People in leading positions are often in a dilemma: on one hand they are supposed to give great performances, make the right decisions and so forth; on the other hand, they have to fill the role of a very confident and self-assured manager. This may be considered a dilemma because CEOs are expected to be almost supernatural, and asking for assistance in what is supposed to be their core competence (leadership!) simply does not fit the picture, no matter how necessary it may be.
It is interesting to draw a parallel to sports. I don't know of any world-class athletes who do not have coaches or trainers to assist them in the development of their core competency (e. g. , golf, tennis, etc. ). It seems that in the area of sports, it is generally accepted that top performers need top assistance, i. e. , coaches. Also, nobody in sports seems to feel the necessity to hide that they employ a coach. Meanwhile, many of the top CEOs (at least in the US) have coaches, but very few want to admit or even talk about it.
CEOs are usually in a situation with a unique handicap: being on top of an organization, they must demonstrate powerful and wise leadership but may not be able to share their doubts with others in the organization, as this would not fit the expected image.
A trusted and competent executive coach can take over this necessary function of a sparring partner. The coach can mirror the existing options and reveal blind spots, share his experiences, and challenge limiting beliefs of CEOs. Additionally, a trusted coach can help CEOs in dealing with ethical and personal issues that may influence performance. All in all, the coach can be the competent and equal (!) partner, which many CEOs need in their unique and exposed position.
It seems there is still a long way to go before CEOs will be able to speak about their coaches as lightly and as naturally as top athletes do. A great first step is to recognize the benefits a coach provides to a CEO in his professional and personal life. Top CEOs know this already and benefit from coaching through better performance, a greater feeling of security and a more stable work-life balance. Again: top performers need top assistance, and professional coaches can be a crucial element of a strong support system.
About Charlie Lang
Charlie works with senior executives who are already successful and want to stay at the leading edge. They are often challenged by issues like:
- How to improve staff retention, especially how to keep top performers
- How to achieve a corporate success culture that guarantees longterm success - How to create new levels of excellence through high employee engagement
- How to transform the business results through a different approach towards sales
Charlie, an executive coach & trainer who is known for his innovative approaches towards leadership, change processes and sales, assists his clients in mastering these challenges. They achieve outstanding results through Charlie's unique application of latest findings in research combined with his own experience in international management and leadership.
Charlie is the author of numerous articles and of the book The Groupness Factor . He delivers speeches and keynotes on sales, leadership and coaching.