The Metamorphosis of the Successful Executive . . . Overcoming Professional Stagnation

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You're a bright, successful business executive making good money and managing a capable staff of accomplished professionals. You are successful beyond your wildest business school dreams. You've achieved much-yet something's missing. On the surface, life is good-yet you feel tired, drained, frustrated, defeated. Intuitively, you know your life can and should be more fulfilling.

Where do you turn? What can you do?

Four years ago, I reached a point in my career as a clinical psychologist where I, too, was unwilling to put up with any more professional "pain" and stagnation. I wanted more for my life and I knew I could have more. That's when I teamed up with a personal coach and began my own career transition to the relatively new profession of "Personal Coaching" . . . and I've never looked back.

Working with a personal coach provided me the direction and support I needed to reinvigorate my own life and change my career-to recapture my voice, my sense of purpose, my sense of direction. It's something you can have, too. Here's how.

With personal coaching, frustrated executives get back on track, re-energized, and are better able to positively influence their company and their peers. Working with a coach unhappy executives learn to set limits, to establish boundaries and to delegate. They become clearer in their goals and better able to communicate their values. They develop actionable strategies to improve their listening and interpersonal skills. They begin to make things happen, to set the pace for their own lives at work and at home, and-most importantly-they begin to eliminate stress.

A 2001 quantitative study of 100 executives, mostly from Fortune 1000 companies, places the return on investment for executive coaching at nearly 6 to 1. The study, conducted by Manchester Inc. (a globally-recognized provider of executive coaching services), also revealed that coaching increases organizational strength, productivity, quality, customer service, shareholder value, and executive retention.

The question you must ask is "Can I afford not to work with a coach?"

Working with a personal coach you can become a better manager-better able to lead and inspire your teams. You create an improved workplace environment where risk-taking and innovation is encouraged. Your employees become loyal, productive and more satisfied. Recruitment efforts take off. Customer relations and service improves. Your customer base grows. Profits grow, too.

Coaching doesn't work for everyone. For people who procrastinate, who are not willing to do the work, or who view coaching as "touchy feely" or frivolous, coaching won't be successful.

A coach is not a consultant. He or she does not have the answers-the person being coached does. A coach asks the big questions, provides feedback, offers support and constantly challenges the client to reach further - sometimes well beyond the client's current vision. The coach helps the client reduce stress, integrate self-care (exercise and healthy habits) into their lives, and make time for what is important. A coach can also provide resources and tools to help the client stay focused and achieve their goals.

Coaching relationships can be short- or long-term experiences, often ranging from three to six months to a year or more. Most often, individuals work with coaches by phone or in-person for a specified number of sessions per month. Coaching can also take place in groups, through teleclasses, and even in seminar or workshops settings.

Working with a coach is a highly personal experience, so finding the right coach-someone with whom you feel comfortable-is critical for success. The coaching industry estimates that there are more than 20,000 coaches-personal coaches, business coaches, marketing coaches, etc.-in the United States alone (and perhaps as many as 100,000 worldwide). When seeking a coach you should plan to interview several candidates at a minimum to find a good match.?

With the right coach and a personal willingness to try new things, to experiment and to make and learn from your mistakes, you can turn achievement and success into something more. Working with a coach, you can look challenge squarely in the eye, face emotional hurdles at work and at home, and overcome them-embracing life's "adventure" as you intuitively sense more rewarding opportunities ahead.

(c) 2004, Steven Bacharach Psy.D.? All rights in all media reserved.? This article may be reprinted so long as it is kept intact with the copyright and by-line.

Steven Bacharach, Psy.D. is a personal coach to executives who are seeking more fulfillment in all areas of their life. To learn more about coaching and arrange a complimentary session, contact Steven Bacharach Psy.D. by email at, by phone at (508) 358-9565, or visit his Web site at

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