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November 10, 2013
by Roni(t) Meshi M Lami, Ph.D., MSc

Why Executive Counseling?

November 10, 2013 14:30 by Roni(t) Meshi M Lami, Ph.D., MSc

We live in a demanding world. We are called to perform at our best at work as well as at home. There is too much to do and the higher up the social statues hierarchy a person is, the more roles and responsibilities he/she has to face.

In an ever changing world it is hard for most executives to keep up mentally and emotionally. As work is becoming more and more demanding and the challenge to successfully manage both work and home responsibilities increases. While they are called to perform at their best, the executive’s position does not allow showing signs of ‘weaknesses'. It is a known fact that they feel isolated in the organizational hierarchy, as they are pressed into a role that suppresses their true feelings. Outwardly the executive has to be a model for employees or the company, but inwardly, the individual could be anguishing at work related problems or hurting at home related issues. It is clear those executives, who are further up the hierarchy, feel lonelier and more isolating. Dealing with conflicts at work or at home, priorities and demands, can negatively effect role effectiveness without support. In addition, time pressure and high stress levels can result in poor judgment and lack of clear thinking.  Nonetheless, at any level of hierarchy at the organization they may be, they are ‘trained’ to learn that they cannot share anxieties or concerns with colleagues or subordinates, since it can be fatal for their career development in the organization. 

No matter what is the reason the experience is not easy. Executives in today’s world are required to suppress their feelings, and show results. Yes, there are some advantages to managing oneself in this manner but the cost can be too high… 

Experience shows (and in other well documented research) that unless properly addressed, the results of this stress can accumulate, and can lead to physical and mental ill-health, depression, poor judgment, premature aging, and unemployment, involuntarily or voluntary – ‘early retirement’.

Thus, having a safe place to go to is crucial, but it can be seen as weak by others in the organization, to receive counseling. Company human resource departments and Employee Assistance Programs offering counseling are usually ruled out, because of the fear of possibly being seen in the same waiting room as other employees (one of which may be under their direct supervision!), or leaking confidential information.

It is for these reasons that executive counseling services are designed: to help the busy executive have a place to talk about any challenges in a safe and secure environment, as well as gain techniques and insights that will support their daily life. It is designed to help the executive through a discreet and highly effective counseling and coaching process. Many individuals have described executive counseling as a safe place to vent and talk about pressing work or personal issues.

The issues executives’ seek counseling for tend to fall under two main areas: I. Work based problems; II. Personal issues that hinder work.

The most identified subjects that are related to work based problems are (to name only few):

  • whistle blowing
  • unfairness at work
  • unethical work issues
  • stress /anxiety / depression
  • overload
  • someone else is taking the credit
  • emotionally dealing with denied promotion
  • dealing with bullying bosses
  • discrimination at work
  • sabotaging behavior
  • and more

The most identified subjects that are related to Personal issues that hinder work are(to name only few):

  • infidelity
  • conflict resolution
  • relationship and marriage issues
  • family counseling, dissatisfaction
  • stress and anxiety
  • money issues and challenges
  • communication at home (spouse, children)
  • children care difficulties.

For example, sometimes helping you the executive will require a family, couple’s or workplace intervention. It may be that only if the wife would understand her husband’s situation better and ‘nag’ less, it will tremendously impact her husband’s managing skills… in order to resolve it, the wife and the husband will join the counseling meeting. 

It is important to understand the functions external (not in-company) executive counseling fulfills:

  • It is designed to establish a therapeutic, safe and confidential setting
  • To instill an immediate peace of mind
  • Provide an objective review of the issue/s
  • Help the executive outline a plan of action that will have positive strategies.

In addition to assisting the executive with his immediate problem, he/she can utilize it to resolve other life challenges they experience.  Since the higher the levels, the less effective a person is at work if mental and emotional issues are not resolved.

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