Leaders today can get “psyched out” from the negative impact of today’s fast-paced, constant, large-scale change. In this lean business climate, leaders face takeovers, mergers, cutbacks, and layoffs. More and more organizations are reducing their staff in order to save money. Highly mortgaged homes and other trappings of success create pressure to climb the corporate ladder in search of increased income. Being in debt from living beyond our means can lead to financial stress. Leaders often find themselves having to learn new trades or skills. They are forced to change in order to survive. As corporations become more competitive, responsive, and cost-effective, fewer staff must do the work once done by teams. Executive coaches who have training and experience in psychological concepts and interventions can help these leaders become psychologically equipped.
In the past, employees managed this stress through the support of their “family” of colleagues at work. Today, however, that family is gone due to mergers, restructuring, and downsizing. In addition to this break-down of the corporate family, the support and structure of at-home family has broken down due to an increased divorce rate. The disappearance of these two support networks led to decreased performance. The worst part of all of this is that, while the complexity of change demands more psychological growth now than ever before, less support is available. Nevertheless, the focus of executive/leadership coaching is on performance improvement rather than mental health symptom alleviation.
Executives are usually high achievers burdened by unrealistic daily demands. They have a strong desire to accomplish as much as possible, but are often in a role that offers little job security or tenure. Although they have authority, they are often powerless to change the people who must implement their vision. Even when they do get support from their board, they can’t risk appearing unsure or conflicted. Although they value their families, they seldom see them. They have friends, but those friends often have a hidden agenda involving money and future employment. Many executives find themselves in a race against time. They feel it is urgent that they make their mark on the world. This is where I help executives: I help them embrace their strengths while accepting their limits.
As a leadership coach, I apply psychological concepts to help leaders face an ever increasing pace of change. For example, I help executives make major mindset changes leading to improved business performance. What they learn at work they quickly take home for use with their families. Executive coaching is not for addressing mental health issues, but for creating an acceptable support system for leaders seeking personal growth. This is important because there is very little human resource assistance for leaders facing personal challenges. My brand of psychology provides insights essential for leadership success in these increasingly challenging times.
Leaders have to fire friends, close down departments, and hold their temper with reporters who threaten to defame them. They must second-guess supportive board members, endure endless business dinners, and give countless speeches about the company’s vision for its future. They also have to sit in constant meetings––selling, persuading, coercing, scolding and maybe even threatening––colleagues and direct reports to embrace the corporate mission. Almost every goal they have must be implemented through others. This requires emotional intelligence, resilience, and sophistication. On a daily basis, they face barriers such as slashed budgets, shrunken markets, ruthless competitors, higher costs, resentful employees, inpatient boards, disloyal managers, and frustrated customers. In other words, those at the top are incredibly valuable and vulnerable.
As a leadership or executive coach, I use the power of psychology to help leaders accelerate their growth; transform their thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, and conclusions; unlock their creativity, motivation and commitment; heal the organization from change and loss; and, predict future behavior of individuals and groups based upon their past. We begin by helping the leader become keenly aware of their teams and operations. I help organizations increase their ability to see things as they are, and develop insights based on accurate, unfiltered data about the business and its performance, free of politics and distortions.
Under tremendous pressure from unrealistic expectations, leaders are expected to remain focused, objective, selfless, and in control. The stress associated with being an executive include being forced to fire long-standing colleagues to meet unexpected budget cuts, humiliation from losing money on a poorly implemented plan, and facing media that blame the executive for bad earnings. Supervisors need interpersonal skills. Middle managers need empowerment. And, executives, having moved to the top of the corporate ladder wonder who would even want that position. All of this demonstrates the need for psychologically trained coaches and consultants.
Using clinical strategies and techniques, I help leaders achieve business results faster. In the process, morale improves. My training has made me more sensitized to the vulnerability that corporate clients feel when opening the organization to outsiders. Unlike management consultants, I respect confidentiality of all parties. As an executive coach, I help my clients get their ideas heard while still keeping my mouth shut.
Over time, corporations have recognized the need to go outside their own organization for assistance, to get help from management consultants. However, these consultants are neither trained nor experienced in delivering complex psychological interventions. Because of their lack of psychological training, these consultants do not understand the impact of significant rapid change. Not having the tools or the training to correctly diagnose individual, team, and organizational problems, these consultants are unable to offer effective long-lasting solutions. Therefore interventions are short-term and often fail. Most traditional management consultants are not trained in interpreting psychological dynamics or predicting behavior.
Because I have an entrepreneurial spirit, I took those tools that I developed in my counseling practice and apply them to my leadership coaching/training practice. Applying clinical psychology principles to business situations enables me to come up with viable solutions that work. Executives are impressed by my ability to apply complex psychological concepts to a variety of everyday business issues. I have received advanced degrees and licenses allowing me to succeed in both the clinical setting and an entrepreneurial practice. Being highly trained and academic, I find business principles easy to grasp. I have developed the ability to observe, listen, and analyze at many levels so that my recommendations are comprehensive and multidimensional.
The personal growth of an executive in a coaching relationship has a dramatic impact on their leadership skills. Growing leaders can transform the organization. And, executives who have influence over people benefit significantly from the self-awareness they gain from coaching. Applying psychological concepts allows them to achieve that awareness. Psychotherapists like myself who become executive coaches are very well suited to support organizational change. The tools we bring to corporate dilemmas include:
- Training in group processes, facilitation, and individual analysis
- Knowledge of developmental milestones and transitions
- Understanding of the formation of beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors
Because we can see the relationship between history, people, and process and can implement strategic interventions, psychologically trained executive coaches can help leaders make rapid changes.
The skills and talents I offer to executives and other leaders as a highly trained therapist include:
- Expertise at forming and building a trusting relationship. This includes active, empathic listening, rapport building, interpretation, and confrontation skills
- Multidimensional training and experience used to analyze issues, seeing problems as intra-personal as well as interpersonal, or systemic.
- Heightened sensitivity and awareness of human behavior which allows me to keenly and closely observe people.
- Years of experience conducting therapy, addressing challenging issues, and facilitating positive change.
Contact me at AdvantEdge Success Coaching & Training if you are interested in hiring a coach with these skills and talents.
Author, Trainer/Facilitator, Executive Coach
LPI (Leadership Practices Inventory) Certified Coach
DISC Certified Behavior Analyst
AdvantEdge Success Coaching & Training
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