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How CEOs Can Use Therapy and Coaching to Help Their Teams Thrive

A CEO has the opportunity to impact everyone in their organization. What benefit might executive coaching have for their team? Read on to find out.

Sasha Butkovich headshot November 2017
Sasha Butkovich
Feb 15, 20185 minutes

As a CEO, you’re a leader for your organization. This can often be a lonely road. It’s a struggle to balance all your responsibilities and still be a positive role model for your team.

However, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone in your leadership journey. There are many resources specifically geared toward helping CEOs and business founders thrive in their roles. And if you haven’t considered therapy or executive coaching before, now is the time.

Using therapy or coaching is good for executives on a personal level. You may be able to confront issues that act as blockers in both your home and work life. But these services can also have a big impact on your business. In fact, therapy for a CEO can benefit the entire team.

Becoming an Engaged Leader

How can CEOs participating in therapy be of even greater benefit to their business? The underlying principle is that executive coaching or counseling can help the CEO become a more active and engaged leader in the workplace. This can have a profound effect on the rest of the organization, across all teams.

It’s no surprise that how a CEO acts can have a positive (or negative) impact on everyone else within the company. According to McKinsey, employees weigh the actions of their CEO to determine their beliefs about the company. A leader’s words and actions are visible to everyone within the organization, and have a profound effect on employee morale. If those leaders don’t have self-awareness or emotional intelligence, they may not be setting the right example for their teams.

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Therapy and Executive Coaching

Getting the right type of guidance looks different for each CEO or leader. While some may prefer traditional psychotherapy, others may prefer more pointed executive coaching.

Coaching has taken hold in the business world, particularly in tech circles. According to Wired, many of the most successful tech founders have relied on coaches, including famous names like Steve Jobs and Larry Page. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and executive chairman of Alphabet, once told Fortune that the best advice he ever received was to get a coach.

According to Psychology Today, executive coaching can “help leaders grow and improve performance, reduce or eliminate their blind spots and be open to constructive feedback, not only reducing the likelihood of failure and premature burnout but also provide an atmosphere in which the executive can express fears, failures and dreams.”

One of today’s popular coaches is Jerry Colonna, founder of Reboot. After going through his own successes and failures as a startup founder, Colonna found himself dealing with depression and uncertainty in his professional life. He used therapy and coaching to get through those hard times, and ultimately decided to shift his own career to coaching, founding Reboot in 2014.

Colonna uses a strategy of “radical self inquiry” to help other founders and CEOs. He believes that when people have a clear understanding of themselves, they can become stronger leaders. Reboot also holds four-day workshops, called Bootcamps, for CEOs, VCs, and founder pairs.

There are additional options for co-founders as well. Some therapists even offer co-founders therapy. While a married couple might go to couple’s therapy to work on their relationship, co-founders also have a relationship that can have many of the same traits as a marriage. Co-founders therapy can be a good solution for leaders who need to work through challenges with their business partner. Being better able to deal with conflicts in that relationship can have positive long-term effects for the business and its employees.

Impact on Employees and Teams

CEOs and leaders armed with the skills gained through therapy and coaching are set up to better engage their employees. And as we’ve covered on this blog before, employee engagement can have a positive impact on any business.

Companies that create employee engagement and happy workforces often see higher productivity and higher retention. In fact, one study out of the UK found that happy people were 12% more productive.

Related Article: The Bottom Line: Employee Happiness is Good for Business

CEOs who have benefitted from therapy (and even those who haven’t) may want to think about extending those benefits to their employees as well. Giving your employees access to counseling is a helpful perk your team will appreciate. After all, we can all use someone to talk to from time to time. Having access to these services can even make employees feel more valued and lead to increased employee engagement.

One way to offer access to therapy and counseling is via an EAP, or Employee Assistance Program. For example, Justworks has teamed up with Health Advocate, which gives members access to many EAP services like:

  • In-person, telephonic, and video counseling

  • Licensed Professional Counselors who address stress, depression, family issues, substance abuse, and more

  • Referrals for long-term counseling or specialized care

Another option is through a service like Talkspace, an online and mobile therapy company. Talkspace partners with businesses to help them offer confidential therapy services to their teams. This platform provides secure and anonymous online therapy, where users can access confidential help from professionals, any time of day.

Therapy and counseling can be helpful for many people in a business setting, but it often starts at the top. When CEOs seek out therapy and executive coaching, they benefit their teams by leading them on a path to better engagement, in and out of the workplace.