How CEOs Benefit from Executive Coaching for Leadership

Almost two-thirds of CEOs don’t receive executive coaching or leadership development counsel — even though they admit it’d be a good idea if they did.

That’s according to a 2013 study.

It was conducted by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and The Miles Group.

“What’s interesting is that nearly 100 percent of CEOs in the survey responded that they actually enjoy the process of receiving coaching and leadership advice, so there is real opportunity for companies to fill in that gap,” saysStanford Professor David F. Larcker, who led the research.

“Given how vitally important it is for the CEO to be getting the best possible counsel, independent of their board, in order to maintain the health of the corporation, it’s concerning that so many of them are ‘going it alone,’” says Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group.

“Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in,” adds Mr. Miles.

More than 200 CEOS, board directors and senior managers at North American public and private companies were surveyed.

Mergers & AcquisitionsStudy’s key findings:

— Nearly 66 percent don’t receive coaching or leadership advice from outside participants.

— Fully 100 percent said they’re open to such coaching.

— Almost 80 percent of directors believe their CEOS would like coaching.

— Among CEOs receiving such input, 78 percent said it was their idea, and 21 percent said the board chairman made the suggestion.

— Over 60 percent of CEOs said the status of their coaching is treated confidentially and about 33 percent said the status is given to the board.

— Managing conflict skills is ranked the No. concern by 43 percent of the CEOs.

— Board members said they want their CEOs to receive “mentoring skills/developing internal talent” and “sharing leadership/delegation skills.”

— The CEOs’ preference for coaching: sharing leadership/delegation, conflict management, team building, and mentoring.

— CEOs disdain sharing leadership/delegation, conflict management, team building, and mentoring.


Being a CEO means facing loneliness at the top. CEOS must be discrete and have few people in whom to confide.

My sense is that many of the surveyed CEOs are uncomfortable with exploring their self-awareness, a prerequisite for true leadership.

Until CEOs better understand their personal capacities, they won’t be able to fully understand, manage and inspire their personnel.

So coaching would help CEOs become better leaders.

The solution: An approach that’s reminiscent of a personal SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis.

CEOs would benefit from the following approach:

1. Evaluate your career and personal events

Examine what and when were the pivotal points in your career and personal life. List your attitude, behavior and values.

Assess the return on your investment in energy. List the benefits and the negative outcomes.

2. Conduct an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses

Create two vertical columns on sheets of paper. On the left, list your strengths. On the other, list your weaknesses.

A strength is often a weakness and vice versa. It’s up to you to determine the difference. If you’re too aggressive at times as a weakness, when is it possible to describe it as being assertive as a strength?

An example:

If in a meeting I were to pound my fist on the table to make a point that would be aggressive. But if I were to give some thought and think about how to give a persuasive response — not a reaction — then I would  be assertive.

3. Use the inventory to develop goals

This is the simplest part. List goals to fill those gaps — your weaknesses — that hold you back from optimal leadership.

Create a timeline for action and how you’ll get to where to need to go for success.

When you succeed, implement this training process for your employees. You’ll be very pleased with the strong results.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related resources:

Thought Leadership — Why Companies Hire Management Consultants — Companies want knowledge. A good idea can be worth $1 million and more. That’s why companies hire thought leaders. It’s also why you see many consultants position themselves as thought leaders and give away free information in how-to articles or studies, which lead to books, seminars and being quoted in the media.

Leadership: How Leaders Employ 11 Strengths to Grow Businesses — Ascension to the C-suite doesn’t automatically qualify an executive as a leader. Leaders have 11 strengths that enable them to manage their companies for greater effectiveness and elasticity despite a fast-changing marketplace. Having positive attributes is synonymous with having skill sets. Strong attributes are certainly helpful. But more importantly, possessing qualities or strengths connotes having values.

Management — 4 Mindsets for Leadership in Performance Reviews — Are you nervous at the thought of giving employee-performance reviews? You’re not alone. Your employees aren’t exactly thrilled, either. Typically, employees aren’t convinced they can get valid feedback. If they’ve experienced poor managers, they likely dread the performance-review process or are skeptical of the outcome.

Why Not to Expect Miraculous Leadership from Narcissistic CEOs — “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” -Al Michaels, sportscaster  That’s the line sportscaster Mr. Michaels made famous on Feb. 22, 1980 in “The Miracle on Ice,” a famous hockey game in the Olympic Winter Games.

18 Leadership Strategies to Earn Employee Respect — Eighteen strategies to profit from good labor relations, and to leverage the perspective of employees – your company’s human capital.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

-John Quincy Adams


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.

In Q4, Why ‘the Overflow of a Revived Heart Is Always Generous Living’

Have you properly prepared for fall – the stewardship season? That’s considered the time to finish plans for the upcoming year. Around the start of the fourth quarter, you see it everywhere in business.

Budgets are being finalized, a new round of layoffs start as companies realize they have unfavorable profit margins, and nonprofits struggle for success in donations. Wall Street is not exempt during October, either, with investors. We’ve witnessed the volatility on the stock market back in October of 1929 and 1987.

In accompanying my parents to their church service in semi-rural Oregon in a recent fall, I was moved by the pastor’s sermon: “The overflow of a revived heart is always generous living.” It was the second poignant message of the day.

ID-100279881 Mister GCEarlier that morning in my parents’ hometown newspaper, The Register-Guard, the front page headline read: “Lessons in survival – Homeless students struggle with obstacles on and off campus, and their numbers are growing.”

The article mentioned Oregon has 20,000 homeless students. The kids have major obstacles in trying to graduate from high school. They have to have faith their lives will improve with a high school diploma.

Even if they find a place to sleep and shower, they have to wear the same clothes every day to school – where they encounter sarcasm from their fellow students.

Peer pressure can be devastating for young minds. The Greek verb for sarcasm, sarcazo, means “to tear flesh.” Instead, these kids need to be congratulated for their efforts. It’s a terrible thing not to have hope.

The newspaper story and the sermon have lessons for all thoughtful Americans – there is economic misery everywhere. Even working families are struggling to make ends meet.

And even those who lead comfortable lives have trouble managing stress, while taking their success for granted. One of the most-read articles on this portal is 30 Time Management, Stress Reducing Skills.

Value of mentoring

Early in my career, I benefited from the counsel of three beloved mentors whom I treasure, who advised me in spiritual and business matters. They were very accessible and generous in giving of their philosophies and insights.

Independently of one another, they each reminded me the same message – focus on an attitude of gratitude.

Thirty+ years ago in a recession when I was in divorce proceedings and sold advertising for two Los Angeles sister radio stations, I encountered cash-strapped prospects every day. Thankfully, I could telephone my first mentor – a busy executive – on weekdays at three p.m. His secretary  had orders to take my call. Only three people had such a privilege – his boss, wife and me. I got the feeling that he closed his office door, sat down and put his feet on the desk, and spent 30 glorious minutes inspiring me.

One day, he advised me that helping others will improve my outlook. He suggested: “Look around for someone less-fortunate to help. Then, do what you can. But don’t tell anybody what you’ve done. Otherwise, it won’t count.”

A few years later, the second mentor once observed: “When we’re stressed, it’s because we’re focused on the 10 percent of our lives that isn’t working instead of the 90 percent that is.”

After a long period of success, there was a time when it seemed my career was taking two steps forward but one back. The third mentor told me: “Consider where you were five years ago. Consider where you are now. Write a gratitude list.”

Despite their huge success, these men were very humble. To each, I once said: “If I were to compensate you, I’d have to write a check for $100,000.”

Individually, they each told me to forget the check: “When you get the chance, pass it on.”

Focus on what’s important

Not until we face humbling experiences do we usually begin to fully appreciate the important things – starting with family, friends, pets and homes. For businesspeople, that includes cash flow, thanks to clients or customers.

Gratitude leads to hope, which is very powerful because it leads to accomplishments.

Perhaps you’re mindful of these economic developments in your community and have taken action. If not, please consider it’s time to do what is possible to lessen the misery of the world.

Especially, if you’ve managed to overcome obstacles, consider: The overflow of a revived heart is always generous living – generous with your philanthropy. It’s true. I have retired friends who now work full-time at helping others. You know what? Proverbially, that’s what floats their boat, and they’re the most-happy people I know.

By Thanksgiving Day, my fervent wish is that every businessperson takes stock of what’s working in their lives and careers, and start spending more quality time with family. Then, do something else.

The options are many. Launch a scholarship fund for worthy students. Mentor someone. Or find a worthy charity or religious organization that needs you. You can help in at least one of three ways – with your time, effort or money.

Thank you. You’ll be glad you did. I guarantee “the overflow of revived heart is always generous living.” You’ll feel even better if you practice year-round.

P.S. Your thoughts are welcome here. Spread the message. And if you have children, talk with them about sarcasm and lessening the misery of the world.

From the Coach’s Corner, did you know Cause-Related Marketing Can Increase Sales by Double Digits?

Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 

Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.