The impact of emotions on performance – and what coaches can do to help

I’m coming across this a lot lately.  As I help people become effective everyday coaches, they often tell me the people they’re working with can struggle to find something they need to improve.  Although it can vary, this is usually because they’ve been doing the job for a long time and are already very good.

There are many ways to approach this, but I want to share something that happened to me recently that helped me identify an area I need to improve.

I got unexpectedly challenged in a coaching situation and my initial reaction (driven by my emotions) was one of surprise, (at being challenged) followed by a desire to ‘defend’ myself.  On reflection what this meant was I didn’t handle the situation very well as I let my emotions override the more rational and calm approach that would have been more effective.

I think we can all let emotions get in the way of good performance now and again.  Maybe it’s someone at work you struggle to work with because they always ‘wind you up’ or maybe you felt intimidated in a meeting and didn’t speak when what you had to say could have made a real difference.

Since my ‘incident’ I’ve spent time thinking about how I can acknowledge my emotions faster (emotions are part of our human nature so you can’t stop them!) and to try using questions to give myself time to think about the best way to respond.  The impact of my emotions on my performance is always something I can improve. Is this something you need to help ‘put on the agenda’ of the people you’re working with?

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