The practice does not have to be an exercise in platitudes
In a documentary from 2004, “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster”, members of the titular heavy-metal band hire a “performance-enhancement coach” to help them resolve their disagreements. The musicians cannot stand him and end up bonding over their decision to get rid of him. When an ex-banker, after years of working at Lehman Brothers and ubs, hired a coach to discuss his next steps, the nugget of wisdom he acquired in the course of half a dozen 40-minute sessions setting him back almost $8,000 was that he should seek a role where he would be “paid for his experience”.It is tempting to paint executive coaching as one more status symbol inflating a sense of high-powered managers’ already-ample sense of self-importance. Yet the practice—which combines management advice with therapy—does not have to be an expensive exercise in platitudes. Few executives remain static in their careers, and many need guidance at moments of transition, when relying on an internal monologue is not enough. The covid-19 pandemic, which heightened the anxiety felt by high-performers, increased the need for skilled coaching. A study from 2019 by Angel Advisors, a professional training service, found that coaching in America is now a $2bn industry—large for what might seem like a niche business. The existence of such demand strongly suggests that professional grooming has its uses. Read entire Economist article.