CEOs Just Want To Get Coached
Only two-thirds of CEOs get outside coaching but 100% say they would be receptive to it.
Good news for executive coaches: A new study from Stanford and executive coaching firm The Miles Group shows that while two-thirds of chief executives don’t get any coaching or leadership advice from outside their companies, nearly 100% of those bosses say they wish that they did.
“Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in,” says Miles Group CEO Stephen Miles in a statement. “We are moving away from coaching being perceived as ‘remedial’ to where it should be something that improves performance, similar to how elite athletes use a coach.”
The survey polled more than 200 CEOs, board directors and senior directors of public and private companies in North America. Some of the findings:
- Almost 66% of CEOs get no coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants
- A full 100% of bosses say they would be receptive to making changes based on feedback.
- Nearly 80% of directors say their CEO would welcome coaching.
- CEOs want to be coached, apart from the desires of their boards. The survey asked CEOs who are currently being coached, where they got the idea to get help. Some 78% said it was their own idea. Twenty-one percent said it was the chairman of the board’s idea.
- CEOs prefer to be private about their coaching. More than 60% said that they keep news of the progress they’re making between them and the coach. Only a third said they share the information with the board. Stanford professor David Larcker, who also worked on the study, says that sharing progress with boards can improve the relations between boards and CEOs.
- CEOs’ chief area of concern: getting help handling conflicts. Nearly 43% of CEOs said that “conflict management skills” was their highest priority. Top bosses often get tapped for difficult decisions above all other problems.
- Boards’ chief area of concern: CEOs need to improve talent development. While CEOs want help resolving conflicts, boards are eager for CEOs to work on their mentoring and motivational skills, and to improve their ability to show compassion and empathy. Boards also want CEOs to hone their persuasion skills. These are obviously more nuanced, less tangible skills and possibly more difficult to coach. “However, when combined with the ‘harder’ skills, improving a CEO’s ability to motivate and inspire can easily make a difference in his or her overall effectiveness,” says Miles.
Originally published at www.forbes.com on August 5, 2013.