In the next few weeks or so, I wanted to write about the need for executive coaching in the C-suite. I will identify seven concrete reasons why c-level executives need a coach. I begin with reason #1 below, “It’s Lonely at the Top”. But, first: an interesting study was just released by Stanford University/Miles Group that identifies the massive gap between CEO’s being receptive to coaching (i.e., 95%) and the percentage who actually receive coaching (i.e. less than 33%).

More often than not, this is due to the “stigma” that is still attached to coaching by both boards and CEO’s.  Coaching is sometimes wrongly considered as “remedial” in nature rather than “performance enhancing”. Earlier this year, we released our bi-annual 2014 Trends in Talent Management and Executive Development global research study published by Pearson.

Here’s the harsh reality we uncovered after interviewing and surveying over 150 CEO’s and VP’s of HR: Of the 35% of organizations that use executive coaching, only 48% of those same organizations use executive coaching for their vice president level and above executives (not including the c-suite)Similar to the Stanford/Miles Group Study, only 30% of CEO’s received outside coaching. While we were surprised to learn that 52 percent of the organizations we surveyed do not cite executive coaching as an important developmental strategy for their VP and above executives, we were frankly more surprised and alarmed to learn that greater than 66 percent of CEO’s do not receive any outside coaching.

“It’s Lonely At The Top”

Is a sentiment heard a lot when CEO’s partner with executive coaches. Effective CEO’s will often cite their appreciation of having had a partnership with their coach where they could confidentially explore their “inner- and outer-core” strengths and vulnerabilities, while staying laser-focused on “worthy achievement” leadership goals and strategies, becoming more altruistic and “other-oriented”, and building powerful relationships with their constituent groups. CEO coaching is all about removing unseen “self-imposed” barriers so the CEO becomes even more effective as a leader.

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