Re-thinking coaching for peak performance: What does “peak” really mean?

Dr. Gordon Spence is presenting in Coaching lecture series "Coaching - Research and Practice"

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Gordon SpenceDr. Gordon Spence

Dr Gordon Spence is a coaching psychologist, exercise scientist, & senior lecturer at the Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney.

Amongst his teaching duties, Gordon has lectured on the Psychology of Peak Performance for over 15 years & is currently exploring optimal functioning through an integration of psychology & exercise science.

He was co-editor of the SAGE Handbook of Coaching (2017) & is the author of numerous journal articles & book chapters on topics related to coaching psychology. In 2022, Gordon published two non-academic books on physical activity & healthy ageing.

Description of talk

Performance is often thought of in one-dimensional terms, based on gains made at the level of behaviour. However, what people can do and how well they can do it yields an incomplete picture of their overall status. As such, keeping their overall status in mind is important because a performer cannot be reasonably separated from their accomplishments.

In this talk, Dr Spence will advance the idea that coaching for peak performance is about more than the accomplishment of remarkable things. He will argue it is also important to consider how performance effects the performer.

  • Does it leave them enlivened or dispirited, enhanced or diminished, flourishing or languishing?
  • Can performance be considered ‘peak’ if its beneficial, in-the-world effects are not accompanied by pleasant subjective effects?

Gordon will outline what such considerations mean for coaching practice, supported by the proposition that success in life emerges from a balance of accomplishments…where adequate attention is given to multiple dimensions of wellbeing & personal functioning.

Online webinar.

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Participation is free of charge, but we kindly ask you to sign up here (Danish).

Further information
Reinhard Stelter, Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Copenhagen

The lecture is part of a series of lectures titled "Coaching - research and
practice", which is sponsored by the EMCC. The lecture series aims to build a bridge between research and praxis in coaching and at the same time embed coaching practices in the research discourse. The intention is to hear from researchers, who explore coaching from a business, health or sports related angle. The Coaching Psychology Unit at the University of Copenhagen was established in order to launch and coordinate interdisciplinary research, education and dissemination in coaching.