Strategies to coach high performers

| 10 Apr 2018

As an agency leader, do you struggle to mentor and coach your high performers? We speak with an experienced agency leader* on what you can do.

If you have a high performing adviser or manager in your team, you would recognise some of these characteristics in them: confident, self-directed, crave autonomy, have low tolerance for mediocrity and loathe failure.

They are self-motivated and look to improve their performance and exceed the goals they set for themselves.

You have a gem on your hands if these high achievers are also team players who put the interests of the collective before self. But oftentimes, the flip side to having high performers in your team is that they may also come across as aggressive, arrogant and selfish. Sometimes they also have an inflated sense of their skills and talents. As an agency leader and coach, you have to embrace their positive attributes with the negative.  

Know when to ask for help

High performers want to reach for the stars. Whatever your mentee’s dreams and goals, if you have not been there and done that, he would expect you to be able to help him on his journey.

If you are not a good match, you need to know when to ask for help. Is your personal mentor around to hold some joint-coaching sessions together with you? Are there fellow agency leaders you can trust and bring them into some of these coaching sessions to help your high performers?

Read also:

Want to be a leader your team will give their sweat and tears to see your vision come alive? Here's how

Help your experienced advisers to breakthrough to their next level

Because the last thing you want is for your top advisers to leave because they feel that they are not able to get the support and help they need from you to succeed in this career.

1. Focus on relationships

You need to focus on the relationship as much as goals. Do you know your advisers well enough to understand their “whys”? Seek out what drives them so you can be by their side encouraging and mentoring them.

Sometimes high achievers are so determined to achieve their goals, they may appear to take relationships with other members in your team for granted. So help them to become aware of their influence and impact in the team. This has the added benefits of helping to promote positivity and to set high standards in your agency.

2. Get them to mentor

Ask your high performers to mentor other advisers or aspiring leaders. This is one of the best ways to engage a high performer and also strengthen the coaching culture in your team. This also helps to avoid the issue highlighted previously on how some high achievers are so determined to achieve their goals, they may unwittingly alienate other team members or be seen as selfish.

Coaching others will also help to keep high achievers engaged and interested to learn leadership skills and grow their skill set. It may also have the added benefit of enabling them to see things and challenges from your perspective as a mentor which will strengthen your relationship.

3. Praise them

Sometimes the easiest thing to do for a great mentor-mentee relationship is also the hardest. Remember to praise them!

Because these high achievers consistently set such high standards, the tendency is to see their performance as a norm. But just like anyone else, high performers need praise. So make sure they are seen, heard, and acknowledged, so they feel appreciated. Praises are free, don’t skimp on them just because they are a high performer.  

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*The agency leader declined to be named.