For many years leadership trainers, coaches and consultants have worked in organisations helping leaders build high performance teams and cultures. Yet recently a new trend has emerged whereby Clinical Psychologists have been in increasing demand to share their expertise within organisations.
Why is this?
Clinical Psychology is Not Just About Mental Illness
Of course, Clinical Psychologists do see people who are mentally ill. But most forms of pathology are about rigidity, and rigidity is common to all of us from time to time -and often gets in the way of high performance. Clinical Psychologists understand how to spot mental rigidity and therefore what is getting in the way of peak performance.
Clinical Psychology is about Behaviour Change
Fundamentally, what Clinical Psychologists hope to do is help people change their behaviour – from dysfunctional patterns of behaviour to more functional, goal-oriented behaviour. Changing behaviour in organisations and teams is a critical area of interest for leaders. After all, competitive advantage is found in what you will do differently in future, how quickly you can adapt and whether you can do this more effectively than your competitors. It therefore makes sense to understand the science behind behaviour change.
Clear Evidence Base
It is not enough for coaches and consultants to claim anecdotally that what they do works. Even if it sounds sensible, businesses today need to be using only the highest quality evidence-based approaches.
By ‘evidence-based’ we need the same level of evidence for training as you might demand for a new medicine. You need to be able to show that what you are training has been shown to work in randomised control studies. You also need to be able to show what the mechanisms of change are. Mechanisms of change are the ‘active ingredients’ which are responsible for producing the outcomes being sought. For example, with behaviour change the mechanism of change is often a reduction in the amount of irrational thinking (or mind traps) which are made, or an increase in psychological flexibility (tolerance) of difficult thoughts and emotions.