Competence of the coach is the fourth important factor that is often mentioned to determine success in the coaching arrangement. At a minimum coaches should be creditable, educated and certified. They should have a coaching process that includes helping the client set an action plan in order to change behavior as well as a process to measure change. The International Coaches Federation estimates that over 10,000 people call themselves coaches, yet not all are effective. The coach should have a philosophy of coaching for sustainable change; in other words, the coaching commitment should be “transformational” and not “transactional”.
Consider Rob Bernstein. (In the interest of confidentiality, I use pseudonyms throughout this article.) He was an executive vice president of sales at an automotive parts distributor. According to the CEO, Bernstein caused trouble inside the company but was worth his weight in gold with clients. The situation reached the breaking point when Bernstein publicly humiliated a mail clerk who had interrupted a meeting to get someone to sign for a parcel. After that incident, the CEO assigned Tom Davis to coach Bernstein. Davis, a dapper onetime corporate lawyer, worked with Bernstein for four years. But instead of exploring Bernstein’s mistreatment of the support staff, Davis taught him techniques for “managing the little people”—in the most Machiavellian sense. The problem was that, while the coaching appeared to score some impressive successes, whenever Bernstein overcame one difficulty, he inevitably found another to take its place.
Self-knowledge and the relational competencies they’re linked with are central to a CEO’s ability to formulate, articulate and lead a strategic vision for a motivated, energized organization. Self-knowledge builds clarity about objectives; it fine-tunes one’s understanding the perspectives, values, aims and personality traits of others. When that’s lacking, you often see discord and conflict among members of the senior management team; or between some of its members and the CEO.
“A fun, motivational and totally unique style of fast-track leadership development that has delivered far more than I thought possible. At the start of the executive coaching I had a goal to become a Director in 18 months to 2 years time. Through the coaching, I was offered a Directorship after 6 months. As a manager and individual I feel totally revived and have gained instant benefit allowing me to achieve and surpass my desired objectives. If I had known the impact it had, I would have paid for it myself and done it ages ago!”
The practice as it's followed today generally traces its origins back to the 1840s, when Scottish surgeon James Braid built upon the idea of what he called “nervous sleep,” or, more specifically, “the induction of a habit of abstraction or mental concentration, in which, as in reverie or spontaneous abstraction, the powers of the mind are so much engrossed with a single idea or train of thought, as, for the nonce, to render the individual unconscious of, or indifferently conscious to, all other ideas, impressions, or trains of thought.”
Several professional organizations and licensing agencies exist for hypnotherapy practitioners. Examples include the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) and the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists. To be an ASCH member, practitioners must attend at least 40 hours of workshop training, 20 hours of individual training, and have completed at least two years of clinical practice as a hypnotherapist.
But conflating hypnosis with sleep (the word is derived from the Greek for sleep), is inaccurate, according to the hypnotist and author Charles Tebbetts, as relayed by his student C. Roy Hunter in his book The Art of Hypnosis: Mastering Basic Techniques. Hypnotism “is actually a natural state of mind and induced normally in everyday living much more often than it is induced artificially. Every time we become engrossed in a novel or a motion picture, we are in a natural hypnotic trance,” Tebetts wrote. Hunter writes that it's more accurate to say that all hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis. The hypnotherapist, much like a physical trainer then, is merely helping the subject convince themselves to do something they were already capable of doing, nudging them in the right direction.