Meridian Telescopes

A different look at the World

Day: June 17, 2014

Is Life Coaching The Same As Executive Coaching?

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As someone who is labelled a life coach (see, I use talking therapies in my practice in particular sfbt or brief solution focused therapy. Because there is little real difference when using the solution focus approach for therapy or coaching I find that the label of life coaching or the label of executive coaching is purely that. Working with individuals to help with anxiety or to sort out a problem, an issue, to help with depression probably conjures up a life coaching label although I have addressed similar situations when I have been brought in as an executive coach.

The way the world of work is, help with depression is an overlooked work problem. Whether it is sex, money or relationship problems, the exact causes of depression are difficult to exactly pin down. Doctors often prescribe anti depressant drugs or medication which may help.

Talking therapies which include cognitive behavioural therapy may also be of use. For me personally having trained in solution focused brief therapy, I find it a natural way to deal with emotional and other problems of the mind including stress, depression and burn out.

One of the reasons is that it’s very conversational so you don’t go around analysing deeply, you work with someone on the surface with the language they are using and you collaborate with them versus pretend you can see into their mind.

It also fits in with neuroscience ideas about how our brains process information and in particular what we pay attention to our attention in the present versus a “big dig up” of the past.

Help with stress and anxiety is a big part of an executive’s life in London so coaching often involves dealing with the mind and the issue of stress and anxiety.

In her book Executive coach Catherine Sandler says:

“Human Beings become anxious much more easily than is generally realised”


“Anxiety manifests itself in a wide range of hidden and indirect ways”

I also think that executives are far more interested in having a goal focused approach of up to 4 sessions to make progress rather than intense therapy and that coaching is a far more acceptable route than deep analytical therapy.

With 4 session sfbt or rather solution focused coaching the client is able to start work straight away rather than spending hours and hours analysing the causes of depression, the causes of anxiety. Yes it might be useful to know where the issue or problem came from or where the depression first occurred however the point of offering help with depression or help with anxiety is to find a way forward.

As Chris Iveson in a journal of professional development titled ‘Advances in Psychiatric Treatment’ states

“It explores current resources and future hopes rather than present problems and past causes and typically involves only three to five sessions. It has great value as a preliminary and often sufficient intervention and can be used safely as an adjunct to other treatments”