Dr Marc Kahn

Keynote: Working with complexity in business and executive coaching

Dr Marc Kahn, Chief People Officer for Investec Plc


Business and executive coaching occurs within an organisational context with business outcomes as the goal. It is distinct from other types of coaching (such a life coaching) in two particular ways, firstly it is focused on value creation, and secondly, it occurs within a multiple client environment within which both the individual being coached and the organisation are equally players.

This keynote explores the challenge of managing the complexity these two factors present for a coach, particularly those that are trained as psychologists. It unpacks the task of adopting a relational and commercial approach to the work, and how one may avoid misaligned remedial or curative notions that originate from the influences of counselling and psychotherapy.

Ultimately, the assertion is that coaches who make these shifts adopt the underlying assumptions of business culture which then properly aligns their practice with the environment that ultimately sanctions and legitimates their service. Furthermore, it ensures that coaching is best positioned to deliver real business value, which is the reason for the procurement of the service.

Dr Marc Kahn is the Chief People Officer for Investec Plc as well as visiting professor of people, organisation and strategy at Middlesex University, based in London. He is a Chartered Business Coach, clinical psychologist, and the author of “Coaching on the Axis: Working with Complexity in Business and Executive Coaching” (Routledge, 2014).