CEO coaches have become a status symbol in many organizations.

In some organizations, being a CEO with a coach is a sign you “have arrived.”

The business coaching industry is now worth about $15 billion annually, and CEOs at startups and established businesses of all sizes engage in CEO coaching in an effort to achieve better bottom-line business results.

But it’s important that CEOs not just hire a coach to “check a box” if they want to experience real, lasting change. In fact, many CEOs find that coaches help them to confront challenging questions – ones they may not ask themselves left to their own devices. Here are a few of the “big” questions that CEO coaches help top executives address.

Why Am I Doing the Job of CEO?

Am I CEO because it’s “my turn” at the top of the leadership chart? If so, is that enough of a reason for me to give this job my all?

Not every CEO arrives at that position because of a genuine desire and years-long work to get there. Not every CEO leads a company because they believe, with both heart and mind, in what the company does. A CEO coach can help the CEO understand the “why” behind their tenure as CEO and help them recognize the tremendous opportunity it offers for personal and professional growth and for long-term organizational benefit.

What Long-Held Beliefs Hold Me Back?

Like it or not, we all hold some faulty beliefs. They may stick even though we change and even though our personal and professional circumstances change. These faulty beliefs may come from how we were raised, or from entrenched cultural norms and biases. And we may not recognize them without help.

CEO coaches help leaders identify and question assumptions and separate beliefs from facts. This simple clarity can be a big step for the CEO in becoming the leader they want to be.

What Are My Blind Spots?

Like long-held beliefs, we all have our own personal blind spots. This can be particularly true in industries and businesses where the career trajectory is carefully planned out in terms of promotions and raises. This straight-and-narrow path is comforting and safe, but it can hold leaders back from serious self-examination.

Learning what your personal “blind spots” are can be profoundly liberating.

Again, the CEO coach can help the executive to identify blind spots and evaluate their situation more objectively. Blind spots may make things more comfortable, but they’re also limiting, and leaders benefit from knowing what they are and addressing them.

What Is the Real 360-Degree Feedback on Me?

Have you ever overheard something about yourself (positive or negative) and been surprised by how others perceive you? Most of us have at one time or another. It’s easy to think that we know how our direct reports, our peers, and our superiors feel about us, but it’s also easy to be wrong. That’s why many CEO coaches begin with a benchmark assessment consisting of “360-degree” feedback.

It can feel daunting, no question. But only when the leader understands how people actually regard them can they recognize blind spots and limitations and learn more about being a more effective leader.

Why Do I Feel Hollow When I Have Everything?

Executive coach Jerry Colonna knows how it feels to look like a superstar on paper yet feel miserable inside. We like to think that promotion, a raise, or industry-wide recognition will fulfill something in us and make us feel complete. But the reality doesn’t always turn out as we expect.

The CEO who has “made it” yet feels empty and lost is more common than many people think. And while a CEO coach isn’t a therapist, CEO coaching can help these leaders understand what has happened and how they can get back on track.

CEO coaching isn’t only about polishing skills or bridging skill gaps. It is often about answering challenging questions and exposing assumptions – about the client’s self, others, and the organization. It isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to set the stage for the hard work involved in coaching. And the end results can be phenomenal.

A seasoned CEO coach can help the leader confront tough questions and guide them on core characteristics like authenticity, vulnerability, duty, and the other building blocks of Intelligent Leadership. The result? A more effective leader driven by genuine purpose, and an organization that performs at maximum capacity. If you’re interested in learning more, I invite you to check out my books.

Back to blog