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The goal of ‘coaching’ is to make executives the best version of themselves

The more power, the greater the responsibility. In the field of the company, for example, people who reach the top are often forced to coexist with uncertainty, anxiety and stress. And if these intangible factors are not managed properly, they can end up contaminating the leadership style and affect the business management and the final results account.

When we do not know how to preserve calm in the face of adversity, we tend to suffer a lot of discomfort, which in turn plunges us into a vicious circle, which leads us to react negatively every time something happens that does not adapt to our desires and expectations.

This is why more and more Spanish executives are changing their mentality. Many of them “begin to realize that their internal well-being and balance are the basis of an efficient and inspiring leadership”, he concludes.

And proof of this is that since the beginning of the 21st century has begun to professionalize coaching, a discipline that promotes self-knowledge and personal development of senior managers, so that they can face with serenity and more objectivity the adversities and challenges inherent in their position .

The funny thing is that the figure of the coach or personal trainer appeared in the eighties of the last century to advise and develop tennis players more mature emotionally. The American expert in sports training Timothy Gallwell discovered that the technical quality of the elite tennis players was basically the same and that, ultimately, success depended on “mental or mental quality”, which this specialist called “internal game”.

This theory was soon extrapolated to the scope of the company by Sir John Whitmore, a pioneer in the practice of executive coaching , which helps managers to “get to know and understand themselves better, owning their minds and their thoughts” , which can generate “a profound change in the way of seeing themselves, as well as conceiving the management of other people,” explains coach Manuel Seijo, president of the Spanish Association of Coaching and Process Consulting (Aecop).

Of course, although coaching and psychology share their eagerness to listen to people to discover the causes of the effects they intend to modify, the difference is that while the psychologist focuses more on the problem, the coach sets his sights on the opportunity for growth. And not only that. “The good coach does not give answers or make decisions, but acts as a mirror so that it is the executive himself who discovers the solution for himself,” says Seijo.

Thus, it would not be unreasonable to say that the Greek philosopher Socrates, with his maieutic method, was one of the first coaches to have passed on to posterity. His philosophy was simple; its impact, very deep. He was dedicated to asking the pertinent questions at the opportune moment, allowing his interlocutor to discover the solution he was looking for.

According to Aecop, Spain has about 150 coaches or personal trainers for executives, but half of them are not officially accredited. Be that as it may, it is a “very scarce” figure, especially when compared to countries like the United States (which has some 40,000 professionals) or Great Britain (about 8,000), where for years this figure has been fully integrated into the most competitive companies, according to data of this association.

Although the main business schools and several Spanish universities have training programs in the field of coaching and emotional intelligence – at the moment there are more than 450 students studying to practice this discipline – the demand is much higher than the offer. The Aecop reveals that 40% of the directors of the companies that are part of the Ibex 35 already have the services of a coach . And everything points to the fact that the requests are going to go further.

Among the most recognized personal trainers in this country is Juan Carlos Cubeiro, director of the Eurotalent consultancy and coach of 30 “pupilos”, a name given to executives who decide to hire this type of advice. “After establishing a close relationship of trust, our role is to promote certain changes in the conscience of the manager, so that he can leave the leadership centered on the self to work towards leadership based on the us,” says Cubeiro.

As a result of this personal and professional relationship, which is completely confidential, “managers usually manage their emotions much better, which leads them to become aware of the importance of aligning the organizational culture of their company with the well-being of their employees”, Cubeiro recognizes. “We show them how to develop new skills to get new results, but real work can only be done by them,” he adds.

To get this evolution to fruition, coach and pupil usually meet three hours every three weeks. Between session and session, they try to maintain contact through mobile and email. For a process of six months, the Spanish coaches of first level charge about 6,000 euros. And the truth is that managers are usually faithful : only 5% leave the process, according to data from the Aecop.

Among the known managers who receive this type of service are Rosa García, president of Microsoft Iberia; César González, CEO of ING Direct, and Laura González-Molero, president of Merck, which in Spain has a staff of 1,000 people. In the opinion of González-Molero, “due to the enormous workload and the numerous pressures and tensions of the day to day, we usually do not spend enough time to think carefully to make the best decisions”. Thus, “thanks to coaching I am growing and evolving as a person, especially because I am learning to see things from a different perspective”, he acknowledges.

“I no longer waste time or energy complaining about what has happened or fearing what has not yet happened,” he explains. “I have realized that being the owner of my thoughts, I can focus more on the present moment, which is where I can really act and generate real added value,” he says.

And this statement is endorsed by the Official Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Madrid, which last year was awarded as executive of the year . Yes, Gonzalez-Molero recommends that managers do not venture “to start the journey that proposes coaching unless they really want to transform themselves to be more mature people and, consequently, more competent professionals.”

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