vPsychology for Business

We are dedicated to bringing out the best in you and your employees


Volume 3, Number 12                                                             June 14, 2002


Psychology for Business is a free e-mail newsletter written by  Dr. John Weaver (jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com) Dr. Lynda Dahlke (ldahlke@psychologyforbusiness.com), and Dr. Paul Glass (pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com), business psychologists and independent consultants. It is published bi-weekly. You’ve received this newsletter because you’ve subscribed to it or it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague. To subscribe sign up at our website,
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by Dr. John Weaver, Business Psychologist and Executive Coach

"I believe that in an alarming number of situations, executive coaches who lack rigorous psychological training do more harm than good." This quote appeared in a recent article by Steven Berglas, titled, Dangers of Executive Coaching, in the Harvard Business Review (June 2002). How should an individual or a business find the coach that will be most helpful?  What are the critical factors that should be considered?

Here are three questions you should ask before you hire a coach:

1.  What do you need from a coach? 

Are you looking for a coach to help you start a new business?  It might be advantageous to find someone who has done it successfully before.  Coaches who have been successful in previous work that is similar to the project you are contemplating are going to be helpful.  Coaches who have worked with others in your industry may also know what you need from their experience with many individuals who have worked in the business.  When I work with someone who has a business that is new to me, some time is needed for me to understand the ins and outs of his or her day to day responsibilities.  That can be done, but when the object is to start a new business, you run the risk of "the blind leading the blind" when the coach has no experience working in that industry.  A responsible coach will acknowledge this and help you to find the right professional.

Are you looking for development of your own talents?  It is important that your coach has good training in psychological science.  Many coaches have a very clear sense of what works for them, but without the rigor of psychological training, there is a tendency to believe that what works for them will work equally well for everyone.  Part of the training provided in psychology expands the awareness of the coach about the many differences between individuals.  By tailoring his or her interventions to your needs the coaching interventions will be much more successful.  You need someone who understand the dynamics of personality.  Coaches who have training in clinical psychology are uniquely situated to take on this task.  If you are looking to develop your own talents this is more important than finding someone who knows your business.

Are you in need of an objective professional with whom to talk?  It is important to find a coach who can listen effectively.  He or she must be able to understand you and be able to strike the balance between challenging you to grow and supporting you where you are right now.  This can be sensed almost immediately during the initial interview with the coach.  Does he or she understand your vision for the future?  Does he or she grasp your pain and your concerns?  Is what you say taken seriously? Leadership is an inherently lonely task.  There is information that you cannot discuss with subordinates because they need to see you in a certain way.  There are questions or doubts that cannot be shared with superiors or with the board without a loss of confidence in your ability to lead.  A coach can be a good resource for this problem. 

Are you referring an employee who has potential, to develop his or her skills?  You need a coach who is familiar with leadership development and emotional intelligence skills.  It is relatively easy for leaders to acquire the technical knowledge that they need to perform their job.  The element that sets outstanding leaders apart from the pack are their skills in working with people, and their abilities to form those individual employees into coherent teams. The ability to develop talent and improve emotional intelligence in leaders is one of the most important sources of the return on investment of coaching.  Studies have shown the ROI on coaching to be as high as 529% when it is used to develop the leaders of an organization.

Are you referring an employee because of problems in the way he or she is handling work?  You need to find a coach who is rigorously trained in psychology.  Do not refer these individual to a coach with less training! There are many potential reasons for problems that are arising in the work setting.  The most disturbing and potentially damaging problems, both for the individual and for the well-being of the organization, may be grounded in serious psychological disturbances.  Without rigorous training, these problems may be overlooked, resulting in an inadequate resolution of the problem or even expensive mistakes that hamper the success of your organization in the future.  These employees should only work with coaches who are trained to recognize more serious difficulties and who are capable of making appropriate referrals when necessary.

2.  What type of qualifications does the coach have?

There are many types of certifications available for coaches at this point in time.  For example, there are 3 levels of certification for coaches who have been trained through Mentor Coach (http://www.mentorcoach.com/), where I am a faculty member and part of the Trainer Team.  Nearly every coach training program has its own certification requirements, although there are more similarities than differences between them.  It is a good idea to ask a potential coach what levels of training he or she has that qualifies him or her as a coach.  Coaching is currently completely unregulated and anyone can claim the title.  Not everyone brings the same levels of skill to the endeavor.  Certification is one way for you to determine if the coach has the qualifications you seek.

In addition to coach training, some coaches are licensed as psychologists, social workers, or professional counselors.  At Psychology for Business, we are all licensed psychologists. Licensure does not imply that individuals have received training in coaching skills, so it is important to also check this out.  Does the licensed individual also have additional training as a coach?  However, licensure does provide the consumer with additional safeguards.  Licensed individuals have bound himself or herself to a code of ethics.  This code of ethics is enforced by a state licensing board that will provide a remedy to anyone who believes that the coach has not acted properly.

3.  How do you find a coach?

This may be one of the biggest challenges facing the person looking for a coach.  You cannot look in the phone book.  Lists on internet sites are not screened, so anyone can list themselves as a coach.

Ask someone you trust who is already working with a coach.  You can gather a lot of information from friends who are already using a coach.  What do they like about their coach?  What does not seem to work for them? 

Interview the potential coach.  It is the convention of the coaching industry to provide the first session (usually ½ hour) as a free consultation.  Interview several individuals and find out what they would recommend for your issues.  Ask about qualifications including training, certification and licensure.  Learn about their experience with similar individuals.

If the coach writes a newsletter or has publications, read what he or she has written to determine if you feel comfortable with his or her approach. 

Once you have found a coach with whom you are comfortable, you can begin the process of making it work for you.  Set measurable goals.  Commit to working hard with your coach for at least six months and then review your progress.  This is an important investment in your success.  Use it well.


Did you know that executive coaching is not geographically limited?  Coaching by telephone is effective.  It is also an efficient use of time and resources.  You never need to leave your office to travel, nor do you need to pay travel expenses for your coach. To find out if coaching is right for you, contact us to schedule a FREE 1/2 hour consultation.  Call us at: (262) 789-2728 or email us at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com. ==============================================================================================

About the Author

John Weaver, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist with 22 years’ professional experience working with organizations, groups, and individuals. He has experience leading groups and creating teamwork in organizations. His areas of expertise include assisting teams and individuals to improve performance under stress, assessing employees and potential employees to ensure the right person for the right job, working toward conflict resolution, and training in stress management and "stress hardiness" skills for individuals and groups. He is an experienced public speaker.

Based in Waukesha, WI, Dr. John Weaver is available for consultation or executive coaching by phone, e-mail or in person. He may be reached at (262) 789-2728 (office) or (414) 491-8719 (cell), by e-mail: mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com or: 

John Weaver, Psy.D. 
Psychology for Business
2717 North Grandview Boulevard, Suite 303
Waukesha, Wisconsin, 53188

Archives:  All our previous newsletters are archived at http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/eNewsletter.htm.  Check out the series on The Vitamin C’s of an Emotionally Healthy Workplace, the series on Dealing with Difficult Employees, links to our Published Articles and our newest series, Triple "A" Leadership.

Dr. John Weaver has a new article, The "Failures" of Perfect Leaders,  published in the electronic version of Executive Update MagazineMany  leaders probably recognize a perfectionism streak within themselves, but what they may miss is that organizational success could depend on their ability to simply be "excellent," not perfect. You can read it online: http://www.gwsae.org/executiveupdate/2002/June/ElectronicIssue/leadership.htm.


Save your company big money!  Reduce the frustrations of your managers.  Learn what works. Hot off the press: Your first practical guide to Managing Difficult Personalities in Your Workplace!  Very user friendly.  Extremely practical. Order your copy of this new book, MANAGING DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES IN THE WORKPLACE: A MANAGER’S PRACTICAL GUIDE, by Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass.

Send your name, address, number of copies desired and a check made out to Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass for $12 per book (plus $2 shipping per book).  Or order 10 or more copies for $10 per book and $6.95 for shipping (up to 50 copies).  No fluff, this book gets right to the point. Send orders to:

Dr. Paul Kenneth Glass
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188   

Phone: (262) 544-6486    Fax: (262) 544-6377    Email: mailto:pglass@psychologyforbusiness.com

To order the booklet: 41 WAYS TO IMPROVE THE EMOTIONAL HEALTH OF YOUR WORKPLACE, send a check for $6 and a self-addressed, double stamped business size envelope to:

Dr. John Weaver
Psychology for Business
2717 N. Grandview Blvd. #303
Waukesha, WI 53188

If you would like to order multiple copies, send an email to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to request a price sheet.  Order in quantity and save.


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If you would like to learn more about Dr. John Weaver, Dr. Lynda Dahlke, and Dr. Paul Glass please visit us at our website: http://www.psychologyforbusiness.com/.


© Copyright 2002. All rights reserved. John Weaver. Distribution rights: The above material is copyrighted, but you may retransmit or distribute it to whomever you wish as long as not a single word is changed, added or deleted, including the contact information. If you would like to reprint part of this newsletter please contact me at mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com to make arrangements.


Sharing this newsletter with colleagues and friends, under these conditions, is encouraged.


If you have a question or topic you would like to see covered, send your request to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com.


New!  Subscriber Corner.  In each newsletter, we will highlight some of our subscribers at the end of each issue. It is an opportunity for you to learn more about other organizations who are part of the Psychology for Business family. It is also a chance for you to highlight your business efforts. To have your organization listed, please send a brief (4 to 7 lines) description that will tell readers about who you are, what you do, and how to get in contact with you. This service is offered to our readers free of charge (although we hope you will share the newsletter with lots of your potential customers and that you will encourage them to sign up for Psychology for Business!) on a first come, first served basis.  Send your information to mailto:jweaver@psychologyforbusiness.com. All of our readers are invited to be listed in Subscriber Corner. Listing does not imply that we endorse any specific business.
Today’s Subscriber Corner: 
Don Norum, MSW, STRESS SOLVER: mailto:donnorum@naspa.net (414) 423-9642

Stress including depression is the number one source of disability in the United States.  Surveys show stress and depression lowers production, while increasing absenteeism, tardiness, and work related accidents.  Stress is like a virus that spreads between workers as their stress reactions influence each other.  Would you like to teach your employees simple and practical stress management skills they can easily use at work and in their personal life?  The STRESS SOLVER Program is taught in a group setting using audio and written material to guide and motivate your employees to effectively apply STRESS SOLVER skills during their normal routine.  Click on http://www.stresssolver.com/ to learn more about the program.   ===============================================================================================
Dr. John Weaver publishes another newsletter, co-authored by Darlene Weaver, THE CENTERED PENDULUMIt is our firm belief that lifelong patterns of “being” (personality, attitudes, emotions) and “doing” (lifestyle, adaptability, coping skills) interact with our genes and environment to create conditions of a healthy or a diseased brain.  If you would like to read previous issues of the Centered Pendulum newsletter or to subscribe, please visit the archives at http://www.centeredpendulum.org/newsletters.htm.