The Dynamics of High-Performance and Result

In my work as an experienced Performance Coach for corporate organizations and entrepreneurs, I clearly understand that what most people call high-performance does not fit the proper definition of performance. Performance is not just the execution of actions to get by. High performance occurs not when someone accomplishes a task that he or she was told, compelled, or coarse to do. Instead, high performance occurs when an individual or a group of individuals deliver beyond what is expected.

Such performance level requires people to set their own highest standards, not as a deviation from the original, but a standard that will lead to improvement in quality when accomplished. The trouble is that such level of performance cannot be achieved until the people are inspired (empowered) by their leaders to express full potential.


The Impact of Potential on Performance

The expression of full potential is prerequisite for creating higher levels of performance. Why not? Because until people express full potential for the jobs they do, they cannot be held fully responsible for the results they produce. The results would be partly their potential and someone else’s, but people who express full potential take total ownership. Let me explain this potential thing a little more deeply.

Performance breakdown does occur at all levels of the organization, not because people are not educated, lacked experienced, not smart, or not skillful. More often than we think, a breakdown in performance occurs because of the disconnection between an individual and his or her natural potential. Contrary to general opinions, more than 90 percent of employees (the People) in various organizations are qualified for the jobs they do. They are determined to take actions with discipline and smart enough to make results happen. The problem is; they are seldom empowered to express their core potentials in full. Understanding this is crucial because several psychological factors ranging from fear, emotional distress, low-self esteem, and other dysfunctional behaviours can disconnect a person, even the best CEO from his or her potential. And the person’s productivity nose-dives when that occurs.

Here are some examples…


“Uche was 43 when she was newly appointed Managing Director of a global insurance company. Her target was to turn around the performance of a business failing behind targets in a volatile competitive marketplace. Initially, Uche felt isolated and overwhelmed…”


“In her early forty, Kemi was a likable Deputy General Manager with a high street bank. She enjoys working in a team but found it really challenging to manage poor performance and difficult team members. Kemi was invited to step into her General Manager’s role, who was on maternity leave. Management sought for an opportunity for Kemi to develop her strategic and people Management skills but she was afraid she would fail.”


“Ahmed, 37, Cambridge alumnus and a smart Corporate Executive. Chris was a rising star in the financial reporting division of a major accountancy firm. At 37, his excellent track record resulted in him being groomed for a partner position in his firm. But Ahmed was competitively aggressive. His abrasive behaviour towards his colleagues and seniors began to threaten his career. Feedback from a few senior people was taken casually, and things were gradually getting off the track for him…”


“More often than we think, a breakdown in performance occurs because of the disconnection between an individual and his or her natural potential.” This is a big idea!


Finding A Way Out

For most leaders and organizations, training is the traditional cure (strategy) for dealing with or fixing lack of performance. Deploying training is a great idea for skills acquisition, but training does not sustain performance and productivity. I am not suggesting that training isn’t good, after all, our firm, Cognition Global Concepts offers some of the very best advanced strategic leadership masterclasses. The point I am making is that deploying training alone is not sufficient for creating and sustaining high-performance. For example, no amount of training can help Uche to overcome isolation. Kemi cannot possibly overcome her fear by attending the best training in the world, and Ahmed’s abrasive behaviour is not an issue that training can fix. A new effective approach is therefore required.

After supporting several senior executives to overcome seemingly huge performance obstacles to multiply productivity, we have come to terms that coaching is the one powerful tool that can be deployed to improve performance. Not only will coaching help to improve performance, it unlocks potential, improves self-awareness, clarifies goals, creates accountability, and achieves people’s developmental objectives; the core role of leadership and management.

Both leaders and managers need to understand the real concept and impact of coaching. For example, coaching shares different views from mentoring, consulting, counseling, training, or teaching. Great coaches understand that they are experts only in the facilitation of the coaching framework, while the client is the expert on his her job. Therefore, real professional coaches do not offer suggestions, advise, or fix problems except where the client wants, but with a caveat. 

So, you are wondering in your mind, what’s the need for the coaching engagement, then? I’ll tell you!


Why You Need a Coach

Leaders and managers need experienced coaches to help them identify what is most important in their career and life, so they can focus on them and accelerate success.

Here are some more reasons why you need to work with a coach.

  • Develop Self-Awareness:

    Become constantly aware of every aspect of your tasks, and the actions that are relevant for you to achieve your goals.
  • Gain Vivid Clarity:

    Clearly identify the gaps between where you are in your life or career, where you want to be, and what it will take you to get there.
  • Take Responsibility:

    Truly choose, accept, and take ownership of your thoughts, actions, and commitment to execute and change your results.
  • Feel Satisfied and Fulfilled:

    Your coach will help to identify and align your work with your values, so you can feel the satisfaction of your contribution to your personal and professional growth.

One mistake I see most managers make, when it comes to performance evaluation and improvement is limiting people within the confines of their current realities, without considering what they are capable of doing; potential. Coaching can transform the worse performer into a high-performance talent, and it takes only about 60 minutes of conversation in a week to make such a great transformation happen. The challenge is that managers and leaders need to learn and acquire coaching skills to be able to help their staff and subordinates maximize potential.

Author: Nkem Mpamah
Nkem Mpamah is Nigeria's #1 business coach, leadership, and strategy consultant for the services industry. Nkem coaches successful entrepreneurs to improve performance, increase competitiveness, and expand their entrepreneurial freedoms. He is the founder of Cognition Global Concepts, and creator of the Growth Syndicate Program." Nkem is author of "The ART of Achievement and Fulfillment", and "The Entrepreneur".

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