Executive and Leadership Coaching: Psychodynamic Approach

Frédéric Bagutti
2 min readOct 31, 2023

Explore ‘below the surface’, expand your perspectives, clarify your situation, and ‘get unstuck’.

Emerging Star, Michael Morgulis

A psychodynamic approach to executive and leadership coaching provides a unique, personal, safe, and rich learning space to evoke greater effectiveness in one’s role and foster lasting leadership impact.

Leaders’ effectiveness can sometimes feel ‘stuck’ and seem to be limited by their use of unconsciously defensive leadership styles. For example, ‘defiant’ leadership may arise when executives deny their vulnerability or self-doubt by adopting a dominant and dogmatic style, which tends to evoke strong resistance and frustration in others. ‘Compliant’ leadership, on the other hand, arises when executives avoid confrontation by fitting in too readily with the needs of others, and so limiting their capacity for assertiveness and creativity.

Executive coaching informed by individual and organizational psychological dynamics provides an opportunity for leaders to examine in depth the relational assumptions that underpin their leadership behavior, and to more consciously balance their personal needs and convictions with those of their colleagues, whether in their team or the wider organization.

The ‘defiant’ leader finds a space to look at feelings that have long been banished from awareness, and so finds an opportunity to re-examine the need to be controlling of others.

The ‘compliant’ leader, invited to connect with overlooked frustrations, learns to better confront others in a useful way, and so gains confidence in their ideas and their potential value to others.

For more theory: Lee G. (2014). The psychodynamic approach to coaching. In Cox E., Bachkirova T., Clutterbuck D. (Eds.), The complete handbook of coaching (2nd ed., pp. 23–36). London, England: Sage.

For hands-on exploration: Home — Bagutti Executive Coaching & Consulting — Genève (bagutticonsulting.com)

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Frédéric Bagutti

Organizational behavior consultant and executive coach, licensed psychologist, EMCCC INSEAD. You can find me at: www.bagutticonsulting.com