Performance Coach Ben Newman and Drew Hanlen

I recently had the pleasure of sitting down for a discussion with two of the most successful performance coaches in the country: Ben Newman and Drew Hanlen.

Both come from fascinating backgrounds that are worth touching on before we get into the Q and A.

Ben Newman is a highly sought-after performance coach in business and sports. He has worked with some of the biggest brands in the world from Alabama Football, Microsoft, Northwestern Mutual and New York Life to players from the last 3 consecutive Superbowl champions.

Drew Hanlen is the top NBA skills coach in the world and once you read about his story you’ll understand why.  While in high school, he showed up to school early every single day to shoot 1,000 shots before class!  In four years, he only missed four days of that routine.  That level of discipline led to great accomplishments at Belmont University and is the foundation of his booming business: Pure Sweat Basketball.

What people don’t know is that Hanlen has been taking those same principals and applying them to the business world for years. 

Performance coaching is one of those things a lot of people are interested in, but sometimes can’t really wrap their head around.  We’ve all heard that peak performers in business and sports have performance coaches, and this was my chance to get up close and personal with two of the best.

You’ll notice the difference in style which is an important element to consider whenever you’re considering working with a performance coach.

What is a Performance Coach?


I always tell people that what you choose to do on a daily basis to drive results and improvement is between you and you. 

A performance coach is someone who lives and breathes personal accountability daily and can help individuals and teams connect the dots on personal accountability and focus around the daily disciplines required for success.

Whether on the field or board room, a performance coach will push you out of your comfort zone and over time help you change the way you think about your performance both personally and professionally.


A performance coach is someone who takes you through a thorough self-analysis and professional evaluation to identify your goals and aspirations; then helps you develop a strategic step-by-step action plan to achieve them.

They have a proven track record of success in their own lives and can impact and elevate the lives of others by taking them to new levels that they have not reached on their own, both personally and professionally. 

The best performance coaches have a unique ability to take you from where you currently are to where you want to get to in all aspects of your life. Think of them as a GPS for your life. You tell them your desired destinations and they help you strategically map out an action plan to get there.

What Does the Process of Performance Coaching Look Like?


It’s an all-the-time-thing for me and that is something I have learned to hold strong to when working with clients or discussing services with prospective clients.

If you want performance coaching to work for you, you must be ready to surrender your ego.

For me, it all starts with an initial onboarding call to understand if we are both ready to take the journey together.

Assuming there is synergy, we fact-find and lay out a plan of attack, which is a combination of diving deep into our personal lives and understanding how that impacts our professional life today and in the future.

We’re a team and it’s the coach’s responsibility to walk the fine line of friendship and coach to ensure accountability is present and the focus remains in the right place.


I always sum it up three ways.

  1. Virtual meeting to ensure the coach and client are a perfect fit.
  2. Thorough self-analysis and professional evaluation to identify your goals and aspirations.
  3. Work together to create a strategic step-by-step action plan to achieve success and fulfillment, in any and all areas of life.
Drew Hanlen, Kobe Bryant, and Jayson Tatum

When Should You Use a Performance Coach?


As I mentioned, the process is between you and you.  You should use a performance coach when you recognize you’re ready to surrender to a bigger purpose.  This takes humility and sometimes it takes time to realize that you’re ready.

Somebody once asked me how I talk people into performance coaching when they are on the fence.  I simply tell them it isn’t my job to sell you on being ready; it’s to help you determine that the time is right and that you have to accept that you’re going to be pushed to your limits personally and professionally.


Do you want to take your life or business to the next level?

If you know you are capable of more and do not have a clear vision or action plan on how to take the next leap, a performance coach can help you build a productive process to obtain the things you desire.

In a Slump?

If you are used to experiencing success and happiness in life, but have found yourself in a slump, a performance coach can help you work through and get beyond your current struggles and give you guidance on how to move forward and get back to excelling.

Hit a plateau?

If you have reached a certain level of success but are struggling to take it to the next level, a performance coach can help provide new strategies, solutions and support to get you over the plateau and gain momentum to move forward.

Doubting yourself?

If you are struggling to gain the confidence to get started or go all in, a performance coach can help you remove the clouds of doubts that are holding you back and reshape your mentality to give you courage to attack your ambitions with purpose.

What are the Most Common Benefits of using a Performance Coach?


This is a tough one because everyone is different.  I’ll give you an example.

There is a boutique financial services company I have worked with for the last five or six years and we were doing a planning session in 2017 and the team identified a goal of bringing in an additional $80 million in assets under management in 2018.  I simply asked them if their goals were based on comfort or discomfort and as you can imagine, everyone in the room was shaking their heads at me.

They regrouped and came back with a new goal of $100 million in new assets under management; a goal that was outside of their comfort zone.  Fast forward to our first planning meeting of 2019, this group not only hit their goal, but exceeded it and ended the year with $118 million in new assets under management.

So, one of the common benefits I see from performance coaching is that people learn to acknowledge the difference between comfort and discomfort and remove the fear associated with failure to perform. 

This mindset transforms their lives personally and professionally.  However, it does take time and performance coaching certainly doesn’t work for everyone unless they have committed to surrendering their ego for a bigger purpose.


If an individual commits to a performance coach, they will gain self-confidence and self-awareness, while eliminating the excuses, hesitations and negativity that are limiting their ability to become the best version of themselves.

They will also bridge the gap between wishing and thinking about what could be done and actually doing it.

How Can Performance Coaching Improve Job Performance?


There are so many examples, but the one I consistently see is increased self-confidence.  It amazes me how many people aren’t maximizing their potential and it’s not a lack of skills, it’s a lack of belief.

Believing in yourself isn’t always easy. Performance coaching will help bring that hidden confidence to the surface and open an entire new world of opportunity.


The best sports teams are made up of the best players that excel at their roles and that is no different in the business world. Coaching will improve individuals and raise their ability to impact winning in the workplace.

Ben Newman and 3 Time National Champion Quarterback, Easton Stick

Performance Coaching is most effective for


The answer most people would expect is that coaching is most effective for people who are under-performers. And, there’s no doubt it often is.

However, I can make a passionate argument that performance coaching is equally, if not more effective for those at the pinnacle of their careers, whether business, sports or otherwise.

The key is whether the person is ready to break out. Can they put their ego aside to learn more about themselves? Are they willing (and ready) to commit to what it takes to get to the next level?


Performance coaching is for individuals that want to close the gap between who they are and who they know they can become.

Whether you want to experience more happiness and inner peace or if you want to reach a new level of success, a performance coach will provide strategies and tools to help you turn your aspirations into reality.

Performance Coaching vs “Managing” Inside a Business


This is a unique question. Performance coaching and managing are certainly similar, but I think there is a common difference in the workplace.

Everyone needs a performance coach and a manager even though that isn’t always realistic.  Managers are great for daily accountability, but they also have other duties which can distract them.

Coaching is focused on performance all the time and distractions are a deal killer. 


Performance coaching is the ability to help individuals develop and grow into the best versions of themselves, which ultimately maximizes their ability to impact the company.

Managing is more of an overseeing process where you direct individuals to do certain tasks in order to complete an assignment.

Organizations should strive to have elements of both.

Qualifications to Look for in a Performance Coach


This is an interesting question. To me, the most important qualifications for a performance coach are hard to measure.   

Let’s take communications. Most performance coaches are really good communicators in front of a crowd. However, the real magic of communications in performance coaching happens one-on-one when the coach can push the client’s buttons at the right time in the process.

Speaking of process, does the coach have a proven process that drives toward specific goals, yet is flexible to bend to the unique needs of each client? There are a lot of coaches that appear to be great motivators, but they fail to understand the importance of consistency and connecting the dots for a client in a way that keeps each client on a path to success.

You need a little yin and yang to be a great performance coach.


Choosing the right performance coach should not be rushed. You will be working so closely with them to transform your life in ways that you didn’t think were possible on your own.

With my NBA clients I always say, “It’s YOUR dream and OUR mission” because we work together to turn their dreams into their reality and I challenge, push and guide them every step of the way.

Questions to ask a Performance Coach before hiring them


I love it when prospective clients really push me. Here are some of the best questions I’ve gotten.

How will we know when we are done?

How will you help me retain and improve on the things I learn?

Give me specific examples of how your clients have applied what they learned from your process?

What’s personally most important to you and how do you apply those things in your work?

I really love that last question. It gets me fired up!


Tell me about your journey and how you were able to accomplish your own dreams.

Can you provide success stories of how you have helped someone take their life to the next level?

What are ways you separate yourself and why should I choose you over other performance coaches?

Are you a practitioner of what you preach? There are few things worse than taking advice from someone who isn’t taking their own advice.

What can I expect if you become my performance coach?

Is a Performance Coach Right for Me?


Most individuals I speak with don’t think a performance coach is right for them. They often can’t connect the concept and approach to what they are looking for.

They think they don’t need “coaching”, but they know they need something.

When I meet with prospective clients it’s as much an interview for me as it is for them. I try to get them to open up so we can start breaking down the barriers. I want them, through our discussion, to discover for themselves what they need and why I can help them.

If I’m not able to do that in that first meeting, there’s a good chance the client isn’t ready.


You are A LOT closer than you think from finding happiness, gaining confidence, getting the job you’ve always dreamed of or living the life you know you deserve.

A performance coach will help you optimize every aspect of your life, which will help you grow and develop into the best version of yourself and help you take the next step in your career.

I think it’s important that people come to the realization they are ready to accept feedback and get vulnerable. 

Contact and Follow Ben Newman and Drew Hanlen

Contacting and Following Ben and Drew is extremely simple.

Ben Newman

  1. Website: Contact Ben Newman
  2. Instagram: @coachbennewman or @continuedfight
  3. Linkedin: Ben Newman

Drew Hanlen

  1. Website: Contact Drew Hanlen
  2. Instagram: @drewhanlen
  3. Twitter: @drewhanlen