Reaching peak performance is key for any athlete or high level executive. However, we often forget that first, there has to be that mental preparation and decision to achieve greatness. And therein lies the crucial element of anyone who is currently at the 'top of their game' -- the symbiotic relationship between mind and body that needs constant nourishment. Enter Coach Dar.
Once a peak performer becomes a client of Darleen Santore's, (affectionately known as Coach Dar), they often say they've had a 'Dose of Dar', because there is nothing quite like it. Just as professional athletes need a head coach to help them reach their full potential, Coach Dar helps clients gain clarity and focus to propel themselves to new heights in all aspects of their lives. Mental conditioning, creating a purpose-driven mindset, life leadership, communication and emotional intelligence are all elements that Coach Dar delves into on a deeper level.
"With all of my clients, we develop a consistent flow of communication and connection points so that I have a 360-degree view of their lives. For example, if I work with a professional athlete, I attend their games, watch and review their films, and work with them in their personal lives to get to know their day-to-day needs. Understanding all aspects of their life helps me create a strategy for mental edge and overall well-being that is tailored to their personality."
Coach Dar takes a similar approach with executives, by getting to know their work within their organizations, "I learn about their team and responsibilities, the pressures and triggers of their roles, and habits in their personal lives. Understanding these components helps me personalize a plan that sparks motivation and raises the bar in their personal and professional lives."
Master Courses, offered by Dar, are easy nodules, giving a client a punch to get lit within and re-shift to start to show up better. She believes in building emotional intelligence, and these courses allow for an overview of what she would give a client during personal coaching, which is heavily focused on customization.
"I am really working on building character and developing a legacy – what someone will leave behind as a person. One athlete I worked with said, 'If I had never gotten injured and looked to work with you, I wouldn’t be as good of a man as I am today. I wouldn’t be the husband, father and teammate I show up as now.'"
The reason behind the mental and physical shift this athlete made, was the ability to look differently at the world, and how he fit in. Coach Dar taught him to look at his life roles and how he could 'serve' others -- when you do this, you will be more respected, more trusted, more liked -- and that leads to a confidence boost.
Dar also worked with an existing C level executive going for the CEO Role. The expectation for someone at this level was that of a hardcore powerhouse. She helped him to shift this expectation.
"I told him to remember that he got where he was by caring for the people around him. He was a visionary, and could be a leader who also had compassion. The key was to take what he had and enhance it. Many leaders in these positions have what I call, 'Imposter Syndrome' where they develop doubts as to why they belong there. I highlight their strengths and show them that they are deserving. He got the role, by the way, and has done tremendously well. We just needed to take away falsities attached to that role."
Coach Dar's practice is called Performance Meets Purpose, LLC and she lives right here in Scottsdale. She has had a difficult road to success, having had a stroke at 25 years old, but that is what changed her perspective and led to a meaningful career. Dar has had subsequent strokes, doing her own rehabilitation, and using the tools she teaches to come back faster than most.
"I started speaking and coaching when this was not the trend it is today, blazing a trail for the importance of mental conditioning and mental fitness -- who are we mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, relationally; it is all tied together. I have been the mental conditioning coach for the Phoenix Suns and am the only female coach to coach guys individually in all four major leagues. I don’t share that as a means to boast, but to say that while some don’t believe women should be in sports, this is a testament that men want to speak to women on what they are mentally and emotionally going through or how to work through things to get to their highest level."
In these difficult times, strong mental health is of utmost importance, and Coach Dar says any good performance in life needs to lead to purpose in order for this to be achieved.
"Why do you want to be the next CEO? Why do you want to win championships? Why is it important to sustain the ups and downs that come along the way to one's goal? These are the questions I ask. When bad things happen, I want people to feel emotion and process it, but don't sit in it. Work through it. Show up. I provide the tools, and when you're ready, I am here to help."
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