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The walls within: working with defenses against otherness

Online Conference 5-11 July 2021

Stress - Taboo or Opportunity for Change? Using Psychodynamic insights to evaluate executive stress

Stress is a commonly recognized issue for executives. Many professionals in executive education find themselves in the situation to coach or mentor people with high stress levels without being trained stress experts, medical doctors, or psychotherapists. Furthermore, stress and leadership development inventories do not always pick up on stress issues due to lack of self-awareness and self-deception of some executives. Therefore, a protocol that makes stress issues overt to the client and their coach is advantageous. This paper introduces a protocol to evaluate executive stress that was developed based on practices of successful executive coaches at a top-ranking international business school. The protocol uses a psychodynamic lens for evaluating stress in order to allow for stress indicators to be detected by coach and coachee despite possible lack of self-awareness and presence of self-deception.