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Psychoanalytic Business Coaching

Coaches at work: From depressed mood to strategic realignment

The 40-year-old pharmaceutical sales manager had run out of ideas. His company was running reasonably stable. He was able to make a good living from the earnings, but was still burdened by the repayment of a loan he had taken out a few years ago to set up the company. Professionally, he lacked the entrepreneurial challenge. His lack of drive also extended to his private life. His partner turned away from him. The couple agreed on a temporary break and separation. With the aim of realigning his life both professionally and privately, the client went to see a coach. With coaching he wanted to find new ideas and Impulses.

The consultant recommended to start with imaginative methods. By working with the unconscious, resources could be activated and conflict images could be created. At the same time, the client’s life story was worked on. The client is the youngest brother of three siblings. The parents are both lawyers and had little time during the childhood of the three. The client describes himself as a “key child”. Under pressure from the parents to become an academic, the client later decided to study medicine. Already at an early age he had a good additional income as a pharmaceutical consultant. His sales skills earned him more income than he could earn in his main studies and as an medical assistant. The client was not convinced by the prospect of having more income later with his own practice. He wanted to live well now and here. Under protest of his parents, the client abandoned his studies and became a full-time pharmaceutical sales representative. Later, with increasing professional experience and a network of contacts, he founded his own company, which lends sales staff to pharmaceutical companies on a temporary basis. In the course of the entrepreneurial success the acceptance of the parents rose again, who at some point had to realize that the son was also successful with his own way.

The personality of the client was characterized by the will to show it to everybody. An important conflict was worked out in the coaching. In the case of drugs with moderate proof of efficacy, the client often has inhibitions in marketing the product himself or through his employees with major sales activities. Here he is influenced by the legal awareness of his parents. On the other hand, the sales revenues were tempting to prove to the parents that he could be successful without studying. This inner conflict was “putting on the brakes” in his drive.

In the course of the coaching, the client learned to re-evaluate the experiences of his upbringing and to make his decisions independently of the opinion of his parents. “Today I do not make my decisions because my parents are for or against it, but only because of my own considerations. A decision may coincidentally correspond to the wishes of my parents. But that no longer matters to me today” was his final assessment.

 The client was able to regain his drive through coaching. He deleted services from his portfolio that he could not represent with a clear conscience and used the time freed up to secure higher market shares with the remaining services. In addition, the client strengthened his communication skills, which helped him to have a better relationship with business partners and in his private life. Thereby the relationship with his girlfriend could be steered again in good ways.


Note: To protect the privacy of our clients, the above case study has been changed. The family dynamics and the methods used are reproduced unchanged.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Kretschmar


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