Coaching For Maximum Performance Potential

Guest Column article for ICMA Future Leaders Newsletter by Jill Watt, Executive Coach at The Preston Associates

(March, 2019).






As an executive coach, I am passionate about helping individuals realise their ‘best performance potential’ and how they can continually perform at that level. As leaders, I believe we first need to be fully self-aware of our own values, beliefs and strengths and how these ‘show-up’ in our performance. At times, they will help us and at other times they can hinder us in delivering our best performance.



“Before we can successfully lead others, we need to lead ourselves”.



To perform at maximum potential, I believe, leaders need to be coached, or coach themselves continually to deliver that performance; in the same way as any high performing sports player. However, no-one will be more interested in your performance than you. So, take interest daily.


Using the following coaching framework, I help my clients think about their performance and what they need to focus on or change in order to improve their performance.


At The Preston Associates, we developed, and use, the performance equation of P=CxA².



To start this process, you have to start with the P. Ask yourself, “WHAT Performance is expected of me/us? WHAT do I/We want to deliver?” and importantly, “Is this clearly defined?”. It sometimes helps to think about, what will be different for you, your team, shareholders and customers as a result of what you will deliver (your Performance) in the next 12-18 months. Once this is defined, you can validate and share your expected Performance; and importantly regularly recognise your success against delivering it.


Secondly, think about your Capability or Competence to deliver against this Performance expectation. “Do I have the right resources? Do I need to ask for help from others? Do I need a mentor or advisor? Do I or my team need training?”


The final part of the equation – Attitude – is arguably the most important driver of our performance, hence it is squared. This is about the mindset and behaviour you bring to your Performance each day. Are you bringing your most positive mind-set to deliver your maximum performance? We cannot deliver at our best if we have the wrong behaviours or a negative mind-set. Our attitude is driven by what we think, and therefore what we feel and how we behave; and all are entirely in our control. So, listen to your ‘voice’ and check-in regularly to what you’re thinking, and hence your mind-set.


The key as leaders, who want to deliver against their maximum potential performance, is to check in to the equation continually. It can be as simple as asking daily “How am I delivering against WHAT I want to achieve or WHAT is expected of me?” and perhaps even going as far as rating yourself in percentage terms. “How was my mind-set and behaviour today? And what would I change tomorrow to deliver my ‘best performance potential.’”


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