Performance coaching versus coaching that aims to build the inner world of the client.

Coaching seems to straddle the world of supporting performance and enabling people’s lives more fully. These two goals may sometimes be at odds and may also need different ways of working. For example for performance coaching, we may be more prescriptive and step by step in approach and for enabling people to live better we may focus on supporting their inner worlds to develop more fully and enhance their ability to make choices that serve them better.

There is some coaching that focuses on performance, and often in a step-by-step and technical way, for example, Three Steps to Being an authentic leader. While performance coaching is useful in some situations it does not ultimately build the inner world of the client. A rich inner world adds behavioral options and agility and ultimately enables us and our clients to navigate the difficult and trauma-ridden we currently live in as well as build capacity for difference and diversity. I think as coaches we should all hold the meta-objectives of building individualism, the capacity to self-reflect, hold engaged relationships, and create meaning as a way to avoid clients becoming stuck in formulaic and objectified versions of themselves.

Have a think about the type of coaching you do. It is unlikely that you do one or the other, but it is useful to consider where the majority of your work falls and whether this serves you and your clients well.