The popularity of executive coaching owes much to the modern craze for easy answers. Businesspeople in general—and American ones in particular—constantly look for new ways to change as quickly and painlessly as possible. Self-help manuals abound. Success is defined in 12 simple steps or seven effective habits. In this environment of quick fixes, psychotherapy has become marginalized. And executive coaches have stepped in to fill the gap, offering a kind of instant alternative. As management guru Warren Bennis observes, “A lot of executive coaching is really an acceptable form of psychotherapy. It’s still tough to say, ‘I’m going to see my therapist.’ It’s okay to say, ‘I’m getting counseling from my coach.’”

“Hypnosis is a different state of mind associated with four major characteristics,” he said. First is a “highly focused attention on something.” It could be an issue you're having, or a problem you want to address. Second is disassociating oneself from the immediate physical environment. “You focus on the beach in Florida in the middle of a Boston winter,” he said, anticipating my particular winter-addled frame of mind perfectly. “Instead of traveling there, you go there with your mind, and you're fully focused on the beach.”
Most organizations believe that once someone reaches executive or senior status in the organization, they should inherently be able to act under pressure, inspire and implement ideas, keep their skills sharp and current, and have all the answers. In actuality, they can eventually get there on their own but the engagement of a qualified executive coach will exponentially increase not only the time it takes for the executive to get there but also the ability for the executive and the company to sustain the change.
While there is a multitude of different tangible benefits associated with executive coaching, many benefits don't appear as line items on financial statements. Executive coaching often focuses on leadership skills and relationships with managers, direct reports, co-workers, and other stakeholders. In these cases, executive coaches focus on teamwork, problem solving, decision making, and conflict resolution skills. The results can be transformative. A survey reported by Clear Coaching Limited found that executive coaching resulted in improvements in work relationships within a team (50 percent frequency), employees' abilities to see others' perspectives (47 percent), and improved atmosphere (40 percent). In a world where the strength of an organization's culture is increasingly trumping salary levels in terms of importance to employees, these intangible benefits are more relevant than ever.

To achieve fast results, many popular executive coaches model their interventions after those used by sports coaches, employing techniques that reject out of hand any introspective process that can take time and cause “paralysis by analysis.” The idea that an executive coach can help employees improve performance quickly is a great selling point to CEOs, who put the bottom line first. Yet that approach tends to gloss over any unconscious conflict the employee might have. This can have disastrous consequences for the company in the long term and can exacerbate the psychological damage to the person targeted for help.


Coleman Griffith made numerous contributions to the field of sport psychology, but most notable was his belief that field studies (such as athlete and coach interviews) could provide a more thorough understanding of how psychological principles play out in competitive situations. Griffith devoted himself to rigorous research, and also published for both applied and academic audiences, noting that the applicability of sport psychology research was equally important with the generation of knowledge. Finally, Griffith recognized that sport psychology promoted performance enhancement and personal growth.
Hypnotism is such an amorphous concept, that when I asked a couple practitioners what it is, they spent a good portion of the discussion telling me what it is not. Many of us are familiar with the process of hypnosis from the popular brand of hypnotist entertainers, where guests are plucked from nightclub audiences to go embarrass themselves on stage. Or, if not that, then from fictional depictions of a Freudian type smugly waving a stopwatch in front of a patient's face. Those are both big misconceptions, Hall explained while prepping his crowd for the descent into a state of enhanced relaxation.
Most people understand transference as “falling in love” with one’s therapist. While this can be a manifestation, it paints an incomplete picture of the phenomenon. Transference can be positive or negative. Essentially, it is a powerful feeling for someone whose traits mirror those of a significant person—typically a parent—from one’s past. Garvin formed a positive transference toward Nelson (who “saved” his COO). That placed Garvin in the role of an information-dependent child vis-à-vis an expert parent. Garvin relied on his coach to come up with best practices for handling problem executives. CEOs often form these sorts of relationships with their coaches.
A unique combination of medical and psychological competencies is needed to become a qualified sports psychologist in the United States, though individual qualifications and licensure requirements vary from state to state. Few schools in the U.S. offer undergraduate or graduate programs specifically in sports psychology, though students looking to major in this field may double-major in psychology and exercise science or pursue a degree in clinical psychology with a sports psychology concentration.
By dint of McNulty’s force of personality or indefatigability, Mirabella stopped fighting his coach’s efforts to toughen him up. To all outward appearances, Mirabella began acting like the assertive executive he wasn’t. Once McNulty saw Mirabella’s behavior change, he told the CEO that Mirabella was now up to the job. But within a week of ending his meetings with McNulty, Mirabella became severely depressed. At that point, he turned to me for help.
The Federal Dictionary of Occupational Titles describes the job of the hypnotherapist: "Induces hypnotic state in client to increase motivation or alter behavior patterns: Consults with client to determine nature of problem. Prepares client to enter hypnotic state by explaining how hypnosis works and what client will experience. Tests subject to determine degree of physical and emotional suggestibility. Induces hypnotic state in client, using individualized methods and techniques of hypnosis based on interpretation of test results and analysis of client's problem. May train client in self-hypnosis conditioning. GOE: 10.02.02 STRENGTH: S GED: R4 M3 L4 SVP: 7 DLU: 77"[8]
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