Executive Coaching

Executive Coaching


“Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life.” – David D. Burns, PhD

SOLVE coaches are Industrial/Organizational Psychologists, with specialized training in leadership and human behavior in the workplace. They utilize a cognitive behavioral approach blended with goal setting to “re-program” and optimize overall thinking. As a result, leaders recognize and execute more effective behaviors and thinking styles, which lead to improved performance.

Executive coaching is a great support for leaders in transition after a promotion, on-boarding a new executive, or addressing performance issues.

The goal of executive coaching is long-term integration of effective leadership behaviors. And research indicates sustainable behavior change is more likely to occur with 6 to 12 months of focused coaching.

What is Cognitive Behavioral Executive Coaching?


Cognitive Behavioral Executive Coaching (CBEC) is based on the tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), developed by renowned psychologist Aaron Beck in the 1960s and popularized by David Burns in his best-selling book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.


CBEC translates those proven therapeutic methodologies for use in a corporate setting. As organizational psychologists, we are not therapists; we neither diagnose nor treat psychological dysfunction. Instead, we are hired to support leaders toward increased effectiveness.

How does CBEC differ from other types of coaching?


The advantages to this approach are two-fold: greater sustainability of new behaviors in less time. Because you are re-programming the way you think, changes become easier to maintain. Most leaders are least effective under stress because the prefrontal cortex gets hijacked by the amygdala and negative, dysfunctional, intuitive thinking dominates. Leaders who learn to address that “negative voice” in a rational manner can acknowledge its presence and consider alternatives.


While it takes considerable time to master these skills and re-program the brain, gaining self-sufficiency in these skills occurs, on average, in 14 coaching sessions. For most of our clients, that’s seven months. And the wonderful benefit with CBEC is behavioral changes can be anticipated after the first session, due to the practical nature of this approach.


Having said that, Cognitive Behavioral Executive Coaching is one of many approaches our coaches utilize. It may not work for everyone, or for all needs. And that is why it is important for a coach to have a breadth of expertise and training from which to consider.


For an overview of the development of coaching, read this brief article on The Theoretical Foundations of Coaching.

What is the Executive Coaching Process?

Cognitive Behavioral Executive Coaching Process

Although no two relationships are the same, this process serves as a general overview of our approach to executive coaching. Adapted from Cognitive Behavioral Executive Coaching: A Structure for Increasing Leader Flexibility.

Coaching sessions are based on a schedule developed between the coach and the leader. Initially, coaching sessions are more frequent and become less frequent as leadership skills and strategies become integrated. Each relationship is different and our coaches encourage and promote an individualized approach.

Does SOLVE use other executive coaching methods?


Of course! Although CBEC is foundational, every relationship calls for an individual approach based on the needs of both the leader and the business.


Other methods include, but are not limited to:


Performance coaching | teaching leadership fundamentals, increasing ambition, visualization, goal-setting, and execution.

Social psychology | developing emotional intelligence, executive presence, increased awareness of social surroundings and pressures, identifying biases

Systems thinking | identifying the root problem, understanding context, process over content, focus on the present.

Behaviorism | creating behavior reinforcement strategies, identifying small actions that lead to big change.

Selecting an Executive Coach

Research shows one of the most critical predictors of coaching success is the ability for the coachee to have a productive rapport with their coach.

Because we strive for successful outcomes, we provide background information and introductory conversations with SOLVE coaches so you can determine which coach is best suited for your needs.

Bad coaching is widely available, wastes resources, and often leaves the business in worst shape then before. Be an informed consumer and seek qualifications – there is no accepted certification in executive coaching like there is in medicine, accounting, etc. This article, The Wild West of Executive Coaching, is a good resource as you evaluate options.


Curious to learn more? Meet our Executive Coaches.