Hands breaking free from ropes

Great leaders use coaching to provide honest and constructive feedback that creates a surge of productivity, positive results and newfound confidence in employees that encourages them to look beyond self limiting beliefs.

We’re all familiar Einstein’s Theory of Relativity that states that nothing is what it is until you relate it to something. You’re pleased your business has grown 10% in the last year, until you discover your major competitor grew by 50%.

And who’s not experienced the effects of Murphy’s Law, where anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Traffic is bad; you’re late for your meeting; your computer crashes.

But you may not have heard of The Law of Limited Performance, where people gravitate to the level of performance their managers appear to settle for.

When employees fail to achieve desired results, managers often assume they’ve peaked in their performance and stop challenging them to improve. Once employees discover the level of performance managers will accept, they settle in. We call this the “The Law of Limited Performance.” As with the Theory of Relativity, perspective is determined by what the observer relates to vs. what is possible.

Managers today may be skilled at running their operation, but many lack either the awareness or the critical coaching capabilities to inspire team members to grow, improve and deliver what is possible. This limiting loop inevitably results in lower productivity and untapped potential.

So how do you stop this never-ending cycle?

Great leaders recognize that coaching isn’t just an annual or a one-time thing. Consistent coaching with honest and constructive feedback creates a surge of productivity in the workplace that ignites positive results. In turn, this success sparks newfound confidence in employees, encouraging them to look beyond what is expected.

An industry study that looked at the behavioral change, organizational outcomes and return on investment of coaching shows how powerful it can be when managers apply effective coaching practices. The study found that managerial coaching contributed to a 53% percent increase in productivity and a 48% increase in overall organizational strength.

What’s more, according to research conducted by Bersin by Deloitte, organizations that effectively prepare managers to coach saw a 39% increase in employee engagement and productivity.

Managers must break through the belief boundaries that limit progress, and learn to coach their team members to optimum levels of success.

Here are a few strategies for breaking through:

1. Understand perceived limitations hindering employee success. Leaders must encourage their employees to step beyond their comfort borders and instill confidence by seeing more in their team than they themselves might see.

  • Ask open-ended questions to encourage reflection.
  • Listen for perceived limitations and belief boundaries.

2. Help employees reach goals just beyond their peak. This will encourage a plateaued employee’s belief that they in fact can achieve breakthroughs and improve their performance.

  • Set incremental goals just beyond belief boundaries.
  • Use praise to reinforce success.
  • Re-frame failures as learning.

While predictive “Laws” can explain the existence of constraints, they should also be used to reveal previously unrecognized possibilities. Leaders with the right mindset and the right skills can transform disappointing results into high performance, high productivity and high employee engagement.

For more tips and strategies on the effective coaching practices your managers can apply to break the Law of Limited Performance, download our POV Paper, Why Your Company’s Coaching Efforts Are Failing.

About the Author
Mike Esterday
Mike Fisher

Master Facilitator

Mike Fisher began his 30 year career in sales as a college student, selling books door-to-door in the summers. He...
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