out our white paper Accelerating Business Results Through Leadership and Management.  And take a look at our program descriptions for the Coach-Manage-Lead family of programs.

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