Even more concerning, when an executive’s problems stem from undetected or ignored psychological difficulties, coaching can actually make a bad situation worse.
His behavior was symptomatic of a sense of entitlement run amok.
It is not at all uncommon to find narcissists at the top of workplace hierarchies; before their character flaws prove to be their undoing, they can be very productive.
Roughly six months after Bernstein and Davis finished working together, Bernstein’s immediate boss left the business, and he was tapped to fill the position.
True to his history, Bernstein was soon embroiled in controversy.
The paradox of Bernstein’s circumstance was that working with his executive coach had only served to shield him from pain and his sense of grandiosity, as reflected in the feeling, “I’m so important that the boss paid for a special coach to help me.” Executive coaching further eroded Bernstein’s performance, as often occurs when narcissists avoid the truth.
My misgivings about executive coaching are not a clarion call for psychotherapy or psychoanalysis.Narcissists are driven to achieve, yet because they are so grandiose, they often end up negating all the good they accomplish.Not only do narcissists devalue those they feel are beneath them, but such self-involved individuals also readily disregard rules they are contemptuous of.No doubt these people help executives improve their performance in many areas. I believe that in an alarming number of situations, executive coaches who lack rigorous psychological training do more harm than good.By dint of their backgrounds and biases, they downplay or simply ignore deep-seated psychological problems they don’t understand.In this environment of quick fixes, psychotherapy has become marginalized.