Executive Performance Books - Conscious Coaching

It's leadership, in a book.

Brett Bartholemew wrote 'Conscious Coaching' for strength and conditioning coaches. A fancy name for personal trainers.

In spite of this, the foundational principles ring true for any person attempting to improve their communication, connectivity, empathy and self-awareness. All of which are key aspects a successful leader must master.

The art and science of building buy-in is used across every industry.

Conscious Coaching dives deeper into the human aspect of the coach/athlete relationship (think, you + client/employee). The book takes you down a pathway of self-discovery to become a more powerful and impactful leader.

It does this in two parts: Self-awareness and Understanding


"Study the heart and mind of man, and start with your own."

- Lord Chesterfield.

Brett encourages us to reflect back on our pasts and understand our own stories. What things have shaped the person we are today. There are bound to be significant life events which cascade to form your current self. If you hope to influence others, you must first become self-aware.

Knowledge of one's self and how others perceive you allows you to adapt across diverse situations, making you more socially intelligent.

In other words, "self-awareness" is not just a key term, it's a critical skill.

Internal identification goes through three stages:

Reflection: Questioning who you are

This involves digging deep into your past and thinking critically about the transformative moments within it.

From this, you gain clarity of your own purpose and mission. You are then able to align your actions with your fundamental beliefs and values for what you want as a persona and a professional.

Inspection: Examining who you are

This is taking the insights excavated from reflection and examining them more closely. You begin to see the pathway you'll need to take to connect with who you want to be, along with the traits you want your future ideal self to adopt.

Progression: Owning who you are

Finally, you must take action to bridge the gap between who you are now and who you want to become. To actually do things is the hardest part.

To help with internal identification, Brett promotes online personality assessments as the most helpful and simple way to retrieve this information.

These include:

  • Clifton StrengthFinders System

  • The DISC Assessment

  • The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

  • Insights Discovery

  • Hogan Personality Inventory

Remember, the data you gain from these is useless if no action is taken on them. Know why you want the data and what you'll do once you have it.

Learning about your strengths and weaknesses can be a monumental shift in productivity.

If you don't take the time to explore your talents, you may let them go untapped, wasted due to inadequate stimulation.


Mark Twain once described a man who died and met Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. Knowing that Saint Peter was very wise, the man asked a question that he had wondered about his entire life.

He said, "Saint Peter, I have been interested in military history for many years. Who was the greatest general of all time?"

Saint Peter quickly responded, "oh that's a simple question. It's that man right over there."

"You must be mistaken," responded the man, now very perplexed. "I knew that man on earth, and he was just a common labourer."

"That's right, my friend," assured Saint Peter. "He would have been the greatest general of all time... if he had been a general."


This passage highlights a common fear among the successful elite, not living up to your potential.

Personality assessments and introspection can present you the opportunity to explore your strengths and weaknesses and channel them appropriately. In doing so, this opens up boundless opportunities in all avenues of life.


People first, employees second

From your newly calibrated position surrounding your past, style and tendencies - your identity - you are now able to effectively deliver improved leadership.

As you understand yourself, you are now able to understand others.

Core Concept 1: Leadership

When you want people to care about the things you care about, you need a way to alter their perception. You can do this using the 3R Approach.

Research: Asking open-ended questions and reflectively listening in order to figure out what matters to the person. If you understand their internal drives, you'll know how to speak to them in a way which connects.

Relate: Proceed slowly as you begin to build a shared perspective. It's seduction in its most elemental form. Don't push too fast or you risk coming off as inauthentic.

Reframe: Work to alters the person's frame of reference regarding their beliefs toward a given construct. Break the core concept down and help relate it to another already accepted concept.

Core Concept 2: Authenticity

A linchpin for all good leaders. The three universal's which make up authenticity are consistency, clarity and directness.

Consistency provides a backbone to the often chaotic world of business. The last thing people need is a leader who fluctuates between extremes of hot and cold.

Clarity provides a sense of unity, where everyone knows the end goal and is working towards it as a group.

You must lead from the front. Your actions and the examples you set are a powerful catalyst for those you hope to gain trust from and lead.

Core Concept 2: Empathy

“Become the other person and go from there”.

Empathy is being able to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference. This is an important tool, second only to authenticity, in developing lasting and fruitful relationships.

Give ground to gain ground.

As a leader, you want to compare rather than control. Never forget that humility is the essence of connectedness and if you want to build trust you can’t be afraid to humanise your interactions with others. Don’t fear criticism or bite-back.

Managing your ego and emotions will go a long way in becoming an inspirational and respected leader.

The traits of a successful leader go beyond simply ‘being the boss’.

To build buy-in from the ones you wish to lead requires a high level of self-awareness and emotional understanding. Don’t see them as employees, see them as people.

Connect with them and relate to their individual situations, be authentic and consistent in your words and actions, show empathy towards them and manage your ego.

Doing so will leave you with a team of loyal follows, and much more profit.

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