The Existentialism of Leadership Coaching Psychology

Leadership coaching psychology is the application of psychological practices and theories to the coaching field. It helps to develop leaders and leadership skills, and motivates organizational leaders to pursue and attain their goals.

So – how is leadership coaching psychology tied to existentialism? Isn't existentialism all about dread, boredom, alienation, and nothingness?

Yes – those are some of the words used by existentialist writers over the years, but those words don't really describe what existentialism is all about.

What is Existentialism?

Existentialism is a philosophical movement that believes individuals create the essence and meaning of their lives without the need for a transcendent force, or a God. Existentialism doesn't deny the existence of God, it just means that individuals are entirely free to choose their destiny, and are ultimately responsible for their lives.

Existentialism believes that existence comes before essence – this means that humans define their reality and are not bound by their circumstances. Existentialism emphasizes freedom, action, and decision-making.

Doesn't leadership rely on freedom, action, and decision-making? See the connection?

The Philosophy of Leadership Coaching Psychology

Though existentialism is a broad philosophical concept, we will use the words freedom, action, and decision-making to explain leadership coaching psychology.

Freedom. Though freedom is something most people strive for, it can actually be a very frightening word. Having absolute freedom comes with great responsibility. But, leaders need to feel a sense of freedom in order to make bold decision. Without this freedom, they may be confined by past failures, the attitudes of others, and the weight of the consequences that their decisions may create. Their own personal psychology must allow for complete freedom so they can make bold decisions.

Action. This one is easy – leaders take action. People who lack leadership skills are afraid to take the bull by the horns and go for a ride. They procrastinate and often take too long to make a decision. The right decision made too late often becomes the wrong decision. Leadership coaching psychology is all about teaching and accepting the importance of action.

Decision-Making. Everyone knows that leaders make decisions. But, successful leaders need to make the right decisions far more often than they make the wrong ones. This involves a process – taking in information, analyzing this information, determining the issues that will be created by a decision based on this data analysis, and then making the decision in a prompt and timely manner.

Leadership Coaching Psychology Means Better Coaching

Coaches who incorporate leadership coaching psychological concepts into their practices will have more tools to use when working with clients. Psychology is a different field than coaching, but they overlap in many ways. Taking some of the tools used in psychology means you have more ammunition when trying to help clients improve their lives and achieve their goals and dreams.

Bringing existentialism into your practice will allow you to truly emphasize the freedom individuals (including your clients) have to shape their own lives. As a coach, you are basically an existentialist – you work within the framework of each client having the ability to reach their goals no matter where they are now, and they are ultimately responsible for what they do (or don't) achieve.

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