In the next week or so, I wanted to write about the need for CEO Coaching. I will identify seven concrete reasons why CEO’s need a coach. I begin with reason #1 below, “It’s Lonely at the Top”. But, first: An interesting study was just released by Stanford University/Miles Group that identifies the massive gap between CEO’s being receptive to coaching (i.e., 95%) and the percentage who actually receive coaching (i.e. less than 33%). More often than not, this is due to the “stigma” that is still attached to coaching by both boards and CEO’s, that it is “remedial” in nature rather than “performance enhancing”. Take a few seconds and listen to what Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, says about why he works with a coach:

We just completed our bi-annual 2014 Trends in Talent Management and Executive Development global research study that will be published by Pearson in January and here’s the harsh reality we uncovered after interviewing and surveying over 150 CEO’s and VP’s of HR: Of the 35% of organizations that use executive coaching, only 48% of those same organizations use executive coaching for their vice president level and above executives (not including the c-suite)Similar to the Stanford/Miles Group Study, only 30% of CEO’s received outside coaching. While we were surprised to learn that 52 percent of the organizations we surveyed do not cite executive coaching as an important developmental strategy for their VP and above executives, we were frankly more surprised and alarmed to learn that greater than 66 percent of CEO’s do not receive any outside coaching. 

“It’s Lonely At The Top”

Is a sentiment heard a lot when CEO’s partner with executive coaches. Effective CEO’s will often cite their appreciation of having had a partnership with their coach where they could confidentially explore their “inner- and outer-core” strengths and vulnerabilities, while staying laser-focused on “worthy achievement” leadership goals and strategies, becoming more altruistic and “other-oriented”, and building powerful relationships with their constituent groups. CEO coaching is all about removing unseen “self-imposed” barriers so the CEO becomes even more effective as a leader. 




Alana Drusset's picture
I think coaches for CEOs is a fantastic idea. CEOs can feel like they have so much responsibility running a company, it would be great for them to get some support from someone who knows the right ways of encouraging and motivating a person.
Will James's picture
A CEO needs the innate confidence to perform and show they can take charge of their own performance. If a CEO can't succeed without the performance-enhancing need of a coach, how did they get to be a CEO in the first place? CEOs should trust themselves and put their best foot forward to believe in their own abilities and judgment.

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