(Even CEO need a Coach)

The eagle gently coaxed her offspring toward the edge of the nest. Her heart quivered with conflicting emotions as she felt their resistance to her persistent nudging. “Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of falling?” she thought. This ageless question was still unanswered for her. As in tradition of the species, her nest was located high on the shelf of a sheer rock face. Below there was nothing but air to support the wings of each child. “Is it possible that this time it will not work?” she thought. Despite her fears, the eagle knew it was time; her parental mission was all but complete.

There remained one final task – THE PUSH.

The eagle drew courage from an innate wisdom. Until her children discovered their wings, there was no purpose for their lives outside the nest. Until they learned to soar, they would fail to understand the privilege it was to have been born an eagle. The push was the greatest gift she had to offer. It was her supreme act of love. And so, one by one, she pushed them and they flew.

Success begins when we understand that life is about growing; it is about acquiring the knowledge and skills we need to live more fully and effectively. Marshall Goldsmith, the doyen of leadership coaching, quotes in his book ”What got you here won’t get you there”

“As you advance in your career, behavioural changes are the only significant changes you make”.

We have to give certain behaviours as we grow and we have to acquire new ones that are in line with our current circumstances.

Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Sir Richard Branson; All of them were great leaders. But it is important to acknowledge they weren’t perfect from day one. Their successes are attributed to diligent effort, constant learning, foresight, and quite probably, a helping hand.

In today’s world, CEOs are a lot more than just the faces of companies. From Apple’s Tim Cook to PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi, these individuals are heralded as thought leaders, innovators and pioneers in their field. But while this may be the case, studies show that two-thirds of CEOs would appreciate advice and suggestions on ways they can improve business, facilitate team engagement, promote conflict resolution, and so on.

Here are five reasons why CEOs really need (and want!) to be coached:

1. The view from up close is sometimes blurry.

When things are going well and business is booming, you’re likely to forget the bits that aren’t “perfect.” You may even think, “If it isn’t broken, why fix it?” But it takes one market shift, one product recall or one disgruntled customer to change that. Coaches help you notice, focus on, and fix blind spots that weren’t as visible previously. At the same time, it’s common for individuals in a business environment to have their own agendas and specific areas of focus. A coach proves to be an ally, who rationalizes and uses a specific, scientific set of tools to determine how the CEO can best address the issues at hand.

2. Even CEOs need to learn something new.

In the climb to the top, every CEO undoubtedly amasses his or her own set of skills. However, these skills may not necessarily be in the “specific” role as a business leader. An experienced coach is trained to build leaders to grow professionally and personally, with techniques on how to inspire not only the C-suite team, but the general workforce as well. Studies show that individual productivity increases by an average of 86%, with coaching.

3. The coach-CEO relationship opens doors.

Coaches are often the sounding board CEOs need when it comes to overcoming obstacles, whether in their own roles, business functions, or even those faced by their teams. A coach is able to widen perspectives and improve decision-making skills as well. Years of experience render coaches fit to provide valuable advice free of hidden agendas, conflicts of interest and more.

4. Everyone benefits when the CEO grows.

Research shows that nearly 80% of directors say their CEO would welcome coaching. While major coaching benefits are witnessed in the boardroom and in key business decisions, soft skills are given just as much importance by the experienced coach. Achieving key skills like inspiring your team, focusing on their strengths, and encouraging your entire workforce to work toward achieving common goals are no small feat, and they go a long way in making any organization successful.

5. Coaching hours make CEOs think.

CEO timetables are generally full of customer or investor meetings, operational overviews, fulfilling corporate obligations, dealing with bigger issues like innovation, technology, competition, and so on. Time set aside to spend with a CEO Coach, however, is considerably less pressured. The coach encourages the CEO to use this time to think strategically about every aspect of business- something he or she probably doesn’t have time for during normal working hours. All in all, effective CEO coaching is a win-win situation, leading to the enhancement and refining of leadership capabilities, which then filter down to the rest of the executive team.

The challenge in leadership development is not making sure the leaders understand the practice of leadership- It is making sure that leaders practice their understanding and those who do , will be like an eagle soaring high.

There may be lots of questions in your mind with respect to Executive Coaching, like:

  • What is the difference in Coaching and Consulting?
  • How do I know I am ready for Executive Coaching?
  • How much time I have to invest in Executive Coaching?
  • Is Coaching Corporate Leaders different than coaching Independent Business owners?
  • Is coaching confidential? Will my company / peers know what takes place in our sessions?

And many more…

If interested, please connect with a good qualified Executive Coach. Selection of a coach is very crucial. Its not about domain knowledge; but expertize to bring out the best in you.

All the best to eager Eagles

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About The Author

Jagmohan Singh Rishi is Head Of Business Training and Excellence at Wockhardt Ltd. He is also the Marshal Goldsmith Certified Coach In Stakeholder centered coaching.