When Stanford University’s Business School surveyed more than 200 CEOs about Executive Coaching, they found an interesting dichotomy. Nearly 100% of CEO’s said they would welcome Executive Coaching and leadership advice, yet only a third of those surveyed say they had the opportunity to work with a coach.
What Is Executive Coaching?
Executive Coaching is designed to unlock the full potential of business executives. A business coach serves as a guide to help leaders develop the skills they need to improve their performance and their company’s performance.
Using an interactive process, coaches can facilitate a dialogue to help executives think through plans and strategies. As a confidant dedicated to their success, Executive Coaches help leaders clarify and articulate their vision.
Why Are Executive Coaches Engaged?
Over the years, a significant function for Executive Coaching was to correct problems with managers or to provide an objective viewpoint on whether change needed to be made. That’s changed, though. Executive Coaches are now being employed to make executives better leaders.
The Harvard Business Review surveyed 140 coaches and asked for the top reasons Executive Coaches were hired. Here were the top three reasons cited:
- 48% Develop high potential employees or to facilitate transitions
- 26% Act as a confidential sounding board
- 12% Facilitate behavior changes in leaders
In a survey of executives done by Stanford University, they added one additional item to the list. The majority of executives said their highest priority in working with an Executive Coach was to improve their conflict management skills.
Everybody Needs A Coach
When you think of the world’s biggest tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, or Google, you think of visionary leaders that changed the tech world. What did they have in common? Executive Coaches.
Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, said getting coaching was one of the best business decisions he made. “My friend and colleague John Doerr called to suggest that I get some coaching,” Schmidt wrote in Forbes. “What? I was far along in my career; I didn’t need a coach. I could be a coach. Of course, I was wrong about that. I actually needed the coach.” The coach, Schmidt said, helped make crucial decisions. “He would give advice,” he recalls. “And then make sure I lived by it.”
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, started a Ted Talk with these words: “Everyone needs a coach.” He said coaching helped him think through problems and come up with solid solutions. Steve Jobs with Apple and Jeff Bezos from Amazon believed in Executive Coaching as well. Both employed coaches during their productive growth periods.
How Can Executive Coaching Benefit A Business?
Coaches aren’t there to tell business leaders what to do. They are them to help leaders develop the skills they need to make better decisions. There are different types of coaches and different types of coaching, but most business coaching revolves around the key skill sets:
- People Skills
- Conflict Resolution
- Team Development
- Leadership Succession Planning
- Objective Analysis
- Facilitating Change
You’ll notice that many of the skills are what are called “soft skills.” Many leaders have risen to their positions because they have a vision and can get things done. The higher someone rises in an organization, however, the more they depend on articulating a vision and motivating team members. Lack of these soft skills can hold leaders back from being effective.
Developing people skills helps business leaders manage relationships. Great leaders have to depend on their team to be successful. Teams have to be able to understand the vision and why their role is important. Self-awareness helps leaders understand how they are really perceived, rather than how they think they are perceived.
In any workplace, there are going to be conflicts that impact productivity. Conflict resolution in a productive manner is crucial. Team development keeps the workforce engaged. Dysfunctional teams can cripple even the best plans.
Leadership succession planning helps nurture the next generation of talent. Not only does it help identify future leaders, but it also helps retain key team members. The ability to do an objective analysis is crucial for business leaders. The longer someone is in a position or at a company, the harder that becomes.
Business today is changing at an incredibly rapid pace. Today’s executives have to be able to recognize when it’s time to change and then facilitate change. The best leaders understand how change impact the culture. Creating a sustainable culture in periods of rapid change can be one of the biggest challenges for any executive, especially if there is no clear pathway to success.
Business coaching can guide executives with each of these skills and give them the confidence to make the right decisions.
The ROI Of Executive Coaching
A global study done by PriceWaterhouseCoopers revealed how significant a business coach can be for success. They report the mean ROI for companies investing in coaching was 7X the investment. Strikingly, more than a quarter of businesses reported an ROI between 10X and 49X.
The International Coach Federation (ICF) conducts biennial surveys of coaching trends among top executive coaching firms, along with managers and leaders the use coaching. They report an ROI between 3.4X and 6X.
Leaders that have benefited from executive coaching programs provide a list of business outcomes that help accelerate company growth:
- Better decision-making
- Increased productivity
- Stronger organizational strength
- Cost control
- Better working relationships
- Improved conflict resolution skills
- Bottom-line profitability
Executive Coaching Creates Better Business Leaders
Executive leadership coaching makes business leaders better at their jobs. They help leaders define the culture and vision that will drive success. It can help executives focus on the big picture goals and the concrete steps to get there. An Executive Coach can help keep executives on track.
Executive Coaching creates better business leaders. Better business leaders create better companies.