I recently spent time with Ben Newman, performance coach, keynote speaker, and mental toughness expert who has worked with top brands such as Microsoft, Alabama Football, Quicken Loans, Northwestern Mutual, and many others peak performers in business and sports.
Newman’s fast-growing performance coaching and speaking business was founded on the principles he learned from his mother, who died from a rare form of cancer just days before Ben turned 8.
Later in life, Ben’s grandmother gave Ben his mother’s journal, which he now defines as one of the most influential moments in his life.
Fast forward to 2019. Ben Newman has worked as a performance coach and keynote speaker with an illustrious and broad-based list of top brands including…
- Alabama football
- Quicken Loans
- Kansas State football
- Anheuser-Busch InBev
- Miami Dolphins
- And a long list of individual peak performers in the NFL, UFC, and MLB.
What I’ve come to learn is it’s not uncommon to catch Ben on any given week traveling to 5 or more cities. I was lucky enough to catch him in the airport heading back from Tuscaloosa to Missouri for another speaking engagement.
If you are at all interested in taking yourself to a new level personally and/or professionally, you’ll want to grab a coffee and read more from my interview with Performance Coach, Ben Newman.
Who is Coach Ben Newman? Give us a 10,000-foot view of who you are.
“I am a performance coach, speaker and author that has the opportunity partner with individuals in sports and business to achieve next level performance.
“Even though we have had the opportunity to work with champions at all levels of sports and business, it’s never about the wins and losses; it’s always about building the great relationships that are bigger than the bottom line or the next championship.
“I say this all the time, “Success is not about changing your habits, it’s about changing the way you think.”
What do you mean by “Next Level Performance” in business and sports performance coaching?
“We all have the opportunity to remain content in our life or to always push to build a growth mindset which takes you to the “next level”.
“Think about the training habits of an executive or highly successful entrepreneur compared to a middle level employee. There is a difference in mindset on how they attack their day-to-day personal and professional lives. However, everyone has to start somewhere; building next level performance doesn’t happen overnight.
“Sports is the same way. Professional or NCAA athletes practice and perform at higher levels than others and they master the habits that help them maximize results.
“If you’re constantly evaluating what your very best looks like and increasing the opportunity by focusing on what you can control to drive just a little more, you will always be able to uncover your next level of potential.
“To do this takes an incredible amount of mental toughness and commitment, it’s definitely not for everyone.”
You work with some of the top brands in the world, from sports to business. What is it about your approach that attracts these kinds of clients?
“It’s the opportunity to lead from the heart that drives massive success and that is where I have always focused my efforts.
“Far too often I see performance coaches or consultants who want to share their process or techniques first without recognizing you have to first understand the heartbeat of the individuals that you work with. Only after that can you really dive under the hood and start identifying how to best improve.
“I believe it’s important to understand their “purpose” and “why”, followed by leading from the heart.
How do you differentiate yourself in the performance coach community?
“I had to grow up fast at a young age due to adversity and challenge with the passing of my mother.
“The individuals we work with recognize that we lead from the heart. We don’t hide the adversity and challenge… we run at it full speed.
“Helping people understand that their greatest strength often comes from their greatest pain is what makes us different. And, we’re able to dive into the details of their situation, whether in the board room or on the turf, and identify how to take action around their beliefs; how to get them to next level performance.
“Identifying what is most important to you and then having that burning desire to attack the process one day at a time is crucial.”
You were a top sales rep for a large, global financial services company. Why did you walk away at the top of your game to start this business?
“After watching my mother battle a rare muscle disease called amyloidosis that took her life 11 days before my 8th birthday, I realized over time that we only get one shot at this life. You get one opportunity to leave your legacy.
“My focus was much larger than dollars and cents. I was actively balancing my work with my clients while speaking and coaching various sales teams for my company.
“It’s about the opportunity to connect to that burn in your heart and to fight to become the person you are destined to be. As much success as I was having, I knew in my heart that coaching and working with peak performers was my passion.
“I believe that walking through the doors that God opens for you will open up the opportunities to write your real story in life.”
What motivates you to do what you do… what is your burn?
“I fight in the same manner that my mother described in her journal that she left behind for us, and always with a positive mental attitude.
“My team and I fight every single day to help individuals connect to what drives them… to help them with the opportunity to write their legacies.
“That is what makes my heart burn and what caused me to want to fight every single day to impact others and to inspire my children in the way my mother inspired me.”
What is your most recent example of goal setting with an organization that resulted in a huge win?
“Great question, I’d say it’s with one of my long-standing performance coaching clients, a premier financial services organization that I would rather not name.
“I have had the opportunity to partner with their organization and team as a performance coach for the last five years.
“When you work with a group of performers long enough you become part of the team. Two years ago, I felt as if they were protecting themselves with the goals they had set. What I mean by that is they were setting goals that could be obtained while working in their comfort zone.
“Their comfort zone goal for 2018 was to bring in an additional $80 million dollars of new assets under management. I asked them a simple question: “What are the terrible, awful, and horrible things that will happen if you guys reset your goal for a $100 million?”
“They all gave me the look like, ‘Ben come on, don’t challenge us right now.’
“Then they asked me for the opportunity to reset their goals. They ended up resetting their goals at a $110 million for 2018.
“When I went back for their 2019 planning day, they reported to me that they had finished at a $118 million dollars of assets under management.
“It’s amazing what we can achieve when we don’t protect ourselves and we go all in. Comfort and fear can be incredible obstacles in anyone’s life.”
What is it about your performance coaching process that hits home with top brands around the country?
“No matter who you are in front of, however bright the lights or how big the stage, it’s important that we have to give ALL of ourselves in every moment and stage in our life.
“It’s about being transparent, understanding the individuals you’re working with, finding out what is most important to them, and going all-in to identify the ways that you can work together to drive their peak performance.
“It is never about the size of the stage or going after a standing ovation, it’s always about making a difference.
“Back to what I said earlier about leading from the heart. If you can get to the core of helping people learn how to harness what’s most important to them, you can achieve amazing things.
“To answer your original question, peak performers are instinctively attracted to the mindset of leading from the heart and we have had a lot of success over the last decade running our business this way. I believe we have to continue to attract amazing businesses, teams, and peak performing individuals to our company.”
What is the common thread with your clients that motivates them to look outside their organizations for help?
“A willingness to get better every single day.
“I have found that the highest performers from coach (Nick) Sabin to Jerry Rice to Microsoft, are always looking for ways to get better. It’s the iron sharpens iron mentality.
“The work is never done, there’s always an opportunity to grow. And, peak performers are no strangers to adversity, so they are always putting themselves in positions to grow through uncomfortable situations”
Describe a project that didn’t go as planned. What happened and what would you have done differently?
“I think the important thing is there is not a single example here.
“It’s always trying new things and recognizing that when you fall short, you fail fast and you fail forward. We fall short of goals, fail, and get sidetracked just like any of the clients we have worked with. We don’t land every speaking engagement or performance coaching proposal we submit.
“The most important thing is that we always stay positive and focused on the solutions and learn from everything that we experience.
“Learning how to embrace and lead from the heart makes overcoming project shortfalls much easier because your mindset is in the right place to know how to get back up when you’re knocked down.”
What are one or two things you consistently hear from clients after completing their first year of performance coaching working with you?
“It’s usually that they now recognize the importance of staying connected to their purpose which then leads them to driving the process one day at a time.
“They recognize there is a greater benefit to living to a standard every single day rather than living to your their and allowing their feelings to dictate time they show up.
“Attacking that process one day at a time and winning one day at a time is the difference.
“The first year of a new performance coaching client is always a fun ride because you really start to see how team members connect to a bigger purpose. Their entire mindset shifts and, all of a sudden, the team energy goes into overload.”
How have you been able to land so many amazing performance coaching and speaking clients to work with?
“Our entire team has a focus on the same methodology we use with our clients. And, that is to give our best one day at a time.
“The goal for everybody that we work with is the opportunity to inspire them to identify what it means for them to give their best… to look in the mirror at the end of the day and say, ‘today I gave it my very best’.
“Having the ability to do this proves you can never ask more of yourself and nobody can ask any more of you than that.
“I believe it’s this type of mentality that resonates with with out clients, they experience our tenacity through out the planning process. It’s not a specific technique that we use; it’s connecting to what’s important to the individual which then creates long term opportunity to reach their next level.
“Even if you’re in front of an audience of 200, a leadership team of 20, or a massive audience of 12,000, it’s about connecting to each individual which leads to all opportunities.
“Once we have a chance to impact a group and equip them with actionable ways to walk away and improve, we find the peak performers in the audience often float to the top and reach out to us for additional opportunities for performance coaching and speaking.”
You only get one chance to make a great first impression. How do you approach the first meeting with a new client? And, how have some of your clients made great first impressions on you?
“I always approach new opportunities with a level of excitement to hear their stories. I love asking individuals, ‘What makes you great?’
“That question helps us identify what makes individual special; what their focus is. It’s not only an opportunity for me to learn about them, it’s an opportunity for ways for me to improve.
“No matter who we are, what we’ve achieved, or who we work with, there’s always an opportunity to get better every day. And, getting better is always easier when you surround yourself with those who share the same mindset of achieving peak performance in their personal and professional life.
“This is a common trait I have experienced with nearly every performance coaching client I have had the opportunity to work with. They are leaders and it’s amazing how many instinctively care about the person on the other side of the table more than themselves. Whether they know they are doing it or not, it’s a common trait I’ve found in every peak performer.
“They all seem to care more about something bigger than themselves and that in itself creates a phenomenal first impression for me.”
Thinking about these hard chargers, there must have been a few times when they, let’s say, didn’t see eye to eye with you. Describe one or two and how you handled them.
“Conflict is a term I use softly. The way I see it is that conflict leads to an opportunity to understand somebody’s real mind set. And, we all have choices in how we respond to conflict in our life.
“It’s not about agreeing all the time. It’s working together to find the best possible solution for their situation, staying focused on the objectives and making sure the collective daily disciplines are aligned. Once we know everyone is still connected to the end game, we identify the best detour to take to get back on course.
“Before ever meeting conflict with resistance I ask questions rather than making statements to understand their mindset and begin to reset expectations.
“It’s never about me, it’s about each individual you have the opportunity to work with.”
Some people are averse to hiring a performance coach. How do you “coach” them into changing their minds to work with you?
“I never coach somebody in to wanting to be coached. Our team focuses on making sure there is a mutual fit for the opportunity.
“Most of the time it’s about the wrong timing, which is okay. Our team does a phenomenal job of building great relationships and that has been our life blood in keeping opportunities alive in our pipeline.
“I and my team have been tremendously blessed to work very hard every single day to open up opportunities to meet great people who have a burning desire to get better. We also have that same burning desire to get better every single day.
“This mindset shines through in all of our communications to our clients and prospects.”
What type of clients are you currently seeking to work with?
We are seeking clients looking for two core services.
Organizations Considering Hiring a Performance Coach.
“Business or sports teams that hire us for performance coaching services are usually looking for a longer-term relationship. In these types of relationships our team gets highly integrated into an organization to help uncover the true hurdles for growth and identify how to help each member of the team begin their journey of living to a standard vs. the feelings that are driving their current performance.
“Along with myself, we have an incredible team of performance coaches that have worked with some of the biggest and most well-known brands in the world.
“We are looking to build relationships with companies seeking an experienced team with a proven track record of driving results.”
Organizations Looking to Hire a Keynote Speaker
“Myself and our team of 20 keynote speakers are hired to keynote events such as a national sales meeting, annual awards ceremonies, national conventions, etc. These are usually one-day events held across the country and sometimes internationally.”
“Depending on the subject of the event and the needs of the audience, we will pair the speaker on our team that is best equipped to support the needs of the audience.
“We have an incredible line-up of keynote speakers that cover topics such as leadership development, mental toughness, sales, diversity and inclusion, peak performance, and women in business, to name a few.
“I would put our diverse team of keynote speakers up against anyone. We have been fortunate to add keynote speakers from various backgrounds such as NFL hall of famer, top female executives, digital marketing leaders, peak performance hall of fame athletes, and individuals with unbelievable stories of overcoming adversity in their life.
“If your company or team is looking to hire a keynote speaker, we would love the opportunity to have a phone conversation to determine if our team is a fit to work with you and your audience.”
Contact Ben Newman
Below are three easy ways to contact performance coach and speaker, Ben Newman.