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  • Foto del escritorJuanpablo Barrantes

The Coaching Up! Model: How to inspire for peak performance when it matters most

Actualizado: 26 ago 2022


By Juanpablo Barrantes 

Leaders Approach

(8 minutes read) Jordan Fliegel is an American serial entrepreneur focused on the sports industry, published author and former professional basketball player. He is also the Founder and CEO of CoachUp.com, a sports coaching platform backed by $15M in venture-capital, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, with over 20,000 private coaches and trainers US-nationwide, who conducts in-person 1 on 1 and group training sessions in everything from basketball, soccer and football, to yoga, fitness and dance. In his book “Coaching Up!”, Fliegel teaches us an insightful leadership model to influence your closest people by building an authentic connection while providing genuine support and then offering concise direction. In my opinion, the Coaching Up! Model is a mixture of the fundamentals we commonly find in Coaching but also in Mentoring approaches to help others grow while letting them find their true-peak potentials. Let me share with you an inspiring story a good friend shared with me recently when he experienced on following this leadership Coaching Up! model for his own benefit, but also for the benefit of his coachees and the Company they worked for. It was by mid of 2018, when I just had the opportunity to talk with John about this subject and so far how things were going on with him since quite a long time of not having contact. It was early in 2014 when John, a Senior manager for a Regional Sales Office was transferred from the North to the South sales office. For John, this new assignment was like a second chance, since he struggled for about 2 years in the North Office. There he assumed a new role in a hostile environment, results under his responsibility were flat to mediocre. At some point, John thought on resigning his job, however, he knew deep inside himself this was kind of a tough lesson he was meant to undertake and hence to surpass by reflecting and learning on every mistake he made so far.

The first approach:

  • Building an authentic connection

Once relocated in his new assignment, John was more than determined on building an authentic connection with any of his direct reports. Particularly this specific soft skill of fostering bonds of trust was one of those subtle but huge mistakes in his previous role as a manager at the North office, mainly because he underestimated the value of this approach towards his subordinates, given he didn’t allowed space in his agenda for this purpose.


There he was, again in a similar situation of working with a new team. So he scheduled an appointment in his agenda with any of his new team members. I asked John —what were the most remarkable aspects of your one on one initial meeting with each of your reports?—.


First—, said John, —you need to be sure you have a truly intention to get to know this person, and by getting to know I mean making the space and setting your mood with a genuine attitude of being willing to know how this person is, what about his or her family, hobbies, personal and professional aspirations, trajectory in the company, fears and strengths; in other words, anything you and this person need to know from each other so the relationship starts as smooth as possible. And at the same time being willing to share the same insights from your side. This is a very good first step to start making a relationship with whom you will deposit all your trust while that person will expect the same from you—.


Building an authentic connection with your team is, by definition, the first approach on the quest to looking for peak and sustained performance.

The second approach:

  • Providing genuine support

—How can I help?— is one of John’s top questions whenever he addresses someone or someone is asking for his advice.


Providing genuine support is the next key approach to fostering synergies within your team. As a leader, you must reserve a significant portion of your agenda to coaching and mentoring your key players, be as disciplined and structured as possible in developing them. Define and agree upon performance and development objectives, and schedule frequent meetings to review the actions in course to gradually meet the agreed objectives. At this point, I remember John told me another relevant aspect on providing genuine support, —getting back when I initially met each one of my reports, I asked each of them ‘where do you see yourself in five to ten years from now?’, most of them concurred on either escalating to senior positions in the company or consolidating their careers with new assignments. Well, your best way on providing genuine support to each of them is by constantly coaching them, working on both performance and development objectives that are set to be reviewed and fine tuned on a regular basis.


This approach definitely sends a bold message to anyone in the team that you, as a leader, are committed in supporting their aspirations while looking for being successful as a team—. I definitely noted John was making real progress on his role as a senior leader! —And does it anything has to do with Coaching your teammates?— I finally asked John. Thoughtfully, but at the same time confidently, John answered to my question,


Switching into the Mentoring mode:

  • Offering Concise Direction

It certainly not everything has to do only with a Coaching approach. Sometimes you need to know on how to read the moment and the situation to switch instead into a Mentoring approach, since sometimes you need to be prepared to offering concise direction.


I think offering concise direction is a well deserved faculty of the leader whenever he has gained the team’s respect. And team’s respect is gained because you as a leader have previously established a relationship of trust, and you also have demonstrated full support towards everyone in your team.


Sometimes it’s critical that you as a leader shape the route-to-success to your team, in my experience it’s not a matter of doing too much of everything, but of doing those very few relevant things consistently and with excellence. To be obsessively focused on making the right moves in the right sequence at the right time by the right team player. To be disciplined with the daily management protocols. And whenever each one in your team is fully aware of the role he has to play and the impact it has on the overall performance—. That day I ended that conversation feeling proud about John and his team, but also on being certain that a simple leadership approach being followed with discipline and consistency will eventually make a huge difference whether in a person or a team when striving for peak performance. By Juanpablo Barrantes Leader’s approach www.jpbarrantes1973.wixsite.com/leadersapproach


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