Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Coaching your way out of the credit crunch

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The Independent Online

The sort of jobs people do in our post-industrial society never ceases to amaze me. At a function the other night, I was sitting next to someone who called herself an "executive coach". Among other things, this involves helping high-powered executives to deal with the emotional stress of having to sack their colleagues, and what she cutely referred to as "conflict resolution", or how to get along with people you fundamentally loathe but cannot fire. I'm not making this up. High-powered executives pay good money for this personalised form of workplace psychotherapy.

Right now, "executive coaching" is very much a growth industry. The credit crunch has added a whole new swath of clients in the City. I'm sure there's a place for this kind of stuff, and suppose that the emotional calm it induces must in some cases head off a more serious descent into madness. It may even be helpful in making these City high flyers better people managers.

What intrigues me is how they find time in between trying to sort out the mess in financial markets for this kind of mollycoddling. Further evidence, I fear, of the lack of backbone or sense of priority that led to the crisis in the first place.

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