Executive Coaching for CEOs

‘CEOs Just Want to Get Coached’ is the title of a recent Forbes article. Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive leadership advice from outside consultants and coaches but nearly ALL want it.

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The article is based upon a 2013 Executive Coaching Survey with The Miles Group and Stanford University (read the full study here).  More than 200 CEOs, board directors and senior executives of North America – both public and private Companies were polled.

The key findings included:

A Shortage of Advice at the Top

  • Nearly 66% of CEOs do not receive coaching whereas 100% of CEOs wished they did.

What do CEO’s want coaching on?

  • Conflict management skills were the highest at 43%. Stakeholder burden and conflicting agendas are seen as one of the challenges faced by CEOs today. CEOS often avoid conflict for fear of the knock on effect of their relationships. Yet conflict handling skills is one of the most impactful skills a CEO can manage.
  • This was followed by leadership / delegation; mentoring and listening skills.

So Why is Executive Coaching so Important to CEOs?

Firstly, CEOs rarely get the objective feedback they need as they continue to grow in their role.

Secondly, a coach is only concerned with the success of the CEO. Coaching becomes a rare and safe place for CEOs to think and bounce ideas around. Even when CEO’s have a good network, it’s unusual to have an avenue to open up and share fears, concerns and frustrations.

Executive Coaching provides that sounding board; a place where CEOs can be challenged on their views and beliefs. A place where they can be stretched and somewhere they will get frankness and honesty about the impact of their decisions.

If executive coaching is so beneficial, why do so few CEO’s have a coach?

  1. Well, the research suggests that the biggest reason is that there is a stigma to coaching. Coaching is perceived as ‘remedial’ and fixing problems. Yet with so many elite athletes having coaches, CEOS must shift their thinking. Coaching is about the ongoing improvement of high achievers. After watching Mo Farah race in the Olympics, he talked passionately about the role his coaches have had on his incredible achievements. I recently interviewed Beth Tweddle about her successes and she tool placed enormous credit on the shoulders of her coach. CEOs however often feel as though they don’t need a coach. When they have risen to the top of their organisation, why would they need to have external coaching? The belief is that they must already be good.
  2. A second reason has been that the quality of executive coaching is mixed. Whilst there are some outstanding executive coaches in the field there are many that have been poorly trained. This has left coaching with a bad name (in some arenas).  The demand and supply for executive coaches is on the rise.  According to the International Coaching Federation there are an estimated 10,000 coaches on the market, expected to rise to 50,000 in the next 5 years.

Executive coaching is a growth market for sure. And why? Because it offers the opportunity to transform people’s lives. Just think of the ripple effect poor management and leadership has on teams, departments and organisations. Enabling, encouraging and inspiring CEOs to be at their best more of the time; to show vulnerability and to lead authentically is the cornerstone of excellent executive coaching. I, of course, am a huge fan of executive coaching. I’ve seen so many people transformed; so many having their confidence rebuilt; their belief and purpose for leading clarified that I absolutely believe everyone should have a coach.

I’d like to finish with this great quote:

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”Marcel Proust.

If you are interested in having an executive coach, then take a look at our coaching programme here: Coaching. Please also call Sandra on +44 (0)7590452748.

Enjoyed this article? Take a look at these:

The Leader as Coach

the Ex Factor – How to Build Executive Coaching

Essential Coaching Skills in the Workplace

Emotional Intelligence Assessment

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