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What Has Coaching Got To Offer CEOs

Written by: Teresa Hand-Campbell, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

The role of the CEO has become increasingly challenging, with terms such as “reset”, “the great resignation” and “hybrid working” having entered the organisational lexicon, adding another layer to the uncertainty which pervades the world of work. Much has been written on ‘the loneliness of leadership’, for which generous remuneration, perks, perceived power and influence fail to compensate. How does one ensure that the rewards of the role trump the challenges and that any growth and enhanced performance will align with leaders’ health and wellbeing and reduced attrition levels?

Enter the Executive Coach, as an affirming and invigorating resource, not an admission of weakness or misfit for the onerous responsibilities associated with C-Suite roles. Rather, executive level coaching empowers leaders to make better decisions across leadership, focus and communication while helping to identify blind spots with a view to approaching problems from a different perspective.

Having reached the top of the corporate ladder, many simply plateau, believing that they have reached the pinnacle of their learning journey. This belief may remain unchallenged while surfing on a wave of success. However, can these top executives handle it all alone, especially when the going gets tough e.g., the uncertainties of rapidly changing and technologically propelled markets, shifting workforces, narrowing skillsets, increased accountability at the hands of legal and financial scrutiny and sharpening competition which accompanies increased globalisation in a world without boundaries, in space or time. Top executives are expected to be ‘always turned on’, running the risk of work-life imbalance, burn out, poor health, impaired or absent decision-making and the associated loss of competitive edge, top ranking human resources and financial resources.


CEO coaching has many benefits


1. Pinpoints areas in need of attention


Learning across both career and life-spans is pivotal to growth and success. CEOs lead teams who rely on their modeling of good practice and look to them for guidance and direction. An experienced Executive Coach validates and enhances the CEO’s decision-making through contributing their leadership and managerial skills and expertise, offering an alternative view. Inability to communicate one’s exceptional technical knowledge, for instance, may be ameliorated through skillful coaching which enables business growth in 2022.


2. Facilitates Strategic Planning powered by Accountability


Holding self and others accountable is a learned art which underpins the CEO’s directionality and successful strategic planning. Coaching entails one-to-one sessions dedicated to reviewing goals and priorities, to reflecting, to evaluating, to re-igniting the dream while encouraging emergent leadership to help steer the organization in the right direction. Being a veteran executive, turned Coach, aids the CEO coaching process as it lends a broader and deeper understanding of the process at hand and the desired outcomes. This backdrop of ‘knowing’ aids charting the plan and guiding realistic, actionable steps for which the CEO will be held accountable.


3. Limits Analysis Paralysis and Indecision


Retaining self-perspective is vital to the ultimate success of the CEO from personal and professional standpoints. Coaching aids the process of developing habits and building solid routines.


‘… Ultimately, your habits matter because they help you become the type of person you wish to be. They are the channel through which you develop your deepest beliefs about yourself. Quite literally you become your habits.’ (James Clear)

Coaching helps forward planning, embracing one’s natural inclination and sense of self-reliance, nurturing consistency over perfection while avoiding ‘all or nothing’ self-sabotage, finding balance through avoiding over-extension of self and overwork. The seasoned Coach affirms the CEO in prioritizing appropriately, getting comfortable with saying ‘no’, decluttering and simplifying in order to make physical, digital and mental space. Above all, the Coach guides objective review and regular measurement of progress while emphasizing the need to make room for creativity and spontaneity, the very essence of an organization’s vibrancy and potential.


4. Provides an Emotional Support system


The CEO experiences the pull of incessant demands, with varying degrees of importance and perceived ‘urgency’ attached. Stress, burnout and decision fatigue prompts a very valid question: “Who takes care of me?” A support confidante, the Executive Coach, can share that burden, offering an emotional support system and education around ‘Emotional’ and ‘Positive’ Intelligence, which are essential to understanding, relationship building and communication with employees in the workplace. Heightened engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction and employee self-efficacy flow as a result.

5. Develops many Skills conductive to Competency Building


Executive coaching against a backdrop of the coach’s experience in Executive Leadership offers the CEO years of experience, skills and competencies otherwise unavailable as a support. The ability to make sound decisions, under pressure, is a skill every CEO must develop and can be facilitated by an experienced coach who can use a probing style which opens up the mind to different possibilities and innovative solutions. This drill then becomes embedded as a style which serves the CEO well in tricky situations.


6. Builds Communication Skills


Teasing problems with an Executive Coach aids clarity and offers opportunities to take different perspectives on emerging issues. The ability to ably articulate the problem to the team is but one aspect of employee interaction; dealing with investors and the public in general demand yet another set of norms which may be bolstered by CEO coaching. Effective communication, therefore, must form an important part of any CEO coaching program. Establishing the CEO’s communication style may be achieved through undertaking DISC assessment as an initial baseline and working from there.


7. Drives Performance


While key skills and competencies accrued over the years assist the CEO in performing effectively and climbing the corporate ladder, the danger of hitting a plateau is ever present. Strengths displayed often camouflage weaknesses which, at a certain point, become the obstacle to continued growth. CEO Coaching can leverage these strengths and unlock the potential denied due to self-limiting beliefs. Identifying one’s saboteurs is the first step towards building the Sage muscle and turning former obstacles in to opportunities. Developing new skills, with the help of coaching, is closely linked to enhanced performance, heightened motivation and reported increases in productivity. Acknowledgement of your achievements and your potential to succeed even further, inevitably increases confidence, boosts morale and propels growth.


8. Propels Company Growth


Employees and Managers look to the CEO for direction, especially in times of crisis. CEO Coaching in the past has proven indispensable in embracing fast-paced change, in pivoting to meet unforeseen demands and in displaying a readiness to make decisions which sealed the fate of companies. The effectiveness and growth of the CEO, backed by coaching, are reflected in the growth of the company.


In 2022, CEO Coaching is a wise investment which equips top executives with knowledge and expertise at both micro and macro levels; the ROI is incalculable. Coaching, not only bolsters the CEO’s ability to make tough and timely decisions in the highly competitive world of work, but ensures an understanding of the human in the workplace at a time of great upheaval and incalculable uncertainty.

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Teresa Hand-Campbell, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Teresa Hand-Campbell is the founder and Director of THC Consultancy Ltd., an Ireland-based company with a global reach. As Occupational Psychologist, Educationist, Business Executive Coach and certified Mediator, she educates, motivates and inspires her clients on their journey to achieving optimum potential.


Teresa specialises in all aspects of behaviour, relations, motivation and engagement at work, facilitating executive coaching, training, teamwork, career progression, recruitment drives, action mapping and strategic planning with organisations, large and small, across both private and public sectors. She has successfully coached over 400 Senior Executives and continues to lecture to Master's level in Leadership & Management in the Workplace. A WRAW Master Practitioner (Workplace Resilience And Wellbeing), Teresa is also a multi-science analyst using DISC and is a registered Test User (1 & 2) with the British Psychological Society.


A keynote speaker, Teresa delivers inspiring bespoke Talks and Training to audiences of all sizes around key topics of interest to the workplace.

A prolific writer, her most recent Case Study and bespoke Recommendations, entitled: ‘Building a Culture to Grow & Thrive’ was undertaken for Catalyst Clinical Research, a large, multi-award winning clinical development organisation with headquarters in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA. Teresa’s motto: ‘Knowing ME: Understanding YOU’ rests on her belief that to know oneself is to ensure a true understanding of others we come in contact with.

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