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The Role of Performance Coaching in Business Building

By Jackie Luo, TCV Growth Partner -

Behind every Olympic medal winner and every champion team, there are a team of coaches. Some focus on athletics, some focus on nutrition, and others focus on mental fitness. To compete at the highest level, winners rely more on their mindsets than their athleticism. That’s why “performance coaching” is essential for a winning athlete and a winning team. It is not only essential for sports, but also for business building.

What is “Performance coaching”? It is a combination of counseling, support and coaching. It focuses less on the craft itself; rather, it focuses on the minds that perform the craft, whether it’s mountain climbing or closing an enterprise software sale. However, it is the required step for anyone to move beyond from being “good” to “great” at their craft.

Performance coaching is essential for business building, although it is not a standard operation yet. In most companies, the HR department is responsible for training and coaching, but these efforts focus on “performance management”, targeting job skills, or the “craft”, rather than mindsets. The goal is to bring the individual performance to the “expected level”, rather than pushing individuals to perform at their highest level.

While performance coaching is not widely adopted in companies, it exists in some elite corners of the business world. For example, the famous motivational speaker and performance coach Tony Robbins works with Marc Benioff of Salesforce and billionaire hedge fund manager Ray Dalio.

To see an example of how performance coaching works in hedge funds, in a dramatized version, watch the popular TV show “Billions”. Wendy Rhoades, the performance coach, gets into everyone’s deep psychological being, identifies their fears, shame, and triggers, and helps them move beyond them. Her boss, the billionaire hedge fund manager Robby Axelrod deemed Wendy “the heart” of their company. In the show, Robby repeatedly credited Wendy for “taking broken pieces and putting them together”, not only for all the traders in his company but also for himself. He meant every word of it because he gave Wendy the highest bonus, higher than anyone else in the firm.

Building a business is no different than training to win in a soccer game or an Olympic competition. It requires you not only to outmaneuver competitors and build sustainable competitive advantages, but also to overcome your own limitations, in both required skills and mindsets. To building a business, you need a lot of help. Performance coaching should be on that list. TCV's SCALEUP Maryland program provides participants access to expert resources in a variety of subject matters. This virtual 12 week program is for executives of established businesses looking to rapidly grow revenues and profits. Co-Developed and hosted by bwtech@UMBC with funding from the Maryland Department of Commerce & the TRowe Price Foundation, applications are being accepted until Sept 9. Learn more and apply HERE!


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