Needed: a friend

Even the rich can benefit from someone to confide in.



From the November 2008 issue of the magazine.


So who do you confide in? If you’re a millionaire, the answer may be nobody. Especially if you’re a corporate executive, revealing too much to the people around you can be dangerous.

Colleagues may feel like friends when you’re burning the midnight oil to finish a project, but you should never forget that you’re among your fiercest competitors, says Jamie Gruman, a professor of organizational behavior at the University of Guelph in Ontario. “The higher up [the corporate ladder] you go, the more strategic you have to be,” he says. “The more you know, the less you can talk about what’s going on. In large organizations, you’re jockeying for position, so you don’t want to give away the tactics you’re working on.”

Don’t expect your spouse to understand your plight. He or she may enjoy the lifestyle attached to your paycheque, but probably not the hours you’re putting in to earn it. Toronto management consultant Michael Stern tells of a client whose job required him to be reachable via BlackBerry 24/7. Before long, his wife grew tired of the constant interruptions to what little home life they had. But instead of offering a hug, Stern says, she simply decreed “the BlackBerry must be off at mealtimes and during intimate moments.”

So who can you talk to? If you’re lucky, you have a friend who is just as overachieving as you are, and who can understand your special issues. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are the perfect example: not only are they business associates, they’re also buddies who collaborate on everything from charitable giving to bridge playing.

Most millionaires aren’t so lucky and, as a result, many are now quite happy to pay for an understanding ear. An increasing number of these high-powered executives and entrepreneurs are turning to the services of coaches to help them through the rough patches. In fact, says Stern, who’s been in the executive search business for 20 years, coaching now eclipses everything else that his firm offers. The Queen’s School of Business in Kingston, Ont., recently added coaching to its menu of executive development programs, with 25 staff to help outwardly successful people figure out why they feel unfulfilled.

“People look for coaching because they can have a frank conversation,” says Barbara Dickson, the program’s director.

There can be a lot to talk about. Gruman, who has a master’s degree in clinical psychology, says that among overachievers “imposter syndrome is common” — the feeling that no matter how stratospheric your net worth or enviable your career, you merely lucked into your riches and don’t truly deserve them.

More often, though, that niggling sense of dissatisfaction may be the fault of the very character traits that launched your success in the first place. Wonder why you’re on the brink of yet another divorce? “The type of person who rises to the top is a hard-driving, hard-playing, A-type personality,” Gruman says. “That type of person tends not to be satisfied with the status quo. Those are the same attributes that lead them to engage in wife turnover.”

OK, you’re thinking, so that does sound a little bit like me. But if I’m such a bastard, how come no one’s ever called me on it before? Gruman has an explanation for that, too. Rich, successful people hang out with other rich, successful people who act and live pretty much the same way you do.

Which is why, for those in search of a reality check, the services of a disinterested outsider, like an executive coach, makes a whole lot of sense. Admitting to insecurities or asking for help isn’t an option at work or at home, where there’s pressure to keep up with the Joneses. But with a coach, who is outside your sphere and has nothing to gain from seeing you stumble, you can let your guard down. “It’s a relief,” says Gruman.

Most firms will offer you a choice of coaches so that you can choose the one whose background and approach fit what you’re looking for. If you want to bounce business ideas off your coach, you’ll want someone with a business background. For “soft” issues, someone with a background in psychology or counselling, like Toronto executive coach Katherine Vanderberg, might be right for you.

Vanderberg, a partner at the firm Feldman Daxon, recalls working with a vice-president of operations who bemoaned the all-consuming nature of his career. “He was trying to do it all — he was trying to be a VP but also trying to stay hands-on.” Through discussions with the VP, and so-called “360-degree interviews” with a number of other people in his company, she determined that the executive’s long office hours were a way of compensating for his lack of a personal life. “We recognized that as a problem and then put an action plan together to help him get more balance.” Similarly, Stern helped a client who realized he was missing out on his children’s upbringing. Together, they determined “one of his objectives was to attend 75% of his kid’s hockey games.”

The cost of coaching can vary. Queen’s University Executive Coaching Service runs about $4,500 over six months, which includes two hours a month of one-on-one conversation with the coach of your choice, plus as many follow-up emails as you need. At Feldman Daxon, the price tag is steeper — $10,000 to $20,000 — but includes a little more face time: meetings up to 90 minutes twice a month, then phone calls every other week to check in on your progress.

Some execs, like Barbara Judt, stumble upon the personal benefits of these services after being sent to one on the corporate tab for “professional development” purposes. The Winnipeg grain industry executive, who’s been taking time off since receiving her severance package, liked the result so much that she sought out a coach on her own dime to help her change directions in her career. “I knew coaching would help me accelerate my transition and help me sharpen my focus better than me trying to figure it out on my own,” she says. Vanderberg notes that many of the clients she’s helped to achieve specific goals continue to check in with her about smaller stuff months and even years after the fact.

If you’re new to the concept of coaching, a quick Internet search using the keywords “executive coach (your city)” will probably turn up at least a dozen options. Keep in mind that a coach is not a mental health professional, so if your problems run deeper — your decision-making skills are cloudy, or you turn to alcohol or drugs to cope — Gruman suggests that it may be time to ask your MD for a referral to a licensed therapist or counsellor.

Trouble is, you may not twig to the fact that you need help until you’re way, way down the rabbit hole. As Stern notes, “It’s difficult without outside intervention for someone to sit up and say, ‘I’m off the track.’” This is where a coach can come in handy. Jeff Morris, a lawyer and head of Jeff Morris Coaching in Toronto says holding his clients accountable is a big part of why coaching works. “One of my favorite questions to ask is ‘What’s the next step?’ ”

On occasion, Morris has sent clients troubled by addiction or marital breakdowns to see an appropriate mental health professional, but he believes that coaches can help most people stay on target with their goals. “Coaching offers objective feedback,” he continues. “It’s not like [confiding in] friends and family, who have different agendas. The coach’s only agenda is to help the client reach his goals.”

22 comments on “Needed: a friend

  1. Many thanks for this post. As i surely are in agreement with that which you are declaring. Image sharing the following content a lot as of late with the help of my pops now with any luck , this will make him witness our standpoint. Kiddy hands surpassed!.Nice post.. I’m without a doubt you aquire mtss is a lot nonetheless this kind of one’s truly glowing. Anticipating the next one!.Looking for aware study It’s about time extremely enlightening. I actually love one taking a few minutes that can put the next few paragraphs in concert. I once just as before acquire by myself paying out strategy to enough time both equally browsing plus placing comments. However what ever, it was subsequently however worthwhile!.One picked out a good quality matter for the publish and you simply authored over it well. I know of other online websites with the exact same written content nonetheless 1 is doing a better job as compared with yourself on writing about it again.Wonderful web pages, although Phoning wish to view some other multimedia! ?§C Amazing article anyways, All the best!.My partner and i locate my own self heading for ones net online site a very good bargain a lot of and further ordinarily to the level particularly wherever your appointments usually are very nearly day by day presently!.Can it be so merely leave behind some back link for you to great website relating to listed here? If they are not i highly recommend you eliminate it! Thanx.It seems that you’ve set a great deal of endeavor towards your site i need a ton more of these using the world wide web right away. As i best regards obtained some end through your submit. As i don’t certainly currently have a lot of to state individuals . “, We basically desired to opinion to reply awesome function.Thanks plenty of for the perfectly publish.this is the ideas which makes people on target through great daytime. I’ve been looking around colse in order to due to this site once simply being called these people from a coworker and then was initially enthusiastic while i surely could uncover the application once trying to find while. Being a irritating writer,.Surprise he did this educational. Rarely encounter sites today that will be ??meaningful’. While which often create potential stick to on-line consistency all the time, let me most definitely make sure to be thankful for mcdougal of each helpful place my partner and i run into. Keep up to date the nice give good results.Thank you for an unusually unique post. It had become a fabulous joy discovering this content. fine web site.Exactly emerged onto inform you of you will have a unique lover! Checking an individual blog post on your website obtained people assimilated instantly. Honestly, you happen to be brilliant!.The man regarding Madonna?lenses astonishing physical structure, Jim Manocchia, is right now showing that fitness keys through everyone as part of his new e book.My business is regularly doing a search online pertaining to article content which could help me personally. Cheers!.Wonderful piece of facts the fact that you’ve gained on that web-site report. Expectation I will receive some a greater portion of the actual thing yourself internet site. I can can be bought backside.I really like how’s it going thinking?-and I need to admit I’m definitely hooked on your articles!.I personally under no circumstances, at any time believed Phoning most likely be aware of this particular thank goodness for the internet, correctly?.Fantastic detailed choices right.I’d plan to endorse trying out plenty in the knowledge of french fries. Any idea what?.we’re having troubles publishing comments. Don’t manage to deliver the results using Firefox?-.anyone possessing this problem?.Hey, in fact liked this article! Shed light on some tips i didn’t comprehend. Appreciate it.This is a good at the mercy of deal with. Generally their uncover these kinds of some tips i plan to post these guys with Reddit. This particular blog post more than likely won’t do best get back market. I am particular to upload something else entirely while.Gentleman It’s the best the following short review therefore it am info and I ‘m definetly visiting bookmark your items them. This wasn’t say the Advanced studies you have done is actually trully exceptional.None of us will go which one step further as of late?.What precisely I became looking for, regards to get posting .It’s attractive interesting the fact that the core growing media possesses adjusted the actual way it investigates this valuable not long ago do not you feel? Right now any difficulty . it’s discussed thoroughly and a lot more comprehensive. Total even if I’m searching for a adjust.Go out with Howdy, We’ve browsed most of your blog posts. The article is normally just where I obtained quite possibly the most invaluable advice designed for great homework. Appreciate your sharing ad, its possible we’ll see on that. Learn about other website pages on this subject area.Person Nice page therefore it was so educational and that i i’m gonna take a note of doing it. I want to the Outstanding exploration this information has is certainly seriously wonderful.Who seem to proceeds which will one step further at present?.Appreciably, the following blog post is usually the nicest on this memorable subject. I personally harmonise together with your conclusions all of which thirstily enjoy your own inward improvements. Explaining regards won’t only become suitable.A little bit of checking and even witnessed your web blog looks a little most all messed up with my K-meleon browser. But thank goodness less than any one works by using it again like i used to and you may want to consider this specific.I want by way of thanking a person for your work you cash in on in some recoverable format this valuable content. I hope precisely the same best performance from your site equally when you need it additionally. In actual fact a ingenious composing qualities have got enlightened my family first my own ring BlogEngine blog page today.All the is without a doubt at my mind is normally cigs. My partner and i i’m i don’t want to have a pull just in case people readily available a fabulous tobacco right this minute, I might downfall. I’m sure within the extremely bad sentimental status and offer been recently difficulties staying in bed nevertheless I am aware Need to turned out to be robust.Your website is certainly filled with remarkable knowledge and is basically fairly interesting to study via.I’d been curious about, i’m aiming to generate a web site personally. I have to utilize hubpages familiar. Exactly where performed you receive the format? In the event you document your answer beneath my personal own,going to can check this out over the next number of day’s.In conclusion a smart blogger-man?-I appreciate the way in which you’re thinking?-and publishing!.I’m consequently fortuitous to enjoy observed this specific webpage . You’ll expressed us precisely what I really want to discover and more. Fabulous making many appreciate it just as before to get this valuable A hundred percent no charge!.Signature blog page! I’ve saved as a favorite the software not to mention I’ll beback to see far more sooner or later.This is often my very first time i really go here. I stumbled upon which means that lots of thrilling material in the blog site really it has conversation. .Your site might be teaching more attention and even love. Thanks .Yes! Thank you! We repeatedly needed to be able to write relating to the online site the like. Should i put into practice a share of your post that will my very own web page?.Many thanks with respect to article extremely great infos. Your web is awesome, Now i’m delighted through features that you simply include on that web site. It demonstrates to the way correctly you’re confident this kind of theme.Danke to your! This is a really good website at this point and I take pleasure in your thing with crafting. The correct way made the user gets delicious in posting?.appealing write-up, more or less paid for the lot for me nevertheless would definitely involving incorporated a great deal more content.see your web site more or less on a daily basis i such as what are you doing in such a. A lot of intresting content pieces regarding a bunch of interesting themes and even styles likewise, which you have skills at authoring. I master interesting things by making usage of this website and then for that we will thanks of this soul. Keep up this kind of deliver the results which will you’re employed with. Farewell.Would it be your browser or go with the website, although I’ll merely discover 1 / 2 a write-up. Exactly how ought i re-establish the?.Thx I managed to get an individual’s web site connection. Can an individual to be found by simply possibility have a nice stop-gap reflection site or possibly backlink to a new source? Any weblink clearly will never appear help people.I personally admire you’ll, I really like states it all medicated these sub?- you could may well arrive at a websites and even tell a few corrections. Appreciate it up-front.Even though zulu is my personal to begin with foreign language We were excited digesting it again.Not long stated on your blog site and then preferred enlighten myself concerning newer reviews. There must be the right way to turn off in which process? I’m finding a great number of email messages.Really good suggestions, in my opinion I’m visiting be required to bookmark this are available here we are at them. Have you got every feedback on the current publish despite the fact that?.Appreciate a auspicious writeup. It again in truth was obviously a activity membership the application. Start looking highly developed to significantly further friendly on your part!.Following understand some of the blogposts with regards to your web site at present, and that i adore your path involving operating a blog. My partner and i make it so that you can my top features blog collection and you will be viewing back soon enough. Pls go to this website also and even figure out what you think.Outstanding! It’s as if you fully understand my thoughts! You seem to discover very much for this, that you authored the hem ebook inside it or something that is. .Relating to study a handful of these discussions on your internet site at present, and I actually like your way about writing.


  2. Pingback: Check out my FB profile

  3. Pingback: Sewing Machine Reviews

  4. Pingback: Janome 7330

  5. Pingback: Simonton Windows

  6. Pingback: Herbal Incense

  7. Pingback: Cheap Solar Panels

  8. Pingback: How To Burn Belly Fat

  9. Pingback: Forex Trading Strategies

  10. Pingback: Master Cleanse

  11. Pingback: Colon Cleanse Review

  12. Pingback: Remanufactured Transmissions

  13. Pingback: Mauritius Villas

  14. Pingback: Location Maison Ile Maurice

  15. Pingback: Location Ile Maurice

  16. Pingback: Ile Maurice Villas

  17. Pingback: Location Villa Ile Maurice

  18. Pingback: Mauritius Villas

  19. Pingback: ISO Internal Audit Checklist

  20. Pingback: Location Vacances Ile Maurice

  21. Pingback: property casualty insurance license

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *