You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: Executive Coaching Challenges INSEAD Business Press, Palgrave (2015) 120 p.
You don't have to be mad to work here—but it helps! Sometimes that's more than just a tedious joke. As anyone who has worked as an executive coach knows, sometimes people who hold very senior and responsible positions are more than just difficult and erratic—sometimes they're downright toxic.
Toxic behavior has a contaminating effect that ripples through an organization, incurring many hidden, unforeseeable costs in the process. Working with these individuals can be seriously emotionally and physically draining.
Manfred Kets de Vries is one of the world's leading authorities on the psychology of leadership, and a pioneering practitioner in the field of psychodynamic executive coaching. In You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, Kets de Vries shows how to avoid the traps set by difficult clients, how to harness your own emotions when dealing with difficult people and conflict, and how to avoid becoming an inadvertent participant in a 'duel' with your client.
This book is all about helping coaches to become more effective. Each chapter presents a profile of a particular type of toxic executive—the narcissist, psychopath, cold fish, obsessive-compulsive, and many more—and offers coaches examples of interventions that have worked—and those that haven't. Kets de Vries offers expert advice from the front line of working with puzzling executives.