What can organizations expect when their employees receive coaching? Clark, a certified coach herself, said the area that receives the biggest impact from coaching is self-awareness. “Any opportunity for people to understand themselves better is a good thing,” she said. “Our job is to make sure people continue to develop personally as they hone their technical skills. Managers need to understand how they come across to others. Not only do they learn how to become more effective, they discover the negative impact of not changing.”
Elite athletes, dancers and singers all have coaches. It would be inconceivable to expect a person to go it alone in professions like those without one. They require consistently high performance and support. The business world is no different. Executives interact in an equally demanding environment leading people in today’s complex, competitive global marketplace. Therefore, being offered a professional coach is often seen as a perk on most jobs; it’s a sign that an organization is investing in a leaders’ success.
Not all CEOs experience transference. Even so, coaches can easily expand their influence—from training to all-purpose advising—because CEOs don’t like to lose face. Company leaders understand what coaches do and often feel personally responsible for selecting them. As a result, they feel more accountable for their coaches’ successes or failures than they would if a psychotherapist were assigned to the case. In the same vein, when the CEO personally endorses a business plan, a number of psychological factors conspire to make it difficult to abandon that plan. Garvin was confronted with that situation when he authorized systemwide use of Nelson’s personnel development procedures.
Coaching is effective for executives who can say, "I want to get over there, but I'm not sure how to do it," says James Hunt, an associate professor of management at Babson College and coauthor of The Coaching Manager (Sage Publications, 2002). "Coaching works best when you know what you want to get done." Perhaps, in spite of your outstanding track record, you haven't yet gained the full interpersonal dexterity required of senior managers—for example, you're not yet a black belt in the art of influence, which is so important in the modern networked organization. Honing such a skill might be an appropriate goal for a coaching assignment.
Although there are different techniques, clinical hypnotherapy is generally performed in a calm, therapeutic environment. The therapist will guide you into a relaxed, focused state and ask you to think about experiences and situations in positive ways that can help you change the way you think and behave. Unlike some dramatic portrayals of hypnosis in movies, books, or on stage, you will not be unconscious, asleep, or in any way out of control of yourself. You will hear the therapist’s suggestions, but it is up to you to decide whether or not to act on them.