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Out of print. Used copies are available through

APA Books
American Psychological Association
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P.O. Box 92984
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About the Book

You're On! provides guidance and advice for consulting with performers in the pursuit of excellence. Whether these clients are performing artists, businesspeople, physicians, lawyers or in high-risk occupations, they must learn to focus, cope, and excel in highly stressful situations. Based on extensive interviews with notable performers and experienced performance consultants in diverse fields, as well as the vast literature on peak performance among athletes, this book is packed with hard information on performance consulting. You're On! is a must-read for performance consultants, executive coaches, or any therapist or counselor who seeks to enter this burgeoning field. 
(From APA.ORG,







  • The Roots of Performance Consultation
  • The Back Story: Research in Performance Consultation
  • Unique Aspects of the Business Domain
  • Unique Aspects of the High Risk Domain
  • Unique Aspects of the Performing Arts Domain
  • The Foundations of Excellent Performance
  • The Back Story: Research in Performance Consultation
  • Getting It Right: Preparation
  • Keeping Your Head: Mental Skills
  • The Microscopic Nightmare of Infinity: The Experience of Stress
  • Reframe and Relax: Coping with Stress
  • You're On!
  • The Help They Need: Assistance Performers Desire
  • The Ideal Consultant
  • Consultant Efforts that Hinder Performance
  • A Good Fit: Training, Competence, and Ethics
  • The Consultant as Performer


As psychotherapists, we “engage” our patients in relationships in order to help them overcome life problems. Similarly, in one way or another, most of us have been “engaged” by our teachers and advisors. Although there are certainly psychological aspects to these relationships, they differ substantially from psychotherapy. When considering these differences, psychotherapists contemplating a journey from the office to the “external world” of coaching and/or advising clients would do well to consult, You’re On! Consulting for Peak Performance, by Division 42 colleague Kate F. Hays and co author Charles H. Brown, Jr.
                 - for the rest of Michael Cuttler's review, click here 

If you've ever wondered what it's like to consult to those who perform under pressure, You're On! is the book for you. Avoiding the well-trodden path of sports psychology, Hays and Brown instead present interview excerpts of 24 professionals in the areas of business, high-risk professions and the performing arts. All of the interview subjects have more than 10 years of experience and a "national or international reputation." While the bulk of them are performing artists - mostly actors, dancers, conductors and musicians - there are also a few physicians, lawyers and business executives.

In addition, the authors interview 18 consultants who primarily consult with business or "high-risk" (e.g., military) professionals. The result is an array of perspectives from various walks of life, with the caveat that most of the subjects are white males. All participants are identified by pseudonyms in the book.

The material comes alive with extensive quotes from the interview subjects, who show unexpected insight and sensitivity at times. "Frederick," an emergency room physician, states that "the most important tool that you use in your job is your interpersonal skills." "George," a Special Forces medic and police sniper, considers that the person he's about to shoot may have someone who loves him; if he proceeds, he's "taking that human being away from the other person who loves him."

You're On! describes the type of skills and knowledge a performance consultant should acquire in order to become competent and respected. The relevant knowledge is often specific to each domain, from familiarity with eating disorders (when consulting to ballet dancers) to expertise in group dynamics (for high-risk professions). Hays and Brown also explain the unique working conditions that consultants may encounter in different specialties - for example, the sexist culture in many high-risk professions or the limited financial means of many performing artists.

Each chapter ends with a list of recommendations to consultants (e.g., in the performing arts domain, "Consultants should have a basic grasp of learning theory and techniques"). Readers should be aware, however, that many of the business aspects of consultation, such as marketing and contracts aren't covered in this book.

Of particular interest, Chapter 9, "The Microscopic Nightmare of Infinity," explores how stress affects performers in each field differently. For example, dancers and musicians learn to cope with the high expectations of the audience, while a neurosurgeon faces the stress of eight to 10 hours of precision, life-or-death work.

The final chapters address "Consultant Efforts That Hinder Performance" (e.g., limited knowledge, lack of follow-through) and the types of training and experiences that can provide a helpful background (including the consultant's own performance experience). Overall, the book provides a fascinating window into this challenging specialty.
Eric Endlich, Ph.D, is the clinical services manager at WorkPlace Solutions Employee Assistance Program in Boston. He has a private practice in Needham, Mass.

originally posted at



Dr. Kate Hay's blog @ Psychology Today
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