Swimming with The Sharks


From Therapist to Executive Coach

November/December 2012


A therapist from a working-class background finds himself on a surprising mid-career journey into the belly of 21st-century capitalism as an executive coach.

My body knew it before my mind caught on. For a long time, I'd been growing antsy and having trouble sitting in my chair for the full hour of therapy. Too often, I watched the hands of the clock tick by in slow motion and thought about how many more clients I still had to see that day. I knew it was time to move on with a midlife career change, but what would I do?

For most of my life, the world of business seemed off-limits to me. I'd grown up in Detroit, the home of the automobile industry and a place where conflict between labor and management was the norm. From my father, I'd absorbed the unquestioned assumption that businesses were run by blustering bullies out to exploit their workers. When I entered the therapy world itself, I encountered much the same belief: that unenlightened materialism and cutthroat competition were the prime forces driving the business world.

But in the late '80s and early '90s, as I began to look at the impact of cultural definitions of masculinity on the men in my practice, I began to see how even business leaders were influenced by broader social forces. Despite being treated as superheroes in the office, they were "lost in space" at home--estranged from their wives and children, struggling with partnerships and friendships strained to the breaking point,…

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4 Comments

Tuesday, November 27, 2012 9:33:47 PM | posted by Betty-Ann Gilliland
Nicely written article. Interesting that you have found your "occupational sweet spot" by helping others develop and maximize theirs. Win-win!

Sunday, December 30, 2012 11:03:54 PM | posted by Ryan Nagy
This is one of the best articles I have read on the Networker. Thanks. I appreciate your use of case studies as it gave me a clear sense of what you do for a living and how your coaching business works. It also gave me a great deal to think about in my own life and work.


Ryan

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 1:56:50 AM | posted by rob pasick
Thank you for your kind comments.

Saturday, March 16, 2013 6:26:33 PM | posted by Deb Nystrom
Great post, Rob with a great spine of authenticity of making your way in the big world of executive coaching. It's useful to read about your approach and what works in helping your clients find greater success and happiness.

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