Why Business Leaders Hire Coaches

Conor Neill
Sep 2, 2018 · 3 min read
Playing Chess, photo credit wuestenigel

What do Coaches do?

“A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could beTom Landry (American Football Coach)

It is no sign of weakness to seek a coach, it demonstrates maturity. The weak person hides their shortcomings; the courageous face up to the truth of their actual behaviour.

I’ve been working on leadership development for over a decade through my roles at IESE Business School, Entrepreneurs Organisation and Vistage. I’ve come across hundreds of coaches and thousands of business leaders who have increased their performance and improved the quality of their lives with a coach.

“Without a coach, people will never reach their maximum capabilities” Bob Nardelli, CEO of Home Depot

Why do Business Leaders seek the Support of an Executive Coach?

This list is an extensive summary of reasons why Business Leaders seek the support of an Executive Coach or Mentor either independently or through an organisation like Vistage.

This list is based on my personal experience. I’ve been working on leadership development for over a decade. I’ve come across hundreds of coaches and thousands of business leaders who have benefitted from both the challenge and the support of a coach.

I have a specific need

  1. I regularly fail to achieve results (typically in one specific area)
  2. I want something specific (a promotion, more money, get fit, better golf handicap)
  3. I am frustrated at myself and nothing seems to be working
  4. I cannot relate effectively with somebody (children, parents, boss, team mates, senior leaders, wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend)
  5. I’m having a conflict with a colleague.
  6. I am burnt out/overwhelmed and need to release some of the pressure

Someone Else tells me that I Need a Coach

  1. HR assigns coaches to all senior managers
  2. HR puts me on “fast track”
  3. HR identifies me as “needs improvement” but valuable enough to make the effort
  4. My friend/wife/husband/boss has told me that I have to make changes

Conditions change

  1. I have been fired or my job made redundant
  2. I start a new business
  3. I change career path or change company
  4. I need new skills for my role (public speaking, writing, leading, managing others)

I am Stuck

  1. I don’t know what I want (but I know that where I am now is not it)
  2. I have been passed over for promotion
  3. I need some help advancing my career, my career trajectory has hit a plateau.
  4. I feel bored with my life
  5. I feel that my improvement has stopped in an area of passion (golf, tennis, fitness)
  6. I feel that I am missing out on life (FOMO)

My Leadership is Ineffective

  1. We don’t have a strategy.
  2. It takes too long to get things done.
  3. Turnover is high.
  4. My employees do not take responsibility for results
  5. The leadership team is not moving in the same direction.
  6. I need to take my Leadership Team or my Board to the next level.

I want to “Win”

  1. I want to achieve something that will give me a sense of winning
  2. I want to increase my life challenge, I want to avoid complacency

I want to be Inspired

  1. I wish to experience an excellent role model
  2. I want to see how you coach/lead me, what techniques you use

I want Validation

  1. My self-worth depends greatly on external validation
  2. I lack a strong group of supportive friends
  3. I lack a trusted confidante who will be fully honest
  4. I need clear, objective and usable feedback

The Coach’s Perspective on Executive Performance

What about you? Have you ever worked with a Coach?

What other situations or triggers would cause someone to see out Executive Coaching? What is missing? When have you sought out coaching?

This article was originally published at https://conorneill.com/2018/08/26/why-business-leaders-hire-coaches/

Conor Neill

Written by

President Vistage Spain, Lecturer at IESE Business School, Entrepreneur, Author and Father to two great daughters. Great life motto Memento Mori. Carpe Diem

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