London-based, Executive Well-being Expert, Christopher TS Harvey and founder of Harvey Sinclair has called for a radical shift amongst London businesses’ approach to Executive Coaching. He has highlighted a growing concern that psychotherapy and counselling is used under the guise of executive coaching, often with unqualified coaches, which raises an ethical concern.
Supported by a team of associates, with a background in psychology, 10 years of international corporate leadership in some of the world’s largest, most reputable organisations, a master of formalised coaching, hypnosis, a certified NLP Practitioner and CBT Therapist, Christopher Harvey has revealed that executive coaches are often engaged to develop an employee’s professional growth, but a large amount of their work ends up being to support the individual’s mental health. This reveals a hidden seam of depression and anxiety amongst London’s professional elite, what Christopher calls: ‘A high risk category of educated, wealthy, talented individuals that are surrounded by stress.’
In 2009, Harvard Business Review (HBR) did a survey of 140 of the world’s leading coaches and highlighted that 3% of coaches are engaged by businesses to specifically address personal issues, but a resulting 76% report that they end up actually assisting executives with personal issues. HBR also found that coaching those who have unrecognised mental health problems can be counterproductive and even dangerous. The vast majority of executives are unlikely to ask for treatment or therapy and may even be unaware that they have problems requiring it. This is a concern, because contrary to popular belief, it is not always easy to recognise depression or anxiety without proper training. The survey also found that psychological training is of little importance to businesses hiring an executive coach. This raises crucial questions about whether a non-qualified coach can ethically work with an executive who has a mental health issue. Harvey Sinclair believes that companies should hire only executive coaches who have training in mental health (to nip issues in the bud before things get climactic) and an understanding of when to refer clients to professional therapists.
Christopher says. “There is a serious problem of hidden mental health issues amongst London’s high achieving professionals, they are not getting properly qualified support for their well-being and organisations need to start engaging with this very real issue. If businesses do not demand mental health training in coaches, they will fail to meet their ethical obligations and duty of care to staff. Also the economy will suffer as a result of these executives not getting the proper support. Well-being goes much deeper than merely ‘professional stress’ and this problem cannot be ignored any longer.
“The leaders of tomorrow need constant coaching that supports their mental well-being first, and then addresses the more current professional concerns. It should start with subtle therapy to establish a solid foundation and progress into executive coaching. You can add a fancy new gear stick to your car but if the engine is damaged, it won’t run any better. It is a journey from the bottom up, identifying where the individual is today and where the organisation needs them to be in the future and supporting that journey.”
Christopher opines that the professional corporate world of senior leaders is getting more pressured and stressful, with mounting pressures on performance, with economic uncertainty forcing businesses to do more with less. Recent research from the mental health charity MIND found that 80% of 18- to 34-year-old men put on a brave face when they are anxious and anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health problems. It also found that more than one in four employees who describe their mental health as poor say work is the primary cause. The same research also reveals that 12 billion working days will be lost to depression and anxiety disorders each year between now and 2030.
Putting the annual loss to the global economy at £651 billion.
About Christopher Harvey: Christopher T.S. Harvey founder of Harvey Sinclair, knows what it means to hit rock bottom. Educated at St Andrews and Harvard Universities respectively, with a background in psychology and 10 years of international corporate leadership in some of the world’s largest, most reputable organisations.
Born and raised in Hertfordshire, Christopher’s parents’ divorce and several family deaths brought emotional upheaval at a young age. He married at 22, but the marriage was annulled five weeks later, which caused adversity to take its toll on Christopher’s mind. A decade of battling OCD, body dysmorphia and depression saw Christopher sink to the darkest depths of unhappiness.
Having seen a myriad of therapists, counsellors and doctors, Christopher had a strong interest in psychology and took to studying himself. It saw him mastering formalised coaching, hypnosis to become a certified NLP Practitioner and CBT Therapist. Christopher has taken what he has learned and built the prototype process for what is today Harvey Sinclair’s USP – providing more than just life and executive coaching, a holistic approach that takes into consideration the whole person, in order for them to achieve optimum levels of fulfilment and productivity in all areas of life and employment.
Combining his life experience, personal mental health tribulations, diverse corporate and personal coaching experience, intuition plus extensive accreditation, qualifications and technical training, Christopher and his team have a diverse range of tools at their disposal to offer a unique cutting edge well-being consultancy.
With an office located in Central London, Harvey Sinclair create bespoke coaching programmes around each and every one of their clients, taking into account the exact situation, inspiring change to achieve goals, the absolute best state of practice for the whole organisation. For further information please visit: www.harvey-sinclair.com