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A 2007 study from researchers at the American College of Chest Physicians compared hypnosis to nicotine replacement therapy. Fifty percent of patients who were treated in the hypnotherapy group were still quit at 26 weeks compared to just 15.78 percent in the nicotine replacement group. Patients who underwent NRT and hypnotherapy also experienced a 50-percent success rate at 26 weeks.
When it comes to quitting, sometimes it might seem that the deck is stacked a bit against you. After all, the tobacco in today’s cigarette is much more addictive than it was decades ago. I even learned companies are cultivating tobacco with higher levels of nicotine. Many more additives have been included. Cigarettes have been carefully engineered to make a long-term consumer out of you.
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.
Often, when an executive coach is engaged, business transformation is top of mind. Executive coaching efforts often focus on change management, yielding important results. It is common for organizations to seek out executive coaches who are adept at developing new business practices, implementing new technologies, or adopting new strategies. The tangible organizational benefits of executive coaching are manifold. Research by Performance Sales Executive Council found that effective coaching directly increased sales performance. On average, executive coaching of core sales representatives resulted in an 8 percent performance increase. A study published in the Manchester Review that primarily investigated executives from Fortune 1000 companies reported that executive coaching leads to improved customer service (39 percent frequency), cost reduction (23 percent) and increased bottom-line profitability (22 percent).
Companies have a very tough time dealing with workaholics like Mansfield. Such individuals tend to sacrifice social and avocational pursuits in favor of work, and businesses value their productivity. It’s hard to realize that these people have struck a Faustian bargain: trading success for “a life.” Mansfield became a workaholic because she harbored a tremendous fear of intimacy. Although she was young, attractive, and likable, her parents’ divorce and her mother’s subsequent emotional suffering (communicated to Mansfield as “all men are bastards”) left her fearful of forming intimate relationships with men. Those were easy for her to avoid when she managed discrete projects by putting in 80-hour work-weeks. But Mansfield could no longer do so when she became the manager of 11 professionals, seven of whom were men. For the first time in her career, males were showering her with attention, and the consequences were extremely disruptive.
Being able to see, understand and deal effectively with others’ perspectives is key to successful leadership (as well as personal life). That capacity, part of self-awareness, is empathy. Two recent studies show its crucial role. One looked at the impact of power in an organization upon behavior; the other, its impact upon brain activity. Both studies found that increased power reduces empathy.
In the 1950s, Milton H. Erickson developed a radically different approach to hypnotism, which has subsequently become known as "Ericksonian hypnotherapy" or "Neo-Ericksonian hypnotherapy." Erickson made use of an informal conversational approach with many clients and complex language patterns, and therapeutic strategies. This divergence from tradition led some of his colleagues, including Andre Weitzenhoffer, to dispute whether Erickson was right to label his approach "hypnosis" at all.