PsychotherapyWorks With Dr. Eric Kothari

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Fax 703-787-8065



Executive Coaching

Coaching was once viewed by many as a tool to help correct underperformance, however today it is becoming much more widely used in supporting top performance. In fact, in a 2004 survey by Right Management Consultants (Philadelphia), 86 percent of companies said they used coaching to sharpen the skills of individuals who have been identified as future organizational leaders.

"Coaching has evolved into the mainstream fast," says Michael Goldberg, president of Building Blocks Consulting (Manalapan, New Jersey), whose clients include New York Life and MetLife. "This is because there is a great demand in the workplace for immediate results, and coaching can help provide that." How? By providing feedback and guidance in real time. "Coaching develops leaders in the context of their current jobs, without removing them from their day-to-day responsibilities."

At an even more basic level, many executives simply benefit from receiving any feedback at all. As individuals advance to the executive level, development feedback becomes increasingly important, more infrequent, and more unreliable. As a result, many executives plateau in critical interpersonal and leadership skills.

So, should you have a coach? And which managers in your sphere of responsibility might benefit from working with an outsider to help sharpen skills and overcome hurdles to better performance?

The right approach to answering these questions still varies a great deal depending on whom you ask, but input from several dozen coaches, and executives who have undergone coaching, does provide a useful framework for how to think about the role of coaching.

The road to coaching runs two ways. Although both the organization and the executive must be committed to coaching for it to be successful, the idea to engage a coach can originate from either HR and leadership development professionals or from executives themselves. In the past, it has more often sprung from the organizational side. But given the growing track record of coaching as a tool for fast movers, I see more executives choosing coaching as a proactive component of their professional life.

Executive coaching is not an end in itself. In spite of its apparently robust potential, the very act of taking on a coach will not help advance your career. In other words, don't seek coaching just because other fast movers in the firm seem to be benefiting from it.

Coaching is effective for executives who can say, "I want to get over there, but I'm not sure how to do it," says Dr. Kothari. "Coaching works best when you know what you want to get done." Perhaps, in spite of your outstanding track record, you have not yet gained the full interpersonal dexterity required of senior managers—for example, you're not yet a black belt in the art of influence, which is so important in the modern networked organization. Honing such a skill might be an appropriate goal for a coaching assignment.

But simply having a clear purpose won't guarantee coaching value. You have to be open to feedback and willing to create positive change. All valuable asset in the toolbox of the modern executive.

There are certain times when executives are most likely to benefit from coaching. Executives should seek coaching when they feel that a change in behavior—either for themselves or their team members—can make a significant difference in the long-term success of the organization. More specifically, the experts say, coaching can be particularly effective in times of change for an executive. That includes promotions, stretch assignments, and other new challenges. While you may be confident in your abilities to take on new tasks, you may feel that an independent sounding board would be beneficial in helping you achieve a new level of performance, especially if close confidants are now reporting to you. More so, you may recognize that succeeding in a new role requires skills that you have not needed to rely on in the past; a coach may help sharpen those skills, particularly when you need to do so on the fly.

But coaching is not just for tackling new assignments. It can also play an invigorating role. Coaches can help executives "develop new ways to attack old problems," says Dr. Kothari. "When efforts to change yourself, your team, or your company have failed—you are frustrated or burned out—a coach can be the outside expert to help you get to the root cause and make fundamental changes."

One increasingly common use of coaching for senior executives focuses on the challenges of managing younger workers, and on helping executives better understand and lead a new generation of employees whose work ethics and values are different. What more, with the emphasis on good writing, clarity of communication, and capcity to crystallize ideas in powerfully succinct and novel ways that appear manageable in the marketplace, coaching becomes a vehicle for strengthening what Dr. Kothari describes as "Executive Intelligence."

Coaching engagements should be part of a larger initiative.  Coaching works when it's systematic and many organizations use coaching as an integrated part of a larger leadership development program. Increasingly, firms incorporate "360-degree" feedback, using the results to indicate areas in which an executive might benefit from working with a coach. Has your feedback revealed an area in which you would like to improve? Is it a skill you need to refine in order to advance through the organization? Would you benefit from an outside perspective? The answers to these questions help gauge the potential value of coaching.

Coaching can provide benefits not available elsewhere. One of the big benefits of a coach is that they are not tied to the organization, your friends, or anyone else. They are tied to you only, so they support what you want and where you want to go. Even our families, who want the best for us, cannot be unbiased or totally objective. What you do or do not do impacts them, whether it's positive or negative. A coach is not impacted by your decisions, your wins or losses, or anything else.

As Dr. Kothari notes, this doesn't mean that company goals are not supported by coaching—indeed, the coach was most likely hired by the company to support the executive's efforts to achieve those goals. Even so, the role of the coach is not to represent specific company needs or interests. "The perspectives they provide, the alternatives discussed, and everything else has no agenda except to support the coachee.”

For better or worse, many executives canot find this type of conversation partner—what Dr. Kothari describes as a "truth speaker"

Ideally coaching is a three-way partnership between the executive, the coach, and the organization, in which all involved agree on specific goals and parameters. Even so, no one can really control coaching's outcomes.

So should companies worry that the coaching experience will reveal to valued executives a motivation that leads them astray from the intended organization path—or away from the firm altogether?

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.

Dr. Kothari is here to provide a powerfully rich learning environment and help focus corporate and individual energies to obtain a clear vision of what is needed to achieve their goals. His model of Executive Intelligence integrates the rich field of clinical psychology with the novel work in coaching to provide a template for growth and change that he calls Power Executive Coaching.

Potential Candidates:

  • Those who want to learn what it takes to become a great leader.
  • Talented management who are candidates in succession planning but deficient in their leadership and communication skills.
  • Technically proficient individuals who lack the political will or savvy to both promote and gain acceptance for their ideas.
  • Executive women who want to break the glass ceiling by learning the invisible rules of the game.
  • Inexperienced managers whose development is paramount to organizational success.
  • Established leaders who are approaching burnout and need assistance in balancing work/life or handling aged-related personal crisis.
  • Long-term employees who resist or who have not kept up with organizational change. Strategic thinkers who want to plot new initiatives for their department or organization.

    We partner with you to improve and succeed in a way you've always dreamed possible.  We offer confidential, convenient and cost-effective ways to accelerate success, giving you a major competitive edge.

How do we work?

We discover your personality traits and preferred way of handling situations. We explore your work style and work environment. We review your perceptions, attitudes and beliefs and leverage your strengths. And we help you examine obstacles and support you as you learn to work around areas of weakness, giving you the ability to find success on your own terms. Often we suggest a series of assessments to give you a mirror to view your behavior and become aware of how you can improve. Understanding oneself and developing the ability to motivate others are the pillars of leadership. Training is an event, but leadership is an ongoing process.

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Executive Coaching with Dr. Kothari was an enormously beneficial process where I came away with a much clearer understanding of my vision of leadership, how to achieve it for myself in the company and for the team I direct. Under Dr. Kothari's tutelage, issues of power, money, and strategic decision making were always dealt with tactfully, in ways that leveraged my innate executive abilities in the achievement of specific goals, while also pinpointing and strengthening weaknesses. All the while, Dr. Kothari's approach took into full consideration my love of family, friends, and demonstrated to me how attention to loved ones and to my own personal interests resulted in a vision that was inclusive of my whole life. It was a truly empowering process.