“Knowing is the easy part; saying it out loud is the hard part.”

How to Coach a CEO

Successful coaching involves working with – not against – an individual’s resistance.

INSEAD Knowledge, Aug 2018

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A "think narcissist, think male" blind spot may prevent coaches from looking for narcissism as a possible explanation for behaviour in women leaders.

Coaching the Narcissistic Woman Leader

Following on from his first blog, 'Can a Woman Leader be a Narcissist', Paul's second blog explores specific approaches towards coaching female leaders with narcissistic tendencies. The blog provides insights for Executive and Leadership Development Professionals to customise leadership development to the individual strengths and weaknesses of women in the talent pool. 

KDVI Research Lab, Aug 2018

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“Think narcissist, think female!”

Can a woman leader be a narcissist?

"Think narcissist, think male"? A further addition to our narcissism blog series, this blog shows that women leaders, too, can be narcissistic. Yet it's a different kind of narcissism with different implications for leadership development. Three types of narcissistic women leaders - the Super Woman, the Perfectionist and the Lenient Leader - are examined.

KDVI Research Lab, Jul 2018

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“The shadow side of the desire to help is that it can cause a void at a very stressful or demanding time when transparent communication is essential.”

Helping you to help me

Those defined by the Helper’s Syndrome are committed to show extreme loyalty to supporting others. Admirable? Maybe. This blog makes the case that they may be better off rationing their compulsion or risk short-changing others and themselves and ultimately not help anyone. As we shall see: it depends. 

KDVI Research Lab, Jul 2018

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"The key to successfully making your early experience and natural talents work in your favour at work is awareness."

How Early Life Experiences Could Play For and Against Us in the Executive Boardroom

Early life experiences accompany us all the way to the executive boardroom. This blog explores how childhood family dynamics can have a direct influence on executives' work experience, including: preference for certain way of working in a team; relationship with peers and authority; approach to stakeholder management; and performance. 

KDVI Research Lab, Jun 2018

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“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”

Once you have it all, what's next?

Where to look for answers to the existential questions many of us grapple with.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jun 2018

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"Through coaching, a deeper interpersonal awareness will develop within executives with narcissistic tendencies, which can reduce their tendency to see the world in black and white."

Coaching the Narcissistic Executive

In this last blog in our KDVI Blog Series on Narcissism, we explore how organisations can manage the downsides of employing narcissistic executives. In particular, we turn our attention to coaching as a means for getting the best out of narcissistic executives. 

KDVI Research Lab, Jun 2018

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"As we debate the nature of narcissism, we find ourselves in the midst of related and unrelated definitions used in different clinical concepts in psychiatry and psychoanalysis."

Narcissism, what is it and what do we do about it?

In the third blog in our KDVI Blog Series on Narcissism, we explore the clinical connotations of narcissism. Its origins, definitions in psychiatry and psychoanalysis, and implications for coaching individuals with narcissistic tendencies are explored.

KDVI Research Lab, Jun 2018

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"Research has found a positive relationship between leader narcissism and leader emergence"

Embrace the narcissist within you!

The second blog in our KDVI Research Lab series, exploring the phenomenon of leadership and narcissism, looks at the advantages and disadvantages of narcissistic behaviour.

KDVI Research Lab, May 2018

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‘The leadership style most frequently found at top management levels is the narcissist.’ Manfred Kets de Vries

A Human Resources taboo: The Narcissistic Senior Executive

Is healthy narcissism actually an essential part of leadership? When does it become destructive? And how can organisations get the best out of narcissistic leaders, while addressing the destructive elements of their leadership style? The KDVI Research LAB will be sharing a series of blogs over the next couple of weeks to explore the phenomenon of leadership and narcissism. Today, we are sharing the first blog in the series, which explores why narcissistic leaders are indeed a HR taboo.

KDVI Research Lab, May 2018

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"Nearly half of adults in the US have reported experiencing a psychiatric disorder at some point in their lives"

The Four Types of Dysfunctional Executives and How to Handle Them

Basic understanding and empathy can go a long way in helping toxic leaders recover their best selves.

INSEAD Knowledge, Apr 2018

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"Leaders who are comfortable showing vulnerability are often seen as authentic and trustworthy."

Vulnerability as the key to transition from youngness to gravitas

Several successful leaders seem to have this thing called ‘gravitas’. Leaders with gravitas are experienced as having dignity, poise, and are seen as mature and possibly even wise. For those people who seem to be effortlessly successful, but at some point, begin to wonder if the construct they have built for themselves will hold, this blog explores how to develop maturity and wisdom. Indeed, the blog uncovers that key to developing gravitas is vulnerability and therein lays the challenge to leave the demanding ego behind and to become more comfortable with showing vulnerability but ultimately becoming an authentic leader.

KDVI Research Lab, Mar 2018

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“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

Beyond Coaching Psychobabble: Let the Buyer Beware

The advertising pitches of many coaches raise false expectations and seem designed to fool the gullible.

INSEAD Knowledge, Mar 2018

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One key obstacle for women to be identified and selected for senior roles is "leadership cloning”

Too feminine or not feminine enough? How to leverage your difference as a woman leader

Authenticity - which comes down to leveraging difference - is the key to career success as a woman leader. But women often find themselves in a double-bind - needing to fit the prevailing leadership prototype in order to be successful while at the same time needing to stay authentic. How do you get out of this double bind? Wait for organisations to change their leadership development and come up with a truly gender-neutral system? This is likely to make you miss the boat. The solution is rather in finding a way to become successful in the existing system. This blog explains how a psychodynamic approach to leadership development can help female leaders to be authentic.

KDVI Research Lab, Feb 2018

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Dictators and how to disable them

Fighting Against Dictatorship

This article explores how dictators gain and maintain power through a number of social processes and psychological dynamics.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jan 2018

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'Words can give, at times, the illusion of providing a clear meaning'

Dialogue is not what you think!

The KDVI Research Lab is happy to announce another blog in our series that explores the undercurrents of positive organisational change. This time KDVI Associate Christopher Bockmann explores how the gap between what is intended, expressed and understood can be reduced.

KDVI Research Lab, Jan 2018

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"Does a good coach have to be tough?"

50 Shades of Coaching - How tough does coaching have to be?

The KDVI Research Lab is happy to announce yet another blog in our series that explores the undercurrents of positive organisational change. This time KDVI Associate Manfred Barth explores whether coaching needs to be tough in order to affect real change.

KDVI Research Lab, Dec 2017

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"World Mental Health Day: Mental health issues in the workplace"

Developing Mental Health Champions in the Workplace - An Early Warning System for Employee Stress Levels

This year, the 25th World Mental Health Day focuses on the workplace. Mental health issues have been shown to increase employee absenteeism, lower rates of productivity and increase costs. To contribute to taking mental health out of the shadows in the workplace, we developed the Stress-APGAR, a simple yet robust protocol that helps managers and HR professionals to identify cases of potential high stress.

KDVI Research Lab, Oct 2017

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“The most complete revenge is not to imitate the aggressor.”

The Bad Influence of Aggressive Bosses

Identifying with an aggressor is a basic strategy for human survival. It’s time to call it out in the workplace.

INSEAD Knowledge, Sep 2017

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"What makes wisdom more important than success and riches is that it enables us to live well"

Why Wisdom Can’t Be Taught

The day after becoming the CEO of a company facing turbulent times, David had a dream. In it, while walking on a beach he discovered a bottle. On opening, a genie appeared offering him a wish in exchange for her freedom. Eschewing riches, fame or a long life, David chose the gift of wisdom.


In today’s hyperactive digital age, attaining wisdom is a challenge. With tablets and phones and their apps constantly vying for our immediate attention, it is increasingly difficult to find the time and mental space for making meaningful connections or engaging in the deep conversations, reflection, emotional awareness and compassion, necessary in the pursuit of wisdom.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jul 2017

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"Adversity to develop endurance, courage and character"

Developing Leaders Through Adversity

In the perfect storm our world is currently experiencing, we need to develop leaders with character, people who can deal with complex and difficult situations and act as forces for good. Adversity is one way to develop endurance, courage and character. Without it, we do not really know what we are all about, nor do we appreciate the limits of our character.

INSEAD Knowledge, Jun 2017

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"Down the rabbit hole of shame"

Don’t Let Shame Become a Self-Destructive Spiral

Shame is part of the human experience. Keeping your feelings of shame in perspective can relieve you of a harmful tendency to self-blame, and, eventually, make peace with your shadow side. Knowing that you are good enough, worthwhile, and deserving of love and acceptance is essential for building resilience and living your most authentic life.

HBR, Jun 2017

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Power Pairs: Hear us roar

Power Pairs: Hear us roar

With the election of Emmanuel Macron, his relationship with his wife, Brigitte Trogneux, has been thrust into the world media. In this blog, we look at the relationship between professional power pairs, how they differ from other partnerships and their influence in their organizations.

KDVI Research Lab, May 2017

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"Advice for dealing with narcissists"

How to manage a narcissist

Managing a narcissistic leader is not easy. Why would they ask for help, when they think that they are better than anybody else? How can they learn from mistakes if they can’t admit that they’ve ever made one? This article provides some advise for managers who have to deal with such leaders.

HBR, May 2017

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Meetings: We are but players in them

Meetings: We are but players in them

Continuing on from Part 1 - Meetings: a matter of life or death, here we reflect on group role identities and the way they can affect underlying dynamics in meetings.

KDVI Research Lab, 2017, May 2017

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