At InsideOut Development, we believe that everyone has the capacity to learn and perform at a higher level. A manager’s job is to draw that greatness out of employees—to maximize performance and draw out potential. Understanding the key elements of performance allows a coach to target their coaching and maximize effectiveness.
We’ve synthesized the four elements of performance into the Performance Wheel.
Understanding the Performance Wheel will allow coaches and individual contributors to identify how performance can be improved and use the GROW Model to make it happen.
A key element of performance is our Faith. Faith is what we believe about ourselves and what we believe about others (including our organization as a whole). It has a massive impact on our performance.
What do I believe about my ability to complete the task?
Do I believe that my expertise will make a difference to the results?
Do I believe I can communicate what I know in a way that will get people’s attention?
Do I believe in my expertise and myself enough to want to face the roadblocks that will show up?
The best coaches and mentors we’ve had, the ones who freed up our best selves, are those that believed in us, even when we didn’t believe in ourselves. When we’re working with someone that doesn’t believe in our abilities, it’s much harder to stay engaged.
When somebody doesn’t believe in us, they are doubting our ability to perform. And when they doubt our ability, it activates our internal dialogue and we start to doubt our ability. We become more engaged in our internal dialogue about our work and less engaged in the work itself.
The Psychology Behind Faith
After a lifetime of studying human performance, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi suggested that we all perform better when there is a balance between our perception of the challenge we are facing and our perception of the skill we have to meet the challenge. We need to have enough challenge to keep us excited, but not so much that it overwhelms or discourages us. This is when we are most likely to get into a state of “flow”—a state where we’re focused, fully engaged, and intrinsically motivated. In this state, we process things faster, learn faster, and are often not even aware of time or space. It’s in this state that whatever we’re doing seems almost effortless.
Our belief in our ability to perform greatly affects our consequent performance. Each day, we are faced with insecurities in our ability to complete a task, but how we manage those insecurities directly impacts our results. In a 2000 study, faith in self “correlated positively with subsequent performance.”
In psychology circles, faith in self is known as self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is an optimistic belief in our own competence that increases personal productivity. People with high self-efficacy view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than avoided. They also set higher goals, are more committed to their goals, find and use better strategies to attain the goals, and respond more positively to negative feedback. While typically viewed as an innate characteristic, self-efficacy can be nurtured through our perceptions of external experiences.
Tim Gallwey, considered by many to be the founder of sport psychology, discusses the idea of faith extensively in his flagship book, The Inner Game of Tennis. In it, he describes the two “selves” that reside in each of us. Self 1 is the thinker and director. It takes information and makes your muscles comply. Self 2 is our natural self. Self 2 is responsible for everyday actions like breathing and walking and reading—the things we don’t actively think about. Gallwey argues that Self 2 actually knows how to do a lot more than Self 1 gives it credit for.
“Getting it together mentally…involves learning several internal skills: 1) learning how to get the clearest possible picture of your desired outcomes; 2) learning how to trust Self 2 to perform at its best and learn from both successes and failures; and 3) learning how to see ‘nonjudgmentally.’”
Gallwey illustrates his point by describing tennis players volleying intensely. “Moving more quickly than they thought they could, they have no time to plan; the perfect shot just comes. And feeling that they didn’t execute the shot deliberately, they often call it luck; but if it happens repeatedly, one begins to trust oneself and feel a deep sense of confidence.”
Using the GROW Model® to maximize Faith
The GROW Model is a problem-solving framework that enables people to make decisions, commit to action, and produce results. It breaks complex decisions into simple steps. When facing a big problem, people often feel overwhelmed because they think of the problem as a whole. The GROW Model enables a performer to organize their thoughts and look at one piece at a time.
Using the GROW Model helps us simplify the challenge to bring our perception of the problem into balance with our perception of our ability to solve it.
It begins with a goal. Even if we don’t think we can solve our problem, with a little guidance, we can usually articulate what we want to accomplish. We aren’t being asked to solve the problem, just articulate it. That is within our abilities; we’re confident we can do that; we’re back in “flow state.”
Next we consider our Reality. What have we been experiencing as we try to solve this problem or accomplish this task? Again, we aren’t expected to solve the problem—we’re just examining our current state. Most people are very comfortable here. We can talk about all the things standing in our way—not a problem. That is within our abilities; we’re confident we can do that; we’re still in “flow state.
Then we move to Options. By asking questions like: “If anything were possible, what might you do?” and “How might you overcome the obstacles you mentioned earlier?” you make brainstorming possible options simple and accessible. By keeping options hypothetical, we can brainstorm the best solution without being overwhelmed by the obstacles of the problem or practicalities to moving forward. We’re able to stay in “flow state.”
Lastly we narrow our Options down to one Way Forward. We define next steps and make a solid plan. By this point, we’ve eliminated most of the obstacles to decision-making. The entire problem seems more manageable. We’ve increased our faith in our ability to solve the problem enough that we are able to move forward while remaining in “flow state.”
An organization with Faith has a clear, compelling sense of mission and purpose that is effectively communicated to and passionately believed in by people on every level of the organization. People have a strong "We can!" belief and a firm conviction in the organization's resilience and ability to effectively learn and adapt in a changing environment. An organization without Faith is filled with fear, doubt, or lack of clarity concerning its value proposition as well as the value of the organization's purpose and/or its viability in changing circumstances.
Faith is a key driver of performance, but it is only one element of performance. Performance is also impacted by knowledge, fire, and focus. Learn more about these elements of performance in the links below.