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The Performance Coach blog

Below you'll find some interesting articles about developments in the world of coaching and leadership development. Enjoy, and if you'd like to subscribe to posts, just join our mailing list here.


Creating “time to lead”: 3 steps towards the creation of increased leadership capacity

High performing teams make a great difference - at an individual, team, organisational and system level.

For many people however, their experience of working within a team, particularly when under pressure, is often less than great – and can be marked by a level of frustration at

  • the lack of clarity within the team on processes, ways of working and the team disciplines that create effective collaboration
  • lack of attention paid to the team dynamics and relationships that can support (or hinder) successful outcomes.

Team Coaching provides a powerful development intervention that brings individuals together to develop their own skills, awareness and learning as a team, helping them to become more effective, efficient and focused in reaching agreed objectives.

Team coaching can deliver increased leadership and performance capacity in many ways. Our experience tells us that focusing on the following 3 areas are particularly important:

Team objectives

It is important to ensure that there is a strong understanding of the team’s purpose and the required objectives that enable the team to work together to achieve results in an increasingly self-sufficient manner.

  • How do you and all your team share and align the teams and individual objectives?
  • To what extent does your team value individual contribution and joint contribution?
  • What are the team processes and disciplines that you and your team have created and fully committed to that enable your team to work effectively and productively?

Roles and responsibilities

It is essential that team members gain clarity on what is required and expected of them in their role, and the level of collaboration required with other team members and stakeholders.

  • How often does your team share their expectations or assumptions about each other, their roles and responsibilities?
  • How often do you review your approach to stakeholder management and better understand their expectations and assumptions of others?
  • How often do you share your learning as a team to enable even better results?

Change, transition and ambiguity

It is important that teams understand how to work more effectively during periods of complexity and change.

  • What is the impact of change for your team currently - internally and at an organisational or system level?
  • How can you create space and time to ensure you are dealing strategically with the impact of change and build resilience within your team – and other teams you engage with?
  • What do you appreciate as your team’s key strengths in working under pressure and how can you enable its members to use these strengths more often?

Our approach is to ensure that the business case for the development of a team is clearly understood by all – and then to help and where necessary challenge teams to OWN and take responsibility for their own ‘development agenda’. Supported by a bespoke series of workshops, individual and team coaching, and observed ‘live’ meetings where teams are able to apply new learning to real situations, we enable teams to create and apply practical, phased and stretching development activities – and to then learn from such application; building the internal capacity of the team to respond effectively to old and new situations, productively, innovatively and with resilience.

Team coaching and the impact of effective team leadership will be a central focus of our virtual leadership summit (9-13 February 2015) - the summit will offer you a series of stimulating webinars and interactive debates involving a wide range of experts and guest speakers. You can register for the summit here.

You can find out more about our team coaching services here.


Using reflective and therapeutic writing for coaches and coach supervisors

Our next webinar, hosted by Jackee Holder, will confirm and consider the benefits of reflective and therapeutic writing. The session will present a range of reflective and therapeutic writing techniques and approaches designed to develop and strengthen own self-awareness, confidence and competence through reflective and therapeutic writing and working with your ‘internal coach’. The techniques shared are applicable to both coach and coachee’s and work in groups and teams. 

After being given an overview of a selection of some of the most recent research theories, attendees will be introduced to a range of reflective and therapeutic writing practices, which offer insightful, transferrable tools for personal and professional development, problem solving and generating a more mindful, reflexive approach to the way in which you work. 

The webinar leader will share three practice examples from her work as an executive coach highlighting the use of reflective and therapeutic writing as coaching tools in 1:1 executive coaching sessions.

This will be followed by sharing ideas about the value of developing an informed reflective writing practice and how this contributes to coaches sharing their expertise and knowledge by building a body of written work communicated via articles, blogs and developing resources for workshops and speaking engagements.

The webinar will wrap up with a short written action plan and reflective writing practice to bring together the learning from the session.

You can sign up for the webinar here.

Benefits of webinar attendance 

  • Learn about the growing body of research that evidences the benefits of reflective and therapeutic writing
  • Gain an opportunity to engage in a sample of reflective and creative writing practices to share in your coaching and coach supervision practices.
  • Discover different methods and ways to integrate reflective writing as a personal and professional development tool in your own coaching and supervision practice.
  • Learn how embedding a reflective writing practice impacts and grows your unique signature as a coach/supervisor creating opportunities for writing articles, blogs, e-products and contribute to you becoming an expert and thought leader in your particular area of knowledge and expertise.

By the end of the webinar you will leave with:

  • a selection of reflective and therapeutic writing techniques to embed into your work as a coach or a coach supervisor
  • a sense of direction of how you will either build or add to your own bod plan of how to grow your coaching business using writing reflectively and creatively
  • the understanding and knowledge of knowing that nothing you write is ever wasted.

About Jackee Holder

Jackee is an experienced executive coach and coach trainer with over 20 years experience of coaching, facilitating and training in both the private and public sectors including design and delivery of accredited coach training programmes for the National Bank Of Abu Dhabi and FE colleges across the UK. 

Jackee’s background is in learning and development, coaching and leadership programmes. Jackee coaches senior and emerging leaders and was recently appointed to the NHS Coach register. 

Jackee is the author of four non-fiction books and will be referencing some of the research content of her most recent publication 49 Ways To Write Yourself Well: The wisdom and science of writing and journaling for this webinar. 

She is a passionate advocate of the benefits for self-growth and reaching your authentic potential and success through therapeutic and reflective writing. 


Coaching and the neuropsychology of relationships

On 28 August 2014 at 14:00 (BST), Virginia Brown, co-author of ‘Neuropsychology for Coaches,’ will be delivering the 3rd webinar in our series of webinars on coaching and neuroscience / neuropsychology; you can register to watch the new webinar here, or follow the links for the previous sessions below.

In session 3, Virginia will be focusing on ‘coaching and the neuropsychology of relationships.’

We are “wired to connect” to others; it seems to be instinctive and even as very young babies we are able to imitate facial expressions in order to form and strengthen social bonds. Experience shapes each brain in a unique way, through the synaptic connections that are established, and the experiences that we have of early relationships have a profound impact on our relationships (and expectations of them) throughout our lives. 

During this webinar we will explore some of the emerging evidence for these assertions and consider the implications that this has for us as coaches and for our client work.

We'd love you to join us: you can register to watch the webinar here.


Coaching and NLP part 3 - our next free webinar

NLP jigsaw

On 21 July at 14:00 (BST), we will be hosting our next free coaching webinar, which is part 3 of our Coaching and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) series.

NLP Coaching develops the coachee’s awareness of how they subconsciously organise what they see, hear, feel and how they edit and filter the outside world through their senses.  It provides them with insight of how their language and their resultant actions stem directly from the way they have structured their understanding of the world.

In Part 1 of this series, Damion and Janey discussed the background to NLP and some key concepts utilised in their coaching practice, specifically on working with coachees to shift an unresourceful state and how to flex your style as a coach and develop an effective working alliance. (You can watch this webinar here).

In Part 2, Damion and Janey explored the “Meta Model” as a way of enabling our coachees to become aware of the patterns and meaning of their language - the language they use both internally and externally and how it influences their map of the world, their state and outcomes. (You can watch this webinar here).

Part 3, will shift focus directly onto us as coaches and provide us with individual reflection and insight of how we can become resourceful in our work.  During this session, Janey will take you through a number of NLP coaching approaches she utilises in her practice with leaders that have outcomes on becoming more confident or finding their sense of authority or personal power in their work.

“Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.”

Mahatma Gandhi

This will be a reflective and interactive webinar with an experiential component so please prepare yourself for this session by reflecting upon a recent coaching experience where you felt less confident in your work, experienced deference or were curious about your reactions after the session.

Sign up for the free webinar here.


Managing transference and countertransference

Fingers pointing at each other

This is a guest post by one of our Postgraduate Diploma in Coaching and Development students, Nicola Williams

Within a coaching relationship, unchecked transference can hinder the ability to hold positive regard and a non-judgemental position and research has found it is often the cause of the deterioration of a coaching relationship. In this blog post, I offer three steps the coach might use to help manage these processes.

What is transference and countertransference?

Transference and countertransference are two related psychological processes. Transference occurs all the time in everyday interactions and is where we may be reminded of someone in the behaviour of others or where previous memories are triggered. Countertransference is a specific reaction by the coach to the client’s transference. Here are some examples to help illustrate:


  • I have the strongest sense at this moment that my boss is just like my beloved father

  • I experience the same emotions towards a team colleague that I felt towards my brother, with whom I competed

  • My current work situation feels just like a traumatic period at school in my teenage years


  • Giving longer sessions than is useful to the client

  • Never challenging the client for fear of losing her love

  • Avoiding confrontation out of her own fear of anger

  • Unconsciously using the client’s dependency to feel powerful

  • Fulfilling her needs for intimacy

  • Giving unnecessary advice out of a need to be an authority

  • Overvaluing the client’s progress for her own success

(See references 1 and 2)

Most research on this topic comes from psychotherapy, where the way of managing transference and countertransference would be to bring it into the room, and use it as part of the therapy process.  There is also some research relating to mentoring, for for example where separation anxiety occurs for the mentor as their mentee reminds them of a time when their own opportunities for promotion were blocked (3).

Research in coaching focuses on transference occurring by the client rather than by the coach, but it can also occur between the coach and client or the client/coach and something or someone in their wider system, be it an individual or an organization.  In team coaching, the challenge of managing transference and countertransference is increased, as the relational spaces in which it can occur are clearly multiplied.

The focus for most of the literature on transference and countertransference in mentoring and coaching is on identification that transference and countertransference is occurring, rather than on methods of managing it.   

Practical ways to help manage transference and countertransference

From a review of the literature and my own interviews with some coaches, it is clear there are a number of ways to more actively attend to these processes, which increases the coach’s choice about how or when to manage them. The factors that help manage countertransference in psychotherapy (but I suggest are as relevant to coaching) are:

  1. Empathy

  2. Self-insight

  3. Conceptual ability

  4. High therapist self-integration (i.e. the less unresolved inner conflicts the therapist has)

  5. Low therapist anxiety

Below is a summary of three practical steps a coach might take to attend to these:

Step 1: Increase your own awareness of when it is occurring

  • Ensure you are aware of own countertransference

  • Attend to client transference patterns from the start

  • Notice resistance to coaching

  • Pick up on cues that may be defences

  • Follow anxieties

  • Spot feelings and wishes beneath those anxieties

See references, point (4)

Step 2: Reflect

Self-reflection, the development of the inner supervisor and coaching supervision all increase coach self-insight, resolve inner conflicts and reduce coach anxiety.

Research shows supervision in particular is an important method in increasing awareness of the coach. In psychotherapy the counsellor must have worked on their own psychological history in order to be clear what is their own response and what is their client’s. In coaching, this may not be part of the supervisory relationship as it will depend on the skills of the supervisor. In a survey of 376 coaches, 70% had discussed unconscious processes in supervision (5).

Step 3:  Develop your ‘in the moment’ techniques

If noticed during a session, use presencing or centering techniques, such as mindful breathing to reduce the likelihood of countertransference occurring.   


  1. Thornton, C. (2010) Group & Team Coaching: the essential guide. Sussex, UK: Routledge.

  2. Whitmore, D. (2014) Psychosynthesis Counselling in Action, 4th Edition. London: Sage.

  3. Mcauley, M.J. (2003) Transference, countertransference and mentoring:The ghost in the process, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 31:1, 11-23.

  4. De Haan, E. (2011) Back to basics: How the discovery of transference is relevant for coaches and consultants today. International Coaching Psychology Review, 6(2); 180-193.

  5. Turner, E. (2010) Coaches' views on the relevance of unconscious dynamics to executive coaching, Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 3:1,12-29