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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.


Three-way contracting: 10 top tips

To follow on from our recent '3 way contracting for 1-2-1 coaching programmes’ webinar (click here or scroll down to view), here are our top ten tips for introducing this approach to your coaching programmes:
  1. We always recommend working with an HR / L&D Sponsor to educate and gain support from senior levels of organisation for the introduction of three way contracting conversations to coaching programmes. This is the same for internal and external coaching and is an important step to maximise the wider sponsorship and recognition of coaching within an organisation. 
  2. During briefing sessions, you can help educate the line manager / sponsor and coachee regarding the purpose of this process, the benefits and expectations of all parties.
  3. Sometimes coaches are concerned regarding the introduction of the line manager in case this has a negative impact (due to the relationship they hold with the team member). The HR or L&D team can support you by checking and  reviewing the health of the relationship between the line manager and coachee. They can always involve an alternative business sponsor if the relationship is poor or if this relationship forms part of the focus for the coaching programme.
  4. We recommend setting the three way meeting to happen after the initial chemistry and contracting session with the coachee . This enables you to develop the start of an effective working relationship with the coachee on a 1-2-1 basis  as well as preparing them for the three way meeting.
  5. We suggest using templates for private and public goals to ensure there is a written record; the public goals can then be shared with the line manager / sponsor.
  6. Between the contracting session and the three way meeting, you can ask the coachee to discuss the public goals before the next session with the line manager or business sponsor. This also maintains responsibility with these parties rather than you holding this.
  7. Before holding your first three way meeting, we would encourage you to discuss this with your coaching supervisor - they can help you reflect and consider your approach in terms of managing the session as a horizontal, adult to adult conversation. Remember the notion of psychological distance we discussed during the webinar and the importance of three way contracting to manage this.
  8. A high level of transparency and openness is required from the manager / sponsor and the coachee during the meeting.  It is essential that there are no ‘hidden’ agendas and that the unspoken is spoken. You may therefore need to prepare each party for meeting if this is their first time. In terms of the public goals, you can also facilitate a conversation about shared expectations and the psychological contract; ask the line manager to share feedback on how they experience the coachee and the coachee to voice the organisational support they require.
  9. After the three way discussion, when the sponsor /manager has left the meeting, you can revisit the ‘private’ goals with the coachee as new outcomes may have emerged in terms of how they want to address and respond to the ‘public’ goals.
  10. Finally, it is not always possible to hold a three way conversation, so it is important for you to consider how can you ensure that the organisational expectations and required public goals are discussed more explicitly during your contracting sessions.    


Three-way contracting: an introduction

Three way contracting image

by Damion Wonfor 

The below post accompanies our forthcoming free webinar on three-way contracting (23 February 2015 at 3pm). You can register to watch it here.

“We have seen many coaching engagements fail because they were conducted in a vacuum.” (Byham, Smith and Paese, 2002, p.252)

"In my idealistic past I used to contend that a coaching relationship and its content were nothing to do with the boss. I now see this as naive and realise that a coachee’s boss has a massive stake in the successful outcome of a coaching intervention not least because they’re often providing the budget for it.” (Somers, 2007, p.270)

In 2007, research from the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 2007, p.5) found that “…most organisations we researched set organisational / business as well as personal objectives for each coaching contract and tended to monitor them on an individual relationship basis. This seems to work best when this activity is carried out as a three- or four-cornered contract involving line managers and development/HR staff working together.” Since then, there has been continued recognition from organisations that business involvement in contracting ("three-way contracting") often drives greater success for 1-2-1 coaching programmes. In addition, our experience has continually shown that involving organisations in setting goals for coaching programmes within their business drives the additional and wider benefits of their ownership, sponsorship and support of coaching as a development tool for their staff.

Through gaining the support of senior leaders and involving the business in setting the agenda, coaching can start to support the strategic and business objectives as well as individuals. From lessons learnt by organisations using coaching it has been found that “coaching was felt to be most effective when it was explicitly linked to wider business goals. This helped to build credibility and gain buy-in as people could see that it was designed to support them in achieving their own goals.” (Jarvis, Lane and Fillery Travis, 2006, p.76).

Coaching must serve the organisation and the individual; this requires the coach to strike a balance between the individual and the organisation to engage both and ensure the coaching meets both parties' expectations. By striking this balance, the individual, coach and manager can work together to support the coaching programme with performance improvement as the end goal. (Additionally, it is worth remembering that when an organisation funds a coaching programme it often wants input into the objectives for the coaching assignment and expects to see return on investment.)

Today more coaches now recognise the organisation as the client as well as the coachee and are focussing more on the input from the organisation as they understand the benefits this can bring to their relationship with the individual. At The Performance Coach, we believe coaches have to take responsibility for this by explicitly involving and educating the business; however, our experiences continually show that often the organisation is still not being brought into the contracting stage of the coaching programme due to the perceived complexity this may bring. Coaches often ask us:

  • whether this third dimension truly adds value to the success of the programme?
  • what is the real purpose of introducing three-way contracting at the start of a coaching programme?
  • what are the benefits to the various parties?
  • what do I need to do to prepare for a three-way meeting?
  • how can I manage potential conflicts and create a transparent contracting process with all parties concerned?

During our free webinar on three-way contracting, our UK Partner Damion Wonfor will explore these key themes and share experiences and approaches for facilitating an effective three way contracting process for a 1-2-1 coaching programme.

The webinar takes place on 23 February at 3pm GMT. You can register to attend here.


Webinar: women in leadership - an introduction

by Kate Hesk and Damion Wonfor, The Performance Coach UK

In this webinar Kate Hesk and Damion Wonfor, Partners at The Performance Coach UK, introduce the area of women in leadership and present an overview of the content that you can enjoy as part of our Virtual Leadership Summit's Women in Leadership day.

About the presenters

Kate Hesk

Kate Hesk is a Partner of The Performance Coach UK. She specialises in coaching individuals and teams through change, including major business change; areas of specialism include mentoring, self-leadership and personal growth techniques, leadership and team development programmes.

Kate has coached and trained many and varied clients including directors, Managing Directors and leaders at all levels in small and large organisations by utilising a combination of hard, sophisticated business skills and a personable and approachable style.

Damion Wonfor

Damion is also a Partner at The Performance Coach UK. He has coached at all levels within organisations, working with high potentials, directors, executives and leadership teams across a variety of functions. He is passionate about building strong relationships with his clients and helping individuals and teams explore their leadership styles to make sustainable changes to their behaviour. He brings a high degree of presence, support and challenge to enable his clients to fully embrace change.


Need to enhance your leadership presence? Go to the respect zone

by Ausra Bijaminiene, The Performance Coach Nordic

In this article Ausra Bijaminiene, who works with The Performance Coach Nordic, discusses the concept of leadership presence and explains why the 'Respect Zone' is such a key part of it.

During my 16 years experience in the corporate world as Head of Human Resources in several countries, I have crafted my own practical definition of what is grounded in the essence of Leadership Presence.

Your Leadership Presence starts with your personal values. That's the core of your authenticity. No one expects you to be the next Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg or Oprah Winfrey. You have your own preferences, character, and life passion. When you take your authentic decisions based on your guiding principles, you don't waste time to hesitate. I start each engagement with a new executive coaching client with a Personal Values session. Quite many of them try to resist, saying that they know everything about themselves and we can go to the next topic. But I insist that we dig deeper into authentic personal values first and in most cases we then discover their true "wow" moment shortly afterwards. After that we step into a natural flow of priorities and make a genuine difference.

The next layer is your intelligence - your 'content'. This covers your environmental radar, judgement ability and width of your world outlook. Emotional intelligence is a huge part of things here: how well you understand yourself and others, how well you are able to manage yourself as well as your relationships with the other people. Without the content in today's business world, a person is just "an empty suit" or "an empty dress".

One more significant component is unbeatable self-confidence. Your steps should be so strong that you will not dissolve in a crowd. Stand strongly on the ground. Love yourself and trust yourself. No one else will do that for you, and it's obvious that no one will follow a leader who hesitates or changes opinion several times a day. People want to follow strong leaders in good times and bad.

Your exterior layer is like the cover of the book. In Leadership Presence arena it is the way you speak, look an behave with the other people. Make sure your attire, body language and posture signals your leadership presence. Today we sit a lot: in the meetings, planes, cars, at home. Make sure you stand tall and stretch your shoulders. You will look and feel better. Let your speach be concise and clear. People don't have time to listen to long and boring stories, therefore have your own TED talk ready every time you have to speak in public. Proven life and leadership wisdom tells us that people will not remember all the numbers or graphs you are showing, but they will definitely remember how you made them feel.

Genuine leadership presence happens in the only place on Earth - I call it the Respect Zone. The zone where you say "I am ok" - I am not too young or too old or not ready. If I do not know, I will learn. I trust myself and love myself unconditionally. And the people who are next to me - my bosses, employees, partners, customers, friends and family - they are also ok. I trust and respect them. If you have some issues with a person, solve them, or help a person to solve them. Arrogant, angry, tired or apathetic leaders have a short and unstable perspective.

Sounds demanding and really challenging? Yes, it is! Being a leader is a challenging role, as everybody is watching you, every minute - in meetings, presentations, or during lunch time. Every day as a leader you share and distribute yourself in the form of advice, decisions, mentorship, support and negotiations with/to your employees, partners, clients, shareholders, family, friends and other people. Therefore, it is an absolute must to unconditionally love yourself and ensure superb self-care. It's like the roots of a tree. When you make sure your roots are strong and healthy, then self-confidence, stress resistance and life passion come to your life with ease. All this will lead to success, financial independence, joy, happiness, inner peace, achievements and all the abundance you need. Start in the right place.

Leadership Presence can be developed, it is not in someone's DNA. You can develop it by reflecting on events and situations, practicing some behaviors or communication patters, finding a mentor who advices you and gives open feedback, hiring a experienced Executive Coach who will support you in your journey or attending a special Leadership Presence development program.

I sincerely wish you to experience your authentic joy of making a significant difference in people's lives.

About the author

Ausra Bijaminiene is Leadership Strategist and Executive Coach helping intelligent and ambitious people to discover opportunities in their life and businesses.

She works with The Performance Coach Nordic.


Video: growing a million dolar salesforce with Qatari women

Video featuring Helen Loveday and Susie Kelt of The Performance Coach Dubai

In the above video, we see an interview between Helen Loveday and Susie Kelt of TPC Dubai.

During this interview, Helen focuses on Susie’s recent experiences in Doha, where she created and then led the Vodafone Al Johara Women’s Sales Channel.

The initiative was acclaimed by MWomen (Global Change Organisation), The Cherie Blair Foundation and Stanford University’s Innovation Global Review as representing a best practice framework for emerging nations to empower women globally as Susie recruited and developed Qatari women into successful mini, mobile entrepreneurs within their traditional communities. Within the video Helen and Susie explore the challenges encountered throughout the project, since the women had never worked and all but two did not speak English. There were also community, cultural and traditional considerations which added a complex dimension to the project.

In the video Helen explores the similarities of the leadership qualities required and demonstrated to succeed in any project. These key leadership attributes were exhibited by Susie and by the women themselves as they came together to build success as individuals, unique business entrepreneurs and as women.