Executive trainers are more dangerous when they win the CEO's ear. This places them in a position to wield great power over an entire organization, a scenario that occurs with disturbing frequency. Since many executive coaches were the corporate type in previous lives, they connect with CEOs much more easily than most psychotherapists. Business hierarchies are fluent and easily move from discussions about improving a person's performance to implementing interventions that can help entire business units capture or retain market share.
However, unless these executive coaches have been trained in the dynamics of interpersonal relationships, they may abuse their power, often unintentionally. In fact, many coaches gain control similar to that of Svengali over the executives they train and the CEOs they are accountable to, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Whether they are reflected in pop culture episodes of “Silicon Valley” and “Billions” that come to mind or through a quick look at your LinkedIn feed, it seems that lately everyone is looking for an executive coach or claiming to be one. While it's great to highlight the value of developing better leaders, the popularity of training also has a risky side.
CEOs thinking of hiring an executive coach should be aware of these risks to avoid potentially disastrous outcomes both for their organizations and for themselves. A senior partner at a major private equity firm had received negative comments about its ability to delegate. While it didn't really see this as a problem, the firm managed to get him to agree to meet with an executive coach to work on this essential leadership skill. The coach had been highly recommended, and the two shared an instant relationship and began to meet frequently.
However, what emerged in the following weeks was not what the organization needed or expected. It turned out that the executive reminded the coach of her recently deceased beloved father. As a result, the coach lost all objectivity and went on to play the role of defender, which basically reinforced his client's erroneous belief that the negative comments he received were unfair and were not based on facts. The coach may have had good intentions, but the unconscious and unrecognized feelings between them led to a deeper gap between the executive and the other key partners.
This caused lasting internal conflicts in the organization and damaged the credibility of the director of human resources, who had hired the coach, but was now forced to press against this external expert whom she once supported. Because of this wrong and probably undertrained coach, the executive saw no need to change his behavior and the whole thing was abruptly and clumsily abandoned. His team's staff turnover increased in the following months, resulting in reputational damage and irreparably damaging collegial relationships.
executive coachingis essentially a framework to help motivated professionals learn new behaviors.
Learning and adapting to new practices takes time and effort, so be wary of anyone who offers simple solutions or quick solutions. Effectively executed, the training results in what psychologist Dr. Robert Kegan refers to “transformational learning”, that is,. Coaching involves a deep knowledge of the environment surrounding the executive and an awareness of behavioral reinforcements and cultural variables that may function as obstacles.
A credible coach must be able to identify and articulate all the forces that maintain behavioral patterns and develop a convincing plan to address them. Finally, a good coach must not only be an expert in understanding others (their motivations, insecurities, personality strengths, weaknesses, etc.) but also in understanding himself. An essential prerequisite is a coach who has not only received training in how people can change their behavior, but who is aware of their own motivations. A good question when selecting an executive coach is whether they have been trained before and what that experience was like.
What did they learn about themselves and what surprised them? They must know what it's like to receive 360-degree feedback, for example, and have substantial experience as part of successful organizations and teams. They should also feel comfortable talking about training commitments that didn't go well for them. Perhaps the most valuable skill that an executive coach can bring to his work is the ability to reflect, with crystal clear clarity and without judgment, the internal dynamics of his client. The most effective buses are like mirrors, flat and polished.
You can easily overcome this obstacle and empower your managers with a personalized leadership training program. Once your managers are trained in training and have the right tools, they can begin to impact your employees through coach-coach relationships. Executive coaches' shortcomings are often the result of overreliance on a particular approach or approach. Second, even coaches who accept that an executive's problems may take time to address them tend to rely solely on behavioral solutions.
Coaching has no downside, but there are some things that can hinder the effectiveness of training. To understand in which situations each coaching approach can be used, it is necessary to compare the frameworks in terms of their advantages and disadvantages. Without safety measures that prevent coaches from training those whose problems are not due to lack of skills but to psychological problems, executives who receive training and the companies they work for will suffer. However, since the potential impact of an executive coach can be so high, his flaws, blind spots, and shortcomings must be rigorously understood before hiring him.
. As management guru Warren Bennis observes: “A lot of executive coaching is actually an acceptable form of psychotherapy. Many selfish coaches are quite effective at creating dependencies on high-level executives who would otherwise be highly successful. For example, many coaches who work with executives who appear to lack confidence use the technique in an effort to get them to perform better.
Many coaches gain control similar to that of Svengali, both over the executives they train and over the CEOs they are accountable to, sometimes with disastrous consequences. For executive coaching to have a significant impact, think of a coach with experience in psychology, someone who understands that their past experiences are the key to their identity, who has credible experiences in the business world, and who can constructively and empathically address both their strengths and weaknesses. To better help their executives, companies must draw on the expertise of psychotherapists and executive trainers with legitimate skills. .