My misgivings about executive coaching are not a clarion call for psychotherapy or psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis, in particular, does not—and never will—suit everybody. Nor is it up to corporate leaders to ensure that all employees deal with their personal demons. My goal, as someone with a doctorate in psychology who also serves as an executive coach, is to heighten awareness of the difference between a “problem executive” who can be trained to function effectively and an “executive with a problem” who can best be helped by psychotherapy.
This is the process of helping the members of a group enhance their ability to work cohesively through the improvement of communication, group objectives, trust, and respect. Team building strategies are often used at the beginning of a season to help group members become more familiar and trusting of each other. Common techniques include group introductions of each other, ropes courses, and individual and team goal setting.
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.
Sport psychologists often work with several different types of athletes, from amateurs to professionals. Athletes might seek out these professionals on their own, or coaches might seek the help of these types of psychologists when they notice that the athletes under their tutelage seem to be off. According to one study, the majority of Olympic athletes have used several different types of psychological treatments to reduce anxiety before performances.
Here's one way to look at it. If an experience—through coaching or anything else—reveals an interest that leads an executive away from the firm, everyone stands to gain. The executive finds a better fit and, ideally, a space in the firm becomes available to someone who is motivated by the challenges at hand. It's much the same thinking that companies have gone through regarding leadership-development programs at large. The occasional departure of a manager in whom the firm has invested a great deal is offset many times over by the increased value of those who remain.
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.