It is the job David Brent believes he was born to do. Executive coaches claim they can improve organisational performance by transforming the way people relate.
The best of the bunch will charge you £2,000 a day for their troubles – but profess they are worth every penny. So what are they and how can you become one?
The concept first started in the US in the 1980s and then rapidly spread throughout Europe. By focusing on training individual managers at every level in a corporation, executive coaches were able to achieve impressive results.
They tackled areas that had long been neglected by conventional workplace trainers, targeting communication skills, work-life balance and conflict resolution.
For many years, hiring an executive coach was seen as ‘seeing the shrink’, but as coaching paid dividends, companies became less cynical.
Gerard Clery-Melin, boss of headhunting group Whitehead Mann - which recently took over the leading coaching firm, Change Partnership - says attitudes towards coaching are changing.
Clery-Melin, whose coaching firm works with half the FTSE 100, says: “This is not remedial stuff. It is about developing leadership skills and working on weaknesses.”
Natalie Bloom, co-founder of the Good Bean Coffee Company, also believes in the value of executive coaching.
She says: “I read a business magazine that dismissed coaching as a fad, but I thought it was a brilliant idea. It has been a huge benefit. I needed another dimension and coaching gives it. It helps make you more effective so, hopefully, you get better.”
According to Amanda Vickers, director of Speak First, one of the UK’s foremost executive coaching companies, it’s all about getting the best out of peop