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Handout #73: Performance Counseling


PERFORMANCE COUNSELING (Art of Leadership in Coaching)

Performance counseling is talking to an individual or group in order to improve performance or keep it at a high level.  This could be easily related to a coach appraising a player or team of the manner of proficiency, which they displayed at either practice or a game.

Before you can counsel on performance you must have previously established standards of performance.  General standards apply to the entire group while specific standards apply to the individual or group for a specific task.  On a football team, for instance, you may consider running plays without a fumble as a general standard while a lineman huddling his men would be a specific standard.

What are some things to consider in establishing standards?

* First you would want to be sure that your standards are realistic and within the capability of your boys (men, players).  In this you must look at such things as time, equipment, personnel, and the conditions under which you perform.  You would not expect the same degree of proficiency from a freshman as you would from a senior, 3-year letterman.

* Second, the standards must be consistent with the group’s objectives.  Does the team want to win?  How hard are they willing to practice to perform their best?  What is their maximum performance?

* Third, don’t assume standards are known and understood by all members to which they apply.  Don’t assume that everyone knows what is required.  Explain what you expect so that each individual will know exactly what you want of him, how much initiative you will allow, and the range of responsibilities.  For example, is the coach going to send in the plays or is he going to give his QBack that option?  Let him know.

Prior planning is the key to a successful counseling program just as planning is necessary in anything you undertake.  In planning your counseling you must evaluate how the individual performed in comparison with the standards that were established.  In order that your evaluation be objective you should follow an orderly sequence in your appraisal.  Evaluate the individual against the standards, not against other people.  Outline specific points you want to cover, select a place and time and make concrete suggestions on how he can improve weak performance areas.

Performance counseling lets the person know how he performed, how he can improve, and motivates him to drive on. This counseling demands that you have a sincere, yet impartial attitude.  Explain what you are trying to do, what you are going to do, and then guide the discussion in that direction.

Follow-up is also important to insure that your counseling did what you wanted – that the person corrected what was wrong and he is now trying to improve.  It is easy to tell a person he did well but difficult to correct, supervise, and maintain a high degree of motivation.

The success of your team depends on the performance of each player and their performance is a direct reflection of the leadership they receive.  Performance counseling is a necessary part of being a good leader.


© {BCB} August ’78


For a .pdf file of this original Coach Bacevich Handout, click here:  Handout #73: Performance Counseling

Coach Bacevich gave binders of his motivational handouts to thousands of people. You should print this original Coach Bacevich Handout together with the others in each weekly post and start your binder of these motivational handouts. Then read and browse the material as you desire. Soon you will have a treasure of information at your fingertips whenever you need a little inspiration and motivation from the Coach as you pursue your aspirations!

Many of Coach Bacevich’s Handouts were written for his football players as the audience. This is an example of good information written for his football players but so very applicable in all of life, sports and otherwise. When you see the phrase “football player” or “athlete”, substitute that phrase with whatever fits your situation, such as Employee, Team Member, Hockey Player, Basketball Player, etc.


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