This paper investigates forms and functions of narratives of illness and emotional distress in executive coaching. This relatively recent professional format has originated from the practical application of managerial and psychotherapeutic interventions and can be understood as a translation of the therapeutic habitus into the managerial realm. In this context, clients' emotional experiences take center stage, yet not for the sole purpose of clients' self-reflexivity and self-fulfillment, but for organizational purposes such as evoking peak-performance in the executive. It is claimed here that clients' narratives of emotional distress and their processing, not only fulfill an emancipatory function that allow for the verbalization of less-dominant discourses and the staging of less-dominant identities, but simultaneously serve as situated practices of functionalizing emotions for the organization.
© School of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland, 2012