What is High Performance Coaching?

High Performance Coaching

Who is high performance coaching for?

One of the biggest misconceptions about high performance coaching is that it’s only for elite performers when actually it helps anyone reach their peak performance in so many different areas of their lives.

In the business world, high performance coaching guides managers to improve their performance at work and equip them with the knowledge to make their workplace a high-performance environment where everybody is given the tools to perform at their best.

In sport, high-performance coaching helps athletes and teams achieve peak performance through expert guidance and scientifically backed techniques.

There are so many parallels between the business and sports world when it comes to high-performance coaching. I am fortunate to have an extensive background in professional sports coaching, as well as business coaching

Why Do We Need High Performance Coaching?

What is holding you back from achieving your goals?

Is it a lack of motivation, will power, or self-discipline? High performance coaching will give you the keys to unlock your full potential through support and expert guidance.

High-performance coaching is helpful in so many areas, including the following:

Career – Coaching can help you make clear plans and goals for your career and show you how to achieve them. It will also teach you valuable leadership skills.

Behaviour – High performance coaching teaches you how to break bad habits and how to form good ones.
Coping with setbacks – If you suffer an unfortunate setback, whether in your career or personal life, high-performance coaching can help people recover.

Stress management and mental resilience – High performance coaching will teach you techniques to cope with stress, avoid burnout and have a better work/life balance. Check out our understanding stress tolerance video here.

Influences On High Performance

Flow States

I am sure that most people will have heard of the term “flow” and its links with peak performance. The godfather of flow is a researcher called Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. His 1990 paper “Flow: The psychology of optimal experience” has been cited over 35,500 times in academic papers.

So, what are flow states?

“Flow states are defined as optimal states of consciousness. These are states where you feel your best, and you perform your best” – Flow Genome Project.

From Csikszentmihalyi’s work, there seems to be some clear pre-conditioning to get in a flow state, and high-performance coaching will teach you how to get into a flow state:

1. Complete Concentration
When was the last time that you were 100% concentrated on one task, and for a time, you only focused on that task? Nowadays, this is nearly possible unless we set up the environment to help with this.

2. Clear Goals
We all set goals, but we must make sure that they are clear and specific. Lack of understanding of what needs to be done is a sure way to lack of success.

3. Challenge/skill balance
This is the hardest pre-conditioning in my mind. We need to find the task challenging enough to drive dopamine and motivations but not too much to become anxious.

high performance coaching

Mental state in terms of challenge level and skill level, according to Csikszentmihalyi’s flow model. Csikszentmihalyi, M., Finding Flow, 1997, p. 31

4. The experience is intrinsically rewarding
This can be a difficult one to understand for many people. But think about the different activities that drive massive amounts of flow – skiing, surfing, playing a musical instrument – as based on intrinsical rewards. From a work standpoint, it’s the idea of purpose and whether the job is fulfilling.

5. Effortlessness and ease
Again, due to the mixture of neurochemicals, activities feel easier, different areas of the brain are being activated. Therefore complex problems become easier to solve.

6. Actions and awareness are merged
We feel and do; it’s that simple. Sometimes, it feels that we are already doing the activity before we have thought about it.

7. Feeling of control
There must have been a time in your life when you feel in total control and have confidence in what you could do.

Check out our full resource of flow here and group flow here.

Emotional Interference

Coaching author Tim Gallwey has a simple formula for performance:

Performance = Potential – Interference

The “interference” he’s referring to is emotional interference. This emotional interference gets in the way of us achieving peak performance. Examples of interfering emotions are anxiety, guilt, and fear. High performance coaches can help you understand your true potential and support you in addressing these interfering emotions.


In a nutshell, high performance coaching is about helping people become the best version of themselves and achieve their goals. It’s especially beneficial for career or life planning, coping with stress, honing leadership skills and behaviour-change.

Check out our free guide to help optimise your stress response here.


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