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Coaching Great Performers

In order to keep your organization growing and thriving, you must be able to identify your key and top performers and then enable them to help push progress forward. Studies show that the high performers perform up to 400% more than the average team member. That means we really need to know how to find them and work with them.


What does a great performer look like? Generally, high performers are…

  • Positive: Most have a positive, can-do attitude. They believe in their work and believe they are capable of accomplishing whatever they attempt with dedication and discipline. That gives them perseverance and also inspires others to join them.

  • Growth mindset: Life-long learners, they consider their own growth their first and most significant life-long task.

  • Achievement-oriented: They are fixed on getting the job done, and proving to themselves and others that they can conquer the toughest situations.

  • Self-motivated: They are motivated from deep within. Though they appreciate encouragement, but don’t depend on it. You don’t need to encourage them. They have the desire and will to deliver.

  • A work horse: Many of these workers don’t even seem to notice how long they have worked. You’ll get emails, reports, questions, and projects coming from them at all hours. Their drive to get things done and to improve keeps them going and gives them energy. They are consistent marathon runners.

  • Desire actionable feedback: They are always looking to improve, and know constructive feedback and specificity is vital.

  • Learners outside the organization: They will go anywhere to get tips and insights to make themselves and the organization better. Perhaps the most significant sign of a high performer is the personal initiation to get help and coaching.

So how do you coach these high performers?


1. Help them progress. Your best performing employees are likely putting forth such an effort because they’d eventually like to move into a higher role, new position, or maybe even a different department. You should be excited about helping them achieve those goals.Once you find out more about each employee’s goals, you can better mold the way you coach them. It may feel like you're pushing your employees away a little, but showing them that they have a leader who stands behind their ultimate career goals can serve as a great motivational tool for their current roles too.


2. Help them develop their leadership skills. What if you end up taking a promotion or different position within the company? Lining up a potential leader to take your place is a terrific solution. Your high performers are the place to look. Start challenging them with an increasing number of leadership responsibilities—like training or mentoring new employees, leading team meetings, and spearheading projects. As your best employees develop management skills, they’ll become even more valuable members of your team—and excellent candidates for future leadership positions.


3. Give them new challenges. When an employee is really, really good at what he or she does, that particular thing can easily become his or her sole focus. But by giving them new and challenging assignments, you’ll increase their value, not just within your own company, but as a professional.


4. Don’t let them off the hook. When you have an employee who always goes above and beyond, it’s easy to ignore those tiny things that he or she doesn’t quite accomplish. When you hold the rest of your team to those standards, it’s unfair to let your best performers off the hook. To continue pushing them to be their best, you can’t allow them to become complacent or grow lax in other areas,


5. Have one-on-one time with them. High performers are allergic to non-productive meetings. Make great meetings part of your routine.


6. Give them what they need to succeed. Set the strategy, provide direction, and give them the resources they need.


7. Surround them with other top players. They are motivated by being around people who stretch and grow them and keep pace. It’s discouraging to not be surrounded by A-team players if you are.


8. Give them flexibility in how they work. If you are worried that they will abuse their off-site work, you have a bigger problem with you or them than you realize, and you need to deal with it.

9. Get out of their way. Once you’ve agreed on the goals and they have the resources, LEAVE. Let them get it done.


Giving the right attention to your high performers will benefit everyone!

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