In our previous post, we defined what effective coaching entails—and what it doesn’t. At Insigniam, we believe the role of a coach is to make someone succeed beyond what that person could achieve on his or her own—often referred to as breakthrough performance. This means driving all conversations toward action. Coaching is about breakthrough performance and results are a product of action.

This means that those being coached must be motivated to shift their focus to an action-oriented mindset. Therefore, as a rule, the actions—and conversations—of effective coaches must be structured around four key ideas:

Declarations: A statement of goals, i.e., “I will have this product in the market by June 30, 2015.” Declarations are more than just intentions—declarations drive action.

Assertions: In a coaching interaction, everything that a coach, or the client of coaching, says must be grounded in facts. The client cannot act powerfully unless what he or she asserts is solidly grounded. Conversely, coaches must be able to illustrate proof of their assertions if need be.

Requests: Coaches do not give advice; rather they question perceptions and, ultimately, they make requests. In professional sports, a coach may ask a runner to do three laps around the track at varying speeds. Regardless of whether or not an athlete can grasp the motivation for the request, coaches push for action even when the person being coached can’t fully understand the purpose. This is how breakthrough performance is achieved.

Promises: A coach operates on the basis of promises. Although the coach is deeply involved in helping others achieve more, validation only comes with results—delivering what was stated in the declaration, confirmed through assertions, and pushed for by way of requests.


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