A - Z Coaching and Mentoring - This week's extract highlights the Yerkes–Dodson Curve and how it is key to find the 'anxiety sweet spot' when coaching.
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The Yerkes–Dodson Curve, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908, shows the relationship between urgency, anxiety, fear and performance. Performance increases with physiological or mental arousal up to a point which is sometimes called the ‘anxiety sweet spot’.
As arousal or stress increases beyond this point, performance falls. Coaching should provide enough challenge to enhance performance, but not beyond the sweet spot so that anxiety or fear sets in and it becomes counter-productive.
The process is often illustrated graphically as a bell-shaped curve which increases and then decreases with higher levels of arousal.