Dream Journeys: New Territory for Executive Coaching

30 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2014

See all articles by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries

INSEAD - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise

Date Written: February 14, 2014


Leadership coaches need to understand how their clients think and experience emotions. They have to be skilled at detecting and evaluating the psychological strengths and challenges that can help or hinder their clients’ development as a leader. Leadership coaches need to take a holistic approach to the information clients present, which means considering information from both their waking and dreaming life. To help executives with their journey into their own interior, I suggest that leadership coaches should also pay attention to their clients’ dreamtime. The dreams that occur during their clients’ "night journeys" can offer useful clues about their main preoccupations and concerns. Reflecting on how the feelings in their clients’ dreams relate to what’s happening in their waking life, will help leadership coaches and their clients better recognize and address their internal struggles and challenges, and figure out what is most on their mind. Making sense of dreams can be a very powerful problem-solving and inspirational tool, offering a pathway to out-of-awareness preoccupations. This relatively unexplored territory is the main focus of this article, in which I also take into consideration various theories about dreaming.

Keywords: Sleeping, Dreaming, Leadership Coaching, REM Sleep, Psychodynamics, Unconscious Processes, Creativity, Problem Solving

Suggested Citation

Kets de Vries, Manfred F.R., Dream Journeys: New Territory for Executive Coaching (February 14, 2014). INSEAD Working Paper No. 2014/14/EFE, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2395776 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2395776

Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries (Contact Author)

INSEAD - Entrepreneurship and Family Enterprise ( email )

Fontainebleau Cedex, F-77305

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