Why every CEO Needs a Coach

Operating a profitable business can be a very tricky responsibility at most times. Despite the stress on strong team culture and the necessity to maintain dialogue with colleagues, leadership often proves to be a very lonely job. Not only is it difficult to identify the correct choices and decisions, at critical times like a merger or an acquisition, it becomes increasingly challenging to maintain a healthy and normal working relationship with the employees.

In trying circumstances, the CEO of an organization can be hugely benefited by working with a professional coach. While discussing the role of a CEO, it is important to realize that a business executive has to learn the ropes of the business world by observing both the functioning of organizations and the actions of successful business leaders. Since there is no rule-book for a CEO, one can only depend on professional guidance from associates and employees, or family and friends. However, to be effective as a CEO, it is necessary to achieve continuous growth beyond the personal comfort zones. And this can be attained through the help of a CEO Coach.

However, before a CEO Coach is even consulted, it is important to assess whether the CEO really needs a coach. A Coach can be hired at any stage during a business, but it is important that the CEO feels the need to be guided. If the CEO is feeling like he/ she is stuck in a rut, and unable to make new decisions without some new challenges and motivation, then it is time to hire a CEO Coach to change the situation. There are some questions that a CEO must be able to answer in the affirmative before he/ she hires a coach.

The first question would be: Is the CEO ready to bear the additional expenses? Hiring a Coach would mean an automatic burden of extra cost. There is really no point in hiring a Coach if the CEO is only going to see him/ her once a week or so. In that case, the CEO is going to wonder why he/ she is paying someone just to be asked a set of questions every week.

The second question would definitely be: Is the CEO really prepared to go that extra mile? The Coach is going to push the CEO constantly between meetings, to make new decisions that would improve productivity in the organization. If the CEO is not willing to make decisions without reservations, then all that coaching can hardly be considered a success.

The third question is: Does the CEO have any issues regarding objective feedback? The Coach would not hesitate to point out to the CEO the follies of his/ her wrong decisions. The CEO has to keep an open mind in order to receive those feedbacks. If the CEO is not ready to accept blunt criticism, then maybe he/ she is not yet ready for some real coaching.

The last question, and undoubtedly the most important one, is: Does the CEO have any reservations about discussing his/ her problems with others? No matter how good a Coach is, not much progress can be made if the CEO is not willing to open up about his/ her personal reservations. There should be open discussions about the follies of the CEO’s past decisions and why those did not work out. There has to be free exchange of ideas between the Coach and the CEO regarding what might have clicked in those circumstances. If a CEO is willing to accept his/ her mistakes and work towards correcting those, it is easy for the Coach to show him/ her the steps that need to be taken in order to overcome those pitfalls of management.

When a CEO trusts his/ her Coach and is willing to work towards overcoming his/ her obstacles, only then the coaching can be considered to be an absolute success. The primary benefits that are obtained from successful coaching sessions include:

 1. CEO Coaches can provide objective advice.

Often, situations may arise that can force a CEO to behave unusually. Any crisis may put immense pressure on the CEO, and confidentiality issues prevent him/ her from sharing the concerns with an employee. At times like this, a group may feel excluded, unable to identify with the actions of their leader. A CEO Coach, in such circumstances, will be able to understand the politics and dynamics of the organization, and yet remain uninfluenced by it, so as to be able to guide the CEO in an objective and unprejudiced manner. 

 2. CEO Coaches are not emotionally or financially attached to your business.

Managing a business can create a bond of emotional and financial attachment with it. Any significant corporate change can make a CEO react to it personally, and thereby deviate from the business objectives.  Also, when discussing issues with the staff, the support teams will inadvertently focus on their needs rather than that of the CEO’s. Although organizations promote balanced corporate management, natural instinct leads employees to place their interests before those of the company. As a result, a CEO can hardly get the required inputs from an executive meeting. On the contrary, the primary job of CEO Coaches is to look after the interests of the CEO. You can therefore be assured of getting professional advice that will help you reach your goals.

 3. CEO Coaches can enhance personal development.

CEO Coaches play the role of a listener and an inquisitor. They test the CEOs for their understanding of key issues, assess the potential strategies, and review the proposed plan of action. CEO Coaches also act as a sounding board, and allow business executives to judge their plans, reconsidering both the pleasant as well as the unpleasant outcomes. In addition, by asking questions other colleagues would deem too risky, the CEO Coaches can add real objective value. Also, the personal flaws in a CEO such as the lack of charisma, or the inability to effectively communicate his/ her ideas, can be rectified by a coach.

4. CEO Coaches bring together a broad knowledge base coupled with know-how of the industry best practices.

The process of “Incestuous Thinking” is often adopted by companies to deal with situations of stagnant or declining revenues. This process entails bringing together all the management teams and asking them for possible strategies to meet the crisis. However, this process is nothing more than a business cycle of non-growth. CEO Coaches, on the other hand, utilize their knowledge and expertise to find the action steps necessary. Their leadership approach can help integrate all the aspects of finance, marketing, sales, and corporate strategy.

 5. CEO Coaches can detect the problems with the business model.

Often, higher revenue or profits effectively disguise any faults the business model might have. If a growing company has the funds, the expenditures and the strategies are generally not questioned. However, it has been noted that departments can operate ineffectively at times of increasing revenues. A CEO Coach can help identify the gaps in the business model, and assess them efficiently so as to enhance profitability.

 6. CEO Coaches can provide a higher return on investment, together with increasing the business valuation.

CEO Coaches primarily take charge of driving the key business indicators and the corporate decisions. These, both directly as well as indirectly, are responsible for decreasing expenses, and increasing the profits. Also, no matter what your business goals are, a CEO Coach can help increase the business value by building a replicable and scalable revenue growth program. In addition, CEO Coaches can put together a revenue capture process that will help your business on a recurring basis.


CEO Coaches help business executives on the key issues and delicate areas, using their knowledge, networks, and expertise. They teach the CEOs to judge action plans, and make the correct decisions that will effectively move the business forward. In fact, CEO Coaches can be referred to as the one step that will help you go from being a good CEO to a great CEO.