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Executive Coaching And Clinical Psychology: Why This Combination Is A Winning Strategy

Executive Coaching and Clinical Psychology: Why This Combination Is a Winning Strategy

You’re a high-performance person. You have plenty of things on your plate to keep you busy – and most days, you feel like you’ve got it together.

But the more successful you become, the busier you get. And sometimes, you feel like you’re not sure how to balance your professional obligations, your personal life, and your own health and happiness overall.

Enter: Your Executive Coach.

What is Executive Coaching?

Put simply, executive coaching is a process through which you, an executive, are coached – usually by someone with a high level of expertise in a relevant area.

Most executive coaching happens on a one-on-one basis, with coaching programs lasting anywhere from a few months to a few years. The timeline and outcomes are generally determined by you and your coach, and they’re specific to your unique goals and aspirations.

Executive coaches most often work with high-potential clients to guide their performance to the next level – whatever that might be. You’ll benefit from an individualized plan based on your particular needs and regular progress evaluation.

Executive coaching improves efficiency and productivity in high-performing executives through a mix of interpersonal skills training, executive education, team building, and personal development that places an emphasis on strategies to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

What Are the Benefits of Executive Coaching?

An executive coach can help high-performance people stay focused on their work, keep perspective in challenging situations, and help them to be more effective managing big projects or difficult conversations with colleagues or team members.

Coaching can also help executives maintain healthy relationships outside the professional realm – both challenging and critical for high-performing executives who want to build sustainable success.

Executive coaching can help executives keep balance between their personal and professional lives, helping them to perform optimally while prioritizing their wellbeing beyond their professional identity.

What’s the Best Kind of Executive Coaching?

Executive coaches come in all shapes and sizes, and who you work with is a personal choice based on your experience, your industry, and your unique goals.

There is one thing in particular to consider, however: whether or not your executive coach is also a clinical psychologist.

As you climb the career ladder, tucking more and more success under your arm, you inevitably wind up carrying a heavier load. It’s not uncommon for high-performance people to struggle with bouts of anxiety or burnout, alongside generally higher levels of stress.

Choosing an executive coach whose expertise is in the world of business can be valuable in a lot of ways – their experience might give them an eye for efficient systems and processes, for example, and great insight into motivating a team.

But without a background in clinical psychology, that coach may not be able to help you quite as well. They may not be able to identify patterns or mental health barriers that play a role in keeping you from reaching your goals.

But When Your Executive Coach Is a Clinical Psychologist…

On the other hand, when your executive coach has a background in clinical psychology, they can help you not only excel in your career but also find balance between your professional identity, your personal life, and your overall health and wellbeing.

With this kind of executive coaching relationship, you’ll focus on a number of priorities:

Define Your Individual Goals

Executive coaching can help you achieve the goals most meaningful to you, both personally and professionally. While executive coaching isn’t a substitute for therapy or other therapeutic services, it does offer an opportunity to explore your combined identity in depth, as well as develop skills required for success over time.

An executive coach will work with you to identify the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and help you develop a personalized action plan that will provide the structure for achieving them. They will place an emphasis on developing skills to create balance in your life and help you work through the challenges or barriers that have been limiting your ability to reach your goals.

Leverage Your Strengths and Enhance Your Performance

Executive coaching is about leveraging the strengths of high performers. This form of coaching can help you pinpoint where you excel, as well as areas for growth and improvement. You’ll learn to use your strengths more effectively, and you’ll be able to develop strategies and timelines for improving your weaknesses.

By identifying areas of strength – not just weaknesses – you’ll be better able to identify where you want to spend your energy and efforts to improve. You’ll start to feel more confident in delegating tasks and accepting help, as you begin to gain even more appreciation for your own unique talents and those of your team members.

Manage Your Stress

High-performance executives face a lot of stress in their day-to-day lives. They often have to juggle multiple projects, keep up with the demands of their job, manage a team, and make time for family and personal life. This perpetual balancing act can lead to an excess of stress.

Executive coaching can help bring stressed-out high performers back to center, guiding them through a process of developing healthier habits and striking a better balance between the personal and professional.

Executive coaches who are clinical psychologists are also able to diagnose and treat any mental health disorders that might be getting in the way. In this way, they’re uniquely able to provide a highly-customized level of coaching care.

Improve Your Relationships and Strengthen Your Team

A strong benefit of executive coaching is the assistance it can provide when it comes to improving your professional relationships – either with colleagues or your direct reports. By working on self-awareness and emotional intelligence, your coach will help you interact more effectively and manage difficult conversations to a mutually-agreeable outcome.

As the leader of a professional team, your staff will look to you for guidance. This can be tricky, especially during those times of challenge or change, when even you aren’t quite sure what the right move is!

And high-level executives are often at the top of the proverbial food chain in their companies, with few people to turn to for advice. An executive coach is an objective outside resource that can provide you with guidance and feedback on your leadership style. Their perspective can give you a better sense of which of your communication patterns may be more or less effective, where change might be needed, and how to approach conflict resolution more successfully.

Executives who struggle with the interpersonal side of things often find coaching to be the game-changer that allows them to level up significantly in their chosen career.

You’ll Benefit From Choosing An Executive Coach Who Is Also a Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist is trained in the science and practice of assessing, diagnosing, treating, and preventing mental health disorders. They know the signs and symptoms of burnout, depression, and anxiety and can help you navigate these and many other issues before they derail your personal and professional progress.

Working with someone who has both coaching skills and training as a clinical psychologist will help to ensure that any potential roadblocks stemming from your mental health are identified and addressed – and that you’re feeling ready to take on the world at work, too!


AWP provides Executive Coaching services by our founder, Sharon Chirban, Ph.D. Start the conversation today.

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