16 Jun 2016

The need for CEO coaching: from daily management to visionary leadership

A CEO is not a Superman, although he/she always wants to play that role. They tend to see CEO coaching as a tool to correct a behavior, publicly. Oddly enough, instead of preserving the sport meaning of coaching as a trainer that helps sportsmen to become better and better, in business the term CEO coaching became to mean rather a corrective approach. From here, CEO’s reluctance to access the service, worldwide, studies say.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, once said that his best advice to new CEOs was “have a coach.” 

What makes a good CEO?

One characteristic of powerful and successful leaders is high levels of self-confidence. But there is an unexpected side effect to it: unfortunately, the researchers say, the higher the self-confidence, the less likely these leaders are open to feedback and advice. In absence of constant CEO coaching, powerful leaders seldom get useful feedback in their organizations. Subordinates hate to give bad news or critical feedback, and many boards are not diligent in seeing feedback for performance improvement, particularly relationships, as important as other things, such as financial results. The multiple stresses under which a CEO is forced to perform often produce anxiety, fear and physical illness, which strong leaders are hesitant to divulge over concern about judgments that may be made about their capacities or longevity. And so the problem becomes acute.

How do you know you need a CEO Coaching?

You might need CEO Coaching if you experience one of the following situations:

• If you’ve just taken a new, bigger role in your company, whether it expands your areas of responsibility, or you are required to manage more people.

• If your boss and/or latest performance appraisal cite issues of insensitivity towards others, lack of emotional intelligence, or the need to polish your “communication” skills.

• If you have a recurrent pattern of behavior that former and current bosses have noticed and this pattern seems to follow you from job to job.

• If you need to take decisions in a work-life balance issue and want to develop a plan to accommodate both.

• If you have started a new job, in a new company, and want to formulate a plan for success.

What makes a good coach

You need coaches who are very smart, intuitive about business and interpersonal dynamics, neutral in their assessment and who can tailor the training to the individual needs.

A good coach does not make someone feel bad about themselves, but will engage in the CEO coaching so that the CEO gets up the next morning and is excited about trying something new or doing something in a different way.

But it’s not about remedy of what doesn’t work but rather it is about enhancing high performance in their own particular manner. It is not about weaknesses, but about making the most in business of their personal outlook on life.

CEO coaching is not happening because of a sign of a CEO’s problem, but it happens instead as a key attribute of a superior leader. For boards and other stakeholders, they should understand that it could help make the difference between a good organization and a visionary one.

What solutions does CEO Coaching bring in a CEO’s life?

• Conflict management is inherent to the life of CEO and a daily presence. Procrastinating or avoiding conflict at all costs equals not fulfilling the very essence of the job. CEO Coaching heavily helps conflict management and eases everyday pressure at work.

• Soft skills are not soft; they are even the hardest currency for CEOs. Empathy and the ability to mitigate constructively are key to highest performance and to a happier, more balanced life.

• Self awareness: it is rarely stated as a need by a CEO at the beginning of a CEO Coaching process because it is considered to be self-understood. Well, it is not at all a “by default”. The capacity to really understand the reason behind our decisions and actions and the ability to have a clear statement of identity about our motives, values, and what makes us tick in life in general are scarce resources.

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