Five Reasons Why CEOs Need To Be Coached Their successes are attributed to diligent effort, constant learning, foresight, and quite probably, a helping hand.

By Mike Hoff

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Julius Caesar. Winston Churchill. Napoleon. Abraham Lincoln. Steve Jobs. Warren Buffet. Sir Richard Branson. All of them were great leaders; each and every one of them. But it's important to acknowledge they probably 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, industry starters, 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. A neutral third-party situation assessment provides a reality check. 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. While the CEO's forte may have been finance or operational management, leading a corporate team to success is a different ballgame altogether. 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.

Related: Applying Emotional Intelligence In Your Executive Coaching Program

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. Research indicates when coaching supplements management training, productivity increases from 22% to 88%. 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.

Related: The What, Who And Why Of Executive Coaching

Mike Hoff

CEO of MHC Consulting and Regional Group Manager of The Alpha Group

Mike Hoff is CEO of MHC Consulting and Regional Group Manager of The Alpha Group. 

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