CEOs need coaching too!

by Shweta Verma    Aug 14, 2013


“Everyone needs a coach, someone who can watch what you are doing and give a perspective on it,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt had once remarked on the need for coaching. “Every famous athlete or performer has somebody who is a coach.”

Most CEOs also resonate with these views. A recent study conducted by Stanford and executive coaching firm The Miles Group shows that almost two-thirds CEOs don’t get any coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants. Interestingly, almost 100% of them are keen on receiving outside coaching to improve their performance. Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group says, “Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in.”

Is coaching only meant for solving problems?

People generally tend to look for advice only when there is a problem. Even when Schmidt, as the CEO of the company then was first advised to go for coaching many years ago, he had shrugged at the idea. “Why, is there something wrong?” he asked. But when he finally went for it, he realized the value it could bring. This shows that the common belief that coaching is meant mainly for remedial purposes may not necessarily hold true.

CEOs have to take the toughest decisions

Business leaders have to frequently face challenging situations and take tough decisions. Every decision they take would have long term impact on their company. “When you are in the CEO’s role, most things that come to your desk only get there because there is a difficult decision to be made,” says Miles. In the survey by Stanford and The Miles Group, when asked the biggest area for their own personal development, nearly 43% of CEOs rated “conflict management skills” the highest.

Top reasons why CEOs seek external coaching

While different business leaders may have their own reasons to go for coaching, some of the key reasons that drive most of them are:

-          Discuss new ideas and strategies with someone who can provide an objective view on things

-          See things with a different perspective and get constructive feedback

-          Seek advice in dealing with day-to-day challenges and conflicts at work

-          Get regular training, support and tools to ensure success

-          Learn to be more effective as a leader and constantly upgrade skills