3. Behavioral Coaching for CEOs and Entrepreneurs
Coaching executives at the top of an organization presents a set of issues unique in the realm of executive development. There are certain elements common to the coaching of all managers, whatever their level within an organization, but my experience of consulting to senior managers has taught me some important lessons.
Probably the most important of these lessons is that, if senior executives are going to view developmental coaching as being useful, it had better be evident to them that the coach’s efforts are intimately tied to the realities of the business. Chief executives, senior operating officers, and general managers are charged by their shareholders with enormous responsibility in growing their businesses and achieving new levels of profitability.
With that responsibility comes the leadership challenge of building an organization; getting a group of people to perform in a consistent fashion; and, in some cases, changing the corporate culture. This is the stuff that keeps executives awake at night. And this is the stuff that is relevant to my work in developing senior executives—linking the executive development process to the realities of the business.
In seeking to make sure my consulting is relevant to the realities facing the executive, I am continually focused on trying to understand not only the work of the individual I am coaching, but also the unique context and business objectives of the client organization.
There are a number of dynamics to be considered, as well as myths to be dispelled, if one is to be effective consulting in the executive suite. For example, a commonly held view is that senior executives don’t need to be developed—after all, they are senior executives. “Heck—if they still need to be developed at that level, they shouldn’t be there in the first place!” This myth might be summarized as “the higher you go, the less you need to be developed. “ This couldn’t be more false!
The fact of the matter is, the higher an individual moves in an organization, the less feedback he or she is likely to receive. Senior executives tend to get isolated from real-time, unvarnished feedback about the impact of their individual leadership. Consider getting a professional coach to achieve the level of performance and success that only comes from reaching higher.