coach passion

Part Four in our series on the Seven Commitment Traits and coaching leaders.

In our initial articles, we have looked at how to coach several of the Seven Influence Traits. Today, we move to the fourth of the Seven Influence Traits™ - Passion.

All of us are inspired by a story of passion.

You, The Passion Coach

Passion. It is a driving emotional engine within our hearts.

Passion comes from within each of us; it cannot be imposed or mandated from outside. At the same time, it compels us to move outside, to engage with the world around us.

From athletes to relationships to the boardroom, we know it is a necessary element of success.  But can we help coach others to increase their passion? YES!

1. Passion can be measured by investment.

Where do your clients spend their hard and soft resources? What does their time and money go towards? What do they spend their emotional and mental energies thinking about? What can’t they stop thinking of?

By asking these questions and looking objectively at the answers with time audits and resource reports when possible, you can help your clients define their current true passions. Many times clients will think they are passionate about something, but the reality doesn’t match their perception.

A great thing to observe is what have your clients been willing to suffer or endure discomfort for? After all, the root word of passion comes from the idea “to suffer.” When things got difficult, what did they continue pursuing despite resistance?

2. Passion towards something isn’t innate.

A client’s passions will often change over long periods of time. Many times success or recognition of strengths creates a passion in the individual. A friend’s son plays multiple sports. This year he started succeeding at the mile and 800m races in track. Guess what? The son developed a deep passion for track and field that had before been divided among multiple sports.

Nothing builds passion and motivates like a win.

Helping your clients understand their strengths and clarifying past wins help them direct their future passion. This will require you getting to know your clients personally and not applying a one-size-fits all method of coaching or consulting.


3. Help clients to avoid “Passion Blinders”

While passion is great, sometimes its emotional nature can cause your clients to overlook objective data or facts that they need to have which will affect their decisions.  Helping them to maintain a sense of objectivity can prevent many problems going forward.

            Passion + Reason = Constructive Action. This is the essence of competency.

4. Teach your clients that “Obsessive Compassion” isn’t desirable.

Harvard Business Review calls unhealthy compassion “obsessive compassion.” This unhealthy passion can drive a client you coach to work 100-hour weeks for weeks on end. Obsessive compassion is compulsive and cannot be sustained.   When the passion well dries up, you’ll have a client who is staring straight into the face of burnout. 

Scott Barry Kaufman of HBR lists the following important questions to help diagnose your client’s level of obsessive compassion.

  • Does your client have enough energy? Do they engage in their work with positive enthusiasm? Do they feel enjoyment doing what they do?
  • Do they define themself by criteria other than work? Using the shape of  a pie, how big of a piece does their work represent?
  • Do they have a positive self-image? Obsessive passion is correlated with a negative image of the self, including automatic subconscious associations between the self and the concept “unpleasant.”
  • When they work, is their interior monologue positive? It is filled with words such as “want to,” “get to,” and “can’t wait to?” Or are words more along the lines of “must,” “need,” and “have to?”
  • Are they able to stop working when they want to? Do they feel a compulsion to work all the time, even when they really don’t want to?
  • Do they get into a state of flow? Do they feel as though time has receded into the background, or do you feel the ticking weight of pressure on their back?

5. Help provide your client performance metrics to measure passion.

People pursuing their passion need to have a clear sense of performance metrics. By helping clients create these gauges of success and evaluating the results with them, you actually build passion as they accumulate win after win in terms of increased performance. These performance metrics show progress over time, much like my friend's track athlete I mentioned strives to his time drop each meet even if he doesn't finish first in that race. It increase his passion to workout with greater intensity. Progress fuels passion.


Start Catalyzing Your Client’s Passion

We don’t always think of passion as coachable. As a business or leadership consultant, life or leadership coach, this perception causes us to miss an opportunity to grow our clients in the area that will provide them lifelong energy.

Passion, like each of the Seven Influence Traits™, can be coached and developed. Each of the influence traits provides you an area in which to grow your clients’ influence. For more resources on coaching towards commitment or coaching for improvement in the six other traits, visit

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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina