Business CoachingExecutive Coaching

Psychology in Business & Executive Coaching

By September 8, 2021No Comments

A group of executives sitting casually in a meeting

There are lots of opinions out there about therapists and psychiatrists, everything from mocking laying on Freud’s couch to praising the ground they walk on.  But the fact is therapy helps people. Many people really benefit from the opportunity to talk with someone who has studied psychology, who can help treat root causes and not just symptoms.

In the past, there have been similar stigmas about business coaching. Before, if you heard the word coaching, you’d probably assume there was a problem. With a culture shift, though, coaching has become almost a status symbol, an indication that of considering one and one’s company worth the investment. Moreover, people are more willing to admit they need help.  They need the help of professionals to understand themselves and to grow and develop in their working environment.

Personal Vs. Professional Lives

“There is no man living who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can do.” – Henry Ford

Many in business think it isn’t professional to bring our personal lives into work and to an extent that is absolutely true. However, it is almost impossible for us not to bring our backgrounds and previous life experiences with us into the workplace. Those are what have shaped us into who we are today with regards to attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.

Personal issues do and will affect our work. It is that simple. Our previous experiences and current experiences have an impact on us and our behavior whether we like it or not.

On top of “personal” issues, people also can have emotional issues connected to their professional lives, such as anxiety, depression, exhaustion, hyperactivity, or narcissism.  Check out this article for more examples.

Not to mention the problems of starting and running a business. Starting a company can be all-consuming and isolating. Startups can grow rapidly, and founders aren’t always ready for the highs and lows and the massive workload involved.

Therapy Vs. Coaching

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” – Henry Ford

With so much going on in our lives and minds, it can be really nice to talk to someone.  So some people who would shun a “therapist” would gladly schedule regular visits with a “coach.” Coaching seems to be easier to accept, with a different stigma than therapy.

While it’s great that coaching might make more people willing to try therapy, it’s too general a category.  There aren’t the same regulations for coaching or “coach confidentiality” as there are for therapy.

Not to mention, they aren’t meant to be the same thing.  So where do we draw the line between coaching and therapy?

Define Boundaries

It starts with transparency. Coach’s need to be upfront about their training and experience.

A business or executive coach probably shouldn’t treat addiction, diagnose mental health disorders, or work with clients on resolving trauma or abuse. Those are issues that are probably better dealt with under the authority and legality of an actual therapist.

Some coaches do have psychological training.  With that background, they can help clients work through certain issues offering the course of coaching.

For instance, some of our clients have struggled with low self-confidence. Without addressing that issue, the clients couldn’t move forward with their goals as effectively.  They kept self-sabotaging, thinking they didn’t deserve success or hadn’t earned it.  Once they worked with Coach Weaver to increase their self-confidence and recognize their own skills and worth, they were finally able to start reaching their goals with the confidence that they deserved it.

Additionally, a business coach without psychological training can still help with some issues in a certain light.  They can be a great sounding board. For example, it would probably be helpful for a coach to know if a client is going through a divorce. Knowing that, a coach can help guide their clients on strategies for how to remain productive at work while experiencing those issues.

two hands holding a hammer and a nail to hammer into a board of wood

Coaching “The Whole Person”

“The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Albert Einstein

So, what does all this mean?  It means that many times it’s important for a business/executive coach to have some psychological training.  Coaches should be able to recognize when the “problem behaviors” are actually symptoms of deep-seated psychological difficulties. With training, coaches should be able to understand 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.

With this psychological training and understanding, a business/executive coach can work on helping individuals, not just fixing problems.  As they say, when all you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.  Instead, an expanded toolkit can help a business/executive coach focus on the “whole person”, not just the problems.

Our Approach

Coach Keith Weaver has education in psychology and experience as a business leader.  He works hard to create personalized coaching plans that help the “whole” client.

We want to focus on helping clients develop self-awareness by reflecting deeply on their current performance and mindset.  With the help of Predictive Index, we work to create have a structured, data-based foundation of introspection.

From there, we want to help clients work on significant behavioral and mindset changes.  With that introspection and foundation, we work with clients to create concrete plans and focused goals.  Ultimately, we want to help clients accelerate their success, enhance their effectiveness, and maximize results.

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