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a blog by Chris Barrow

Therapy versus Performance Coaching - how you approach your team can make a big difference

There's a great deal of difference between a Therapist and a Performance Coach.

As an owner or manager, you have to understand that difference and decide (sometimes in each individual circumstance) which approach you intend to take.

That choice is critical as, if you make the wrong decision, you are likely to make matters worse not better.

Therapy is about understanding what the past has to say about current behaviour - why people have become the way they are. The therapist examines that past with the team member, sympathises and asks them to look inside themselves for both explanations and solutions.

Therapists accept the premise that people are broken and need fixing, then they intervene as a catalyst to suggest solutions for the person to begin healing themselves.

The performance coach, however, takes a more radical approach that can be best summarised as:

  1. Listen;

  2. Reassure;

  3. Inspire;

  4. Move on.

There's little sympathy in there, beyond the listening phase.

Once the performance coach understands the nature of the problem, they are rapidly into solutions mode.

"I get what your problem is. I know that others have beaten this. So can you. Let's get started."

Why did someone once describe me as Mr. Marmite?

Because I'm a lousy therapist - but I'm a very good performance coach.

Ask yourself as an owner or manager - which of these are you?

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