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Executive Coaching: Division in Two?

“Escaping the Man Cage” – that’s what Martha Beck [a professed Life Coach] calls her workshop on the West Coast US. Ken Martin and I call it “essence Recovery”. Whatever you call it, the trap men fall into is a deep one and getting out is life itself.
“Many men were assuming they had to do things a certain way:
– ignore passion in favor of safer bets
– act stoic amid internal turmoil
– run on an upward trajectory of success and money acquisition at any cost.
But these are not rules. They are just theories that haven’t been tested.”
I could add to that list more horribly confining “rules” that I see my confreres labouring under at the cost of – their lives.

What a loss. You would think that any investment would be worth recovering from that deep injury.

It’s like health. I see wealthy people grinding along coping with sore, mobility limiting knees, hips or backs. They’re waiting for the overstressed system here to get to them – but are met with delays getting the necessary MRI’s, or appointments with orthopods or scheduled surgery times. They let their active lives decay while sitting passively at the mercy of Alberta “Health”. Some never get back to full life after their two years or so are finally over and the necessary intervention has been performed.

People, what is money for? You can’t invest in your most basic capital equipment – yourself – because there is a low cost [but almost punitive] alternative? How do folks who can competently take risks, invest money confidently to make money, recognizers that opportunity happens now, get into accepting such of a destruction of their vitality? Get thee to a [available now] surgeon. Spend the cash. Get back on your hind legs and get back in the game. Before you rot!

Same for male quality of life. Not so visible as a limp, maybe, but just as limiting.
However, many can get past the idea of an executive coach. The more adventuresome, those who recognize that expecting change for the better without investing in new inputs meets Freud’s definition of insanity, are ready to embrace professional mentorship from someone like me.

They can sign up for improvement of their executive skills.   They can buy that they need to:
– deal with conflict better
– bring accountability to their workforce
– do better, more penetrating planning
– be better implementers
– seize opportunity now

And the results I see in the guys I work with [sorry, that seems to be who comes] are gratifying in the extreme. Presidents finally moving to realize long held goals that they had been stuck on. Exec’s confidently addressing central issues they had avoided at great cost. Companies rocketing forward. Dilemmas confronted and overcome. The proof is around them, as more and more avail themselves of outside help to get on with business life by adding new input to old problems and new openings. Something like 70% of CEOs now utilize such resources.

So why won’t more unhappy, unfulfilled mid-lifers invest in their own personal welfare? It’s not like they can’t afford it. Can they really justify living in “man cages” that mean they are perennially, chronically discontented? How long can that go on without being translated into permanently warped frames of reference and diminished appetite for living?

I have the privilege of working with several men who have made the decision to achieve escape velocity in their lives. I don’t mean by that leaving the wife and children. Complaints about domestic life are sometimes the starting point but that’s because it’s easier to focus externally than face what really needs work and change. It’s on the inside.

A dramatically dynamic Vancouver labor lawyer who just didn’t want to be who he’d become and wanted a difference in the expression of his life. He just couldn’t stand the man cage any longer. I’m pleased to report he’s making great strides to greater enjoyment in his life. A President who at 55 wanted to seize what he saw was his last chance – now looking forward to his “second mid-life” with appetite and joy.

Some are afraid of looking weak – they need an external but should have been able to solve it themselves. They haven’t. Case closed.

Some have demonized self help, coaches and “shrinks”. Nothing like stealing legitimacy from the known sources of growth and change that could make a difference for you!

Others are completely seduced by a status quo that gives them what I call the “consolation prizes”. They can buy anything. They can go anywhere. They can do “anything”. But it all tastes bland, then turns sour in the mouth.

Nothing really satisfies but attaining release and stepping into a more full, gratifying life.

Does essence recovery connect with greater business effectiveness? Inevitably. The whole person shows up for work every day. If that soul is caught in a cage, how can we expect anything but a crabbed and limited approach to challenges? How can the prospect be one of openness and optimism? Men think they can make watertight compartments between life and work. Is that so?

Is there a division between life coaching and executive mentoring? I’m not sure…..

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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