Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching

Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching

Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching

Psychological Dimensions of Executive Coaching


What are the critical success factors in effective executive coaching? What are the key competencies of a psychologically-informed coach? What are the similarities and differences between coaching and therapy? This book provides business coaches and management consultants with the framework for a psychological approach to executive coaching. It shows how performance-related issues in the workplace often have a psychological dimension to them and provides the reader with an understanding of how to work in more depth to help people resolve their issues and unlock their potential. It analyzes what constitutes effective coaching, stressing the importance of sound coaching principles, good coaching process, the desirable competencies of the coach, the importance of the coaching relationship and the issue of 'coachability'. It also examines the impact of a stronger psychological approach to coaching, exploring the key psychological competencies required, how to develop them, and the training and supervision issues implicit in this approach. A recurrent theme is the personal development of the coach throughout the coaching process and Peter Bluckert highlights the contribution that the Gestalt perspective offers the coach, through the use of self as instrument of change. Anecdotes, stories and case samples are used throughout the book to illustrate situations so that the reader builds a picture of what psychologically-informed coaching looks like and how to practice ethically, responsibly and competently. Psychological Dimensions to Executive Coaching provides business and executive coaches, management consultants, human resource specialists, corporate executives/senior managers, health/social workers, occupational psychologists, teachers, psychotherapists and counsellors with the essential information they need to be successful coaches and empower their clients.


This book has been a long time in the writing. I suspect that some of my family, friends, colleagues and former students will have wondered whether it would ever appear. I have to confess that I have shared these very same doubts myself at various times. There are some obvious reasons why it's taken so long to complete. Like many of you, I have chosen to lead a fairly busy life and there isn't always time for a book when competing priorities of family, business, friendship and leisure come together. I run a fairly hectic schedule.

Perhaps it's also to do with a sense of identity. I regard myself first and foremost as a practitioner and my sense of satisfaction comes primarily from doing the work. Nevertheless, I have always been fascinated by ideas about the nature of human conditioning and how change takes place. These themes have remained with me throughout my life and I have been fortunate enough to come across some wonderful teachers and mentors whose gifts and vision have inspired me. Many of these have come from the worlds of psychology and psychotherapy, in particular Gestalt, which has been my chief psychological frame for many years.

Towards the latter stages of writing this book I discovered another reason for the delay. the simple fact is that it's taken me a long time to know what I really think and want to say about coaching. This shouldn't surprise me given that one of coaching's core propositions is that we don't always know what we think until we take the time to express it to others.

If I have a strong purpose it's to bring together a number of principles and concepts, some of which are fairly simple and others that are undoubtedly complex in a way that helps you make better sense of what coaching is and can be. Because I believe that there are some wonderful ideas out there I make no apology for the fact that I will sometimes point you in the direction of other literature. One of my personal irritations is when coaching authors propound the virtue of learning and then fail to recognise the contributions of fellow writers.

One of the questions I often put to delegates on our advanced coaching programmes is whether coaching really has a theory of its own or whether it is entirely derivative, drawing its thinking from psychology, psychotherapy, organisation development (OD), leadership theory, adult learning, sports psychology and so on. Certainly most coach authors and practitioners reveal a predominant background from one, sometimes two of the following:

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