If you played a sport as a kid, you probably started out working with a coach who taught you the basics and help you lock down the skills you needed to participate. Wouldn’t it be terrific if we were assigned a similar coach the first day on a new job? Having someone to explain the overall strategy, the specific skills, and the quirks of the workplace and our co-workers would help many of us get up to speed faster in a new job, but rarely do we have such a luxury.
We know that coaching works for every skill level.
It’s generally at the top of the leadership chart where companies invest in leadership coaching for their people, but that doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on the benefits coaching provides. And if your long-term plan is to be named CEO one day, you may benefit greatly by investing in leadership coaching yourself, well before you get an office on the executive floor. Leadership coaching works at every career stage, and if the opportunity and resources to use it present themselves, you should take advantage. Here’s why.
Turnover at the Top is Brisk; It Pays to Be Prepared
In 2015, CEO turnover stood at 16.6%, up from 11.6% in 2010. Yet despite the fact that CEO turnover has risen sharply, only 29% of business leaders in the US believe their organizations give all necessary and appropriate support to new leaders. Nearly three-quarters of new leaders feel like they’re unprepared for their new roles and expanded responsibilities. The good news is that tailored leadership coaching for those taking on top leadership roles can significantly raise the chances of the appointment being a success. The bad news, however, is that only around one-third of businesses use coaching.
Coaching Now Can Help You Gain the Corner Office Later
You don’t have to wait to work with a leadership coach. While you probably don’t have the budget that your company does for hiring a coach, there are many coaches who offer webinars, online coaching, and short-term contracts that are more affordable for the professional who is investing in their own future in leadership.
Some coaches offer online resources that are affordable for the mid-level professional.
Working with a coach helps you plan and develop the full complement of skills you’ll need as a three-letter executive. When the time comes you can take up the challenge having already done more due diligence than most people in the same position. And if, as a new top executive, you’re offered further coaching, paid for by your company, you stand to benefit even more from it, having had the experience of working with a coach previously.
Develop Your Long-Term Strategic Vision
One of the most important roles of leadership coaching is helping clients develop their long-term strategic vision. Doesn’t it make sense, though, to start developing your long-term strategic vision well before you make it to the top of the organizational chart? With the help of a coach, you can learn to make both short- and long-term plans and map out the objectives that will get you there. Furthermore, you can discover potential skills gaps now, so that when the time comes for you to take on a top leadership role, you’re likelier to have a better skill set than you would otherwise.
Create a Plan to Fill Skills Gaps
Working with a leadership coach, you can create a long-term plan to fill any skills gaps you may have. This may involve obtaining certifications, taking professional development courses, or going back to school for a Master’s or Doctorate. The earlier in your career you plan these skills upgrades, the more you can benefit from them, and the faster you’ll be qualified to climb the corporate ladder.
Leadership coaching can be a big investment. But it can be an investment that pays handsome dividends, and keeps paying them with time. If leadership coaching sounds like a good investment in your career, even if you’re not at the top of the leadership chart, you have many options for finding coaches willing to develop programs that work for you. In the meantime, I invite you to check out my blog, which addresses core tenets of leadership and company culture and can help you as you map out your path to the top.