Continual investment in improving your skills as a CEO is the best investment you can make – for yourself and your company. Of course, spending time educating yourself through online classes and workshops, Ted Talks, and reading books about executive and leadership tips is time well spent. But time spent on self-exploration during coaching is much more impactful.
If you are not sure you agree with that, google advice from highly successful people and recommendation from Bill Gates pops up immediately: “Everyone needs a coach. We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.”
Perhaps you do not consider coaching because you already have too much on your plate, too much to deal with in a continually changing business environment. Or maybe you lack a clear understanding of the reasons for retaining a coach. Consider the following benefits you can reap.
- Second set of eyes
Few CEOs are disciplined enough to regularly spend time in self-reflection or do self-assessments on their effectiveness. As a result, you likely are not entirely aware of your strengths and weaknesses, your skill gaps, or your opportunities to improve. And you lack understanding of how others see you. Consider former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s opinion about executive coaching. He says people are not good at seeing themselves as others see them, but a coach helps.
Coaching serves as a second set of eyes as long as you are open to feedback. In addition, coaching can highlight behavioral patterns, strengths, and weaknesses.
A coach may use a 360-degree assessment tool, which captures your thoughts about your accomplishments, interactions, and your colleagues’ and employees’ assessment of your performance. Most CEOs are surprised when they read the feedback and see how much their impression of themselves differs from those who work with them. Nevertheless, it is valuable information, and a coach knows how to conduct the assessment and review the feedback to best benefit your needs.
- Help with authenticity
Influential CEOs are authentic. They are honest and not pretentious. Most of all, their actions and decisions align with their life values. They are careful to avoid discrepancies between what they say and what they do. Coaching can help identify situations where you tend not to be authentic.
Authenticity should be a key component of your branding as CEO. Along with being open and honest, it helps build trust. As CEO, you cannot be effective at driving business growth if you lack authenticity.
- Improve mindfulness
If you are mindful, you are aware of your mindset, your feelings, and biases. All three inform your attitudes and assumptions. Therefore, they affect your decision-making capability. And they determine whether you are open to listening to other people’s points of view.
Coaching can help you determine whether your mindset and biases hinder effective communications or hindrances in making effective decisions. How important is this? Consider Bill Clinton. As US President, he retained Tony Robbins as his coach to help him with more effective decision-making regarding citizens.
- Improve empathy
When Steve Jobs became aware of how his management style limited his ultimate impact, he hired a coach to help him be more empathetic and improve his listening skills.
As a CEO, you are responsible for influencing people in your company to follow your direction toward goals that necessitate their agreeing to change. Coaching can help you become more empathetic, which will be on display if you willingly listen to other people’s perspectives and concerns about the new direction and goals. Showing more empathy leads to more vital influencing ability.
Become more aware of your stress level because it can distract you from being empathetic. Sure, you recognize when you are in a high-stress situation unfolding within a given timeline. But CEOs often do not recognize the impact of sustained stress over a long period. Sustained pressure, which keeps building, causes leaders to act and communicate differently – and empathetic thinking goes out the window.
It is difficult not to react negatively when you are under a long period of sustained stress. You may not be aware of how bad the situation is, but a coach will bring it to light and show you how to be more empathetic in times of stress.
Coaching will teach you more than the “basics” in performing your job more effectively. Coaching partnership creates fertile ground to maximize your potential and puts you on the fast track for improving. So, it is well worth the investment. But remember this: For coaching to work, you need to be coachable. So, it would be best if you wanted to change the way you think and behave.
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