Why High Performers Still Need Coaching

At home, in grade school, and in the workplace, the “problem child” and “problem employee” often get more attention than the “star student” or “rising leader.”

As a result, many high-potential employees and emerging leaders aren’t used to receiving coaching and training.

And, those who are, often don’t get what they need it because they have outgrown the developmental approaches that work for their peers.

If you are a CEO or a high-level manager who works with executives, senior leaders, or team superstars, it’s critical to develop your high performers differently than the way you develop those whose performance needs to improve.

Your high performers have distinct developmental needs. Think of high-performing athletes. They oftentimes require highly skilled coaches and are often times trained separately from the rest of their teams.

1. High performers need you to provide candid feedback they likely aren’t getting elsewhere.

Even though you may not spot anything obviously “wrong” with their communication, leadership, or performance it’s important you help them see the blind spots nobody else is pointing out to them.

You also want to ensure they are crystal clear on their zones of genius so they can keep leveraging their strengths. Providing assessments and 360 reviews (or partnering with consultants like myself who do) can help support the other developmental work you’re doing.

2. High performers also need recommendations for how to play to their edge.

While pure coaching allows a client/employee to set session agendas and pure training is typically instructor-led, high performers need development that falls in the sweet spot between both extremes.

High performers often get bored when coaching is too touchy-feely – focused to a fault on their being rather than also incorporating how to excel in their doing.

And, because much organizational training is remedial, these people need learning experiences that lead to true up-leveling and measurable results so they don’t tune out.

3. High performers need opportunities to role-play the new mindsets, behaviors, and habits they are developing.

While most learners benefit from role play, it is particularly critical for high performers because the thinking and skills that got them to their first level of success are often not the same thinking and skills that will get them to their next level of growth and impact.

For example, somebody whose reputation is built on over-delivering and overworking now needs support to grow and manage a self-directed team.

A leader whose word-perfect communication has won them accolades may now need to strategically make their conversations and presentations more casual to connect with employees or funders.

Coaching and training that works for high performers is a holistic, customized approach, and, above all, provides ample opportunities to buff up the real-world muscles many organizational superstars have had few opportunities to flex.

4. The flip side of pressure and perfectionism:

High performers need permission to be vulnerable so they can ask for help and better connect with their colleagues.

Many high performers find themselves placed on pedestals by colleagues, team members, and direct reports. As a result, the people around them are often embarrassed or afraid to have honest conversations. They don’t believe there is psychological safety to making mistakes or being vulnerable by admitting when they are stuck.

High performers often report they are in a similar bind – unable to be authentic and transparent because they fear these behaviors will chip away at their reputation. However, these are the very qualities that will make them more credible, likable, and trustworthy.

If, as you read this last recommendation, you realize you also need permission to be less of an expert and more of a human with your team, consider that permission granted!

If you are ready to get you and your team trained on leadership and coaching skills to improve your overall business performance, follow this link to request a quote without any pressure to sign up.

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