This week I wanted to share with you what I believe are the “real” benefits of coaching. As you probably know, the type of coaching engagement I am most familiar with is coaching CEOs and high-level executives.
I see Executive Coaching as a CEO’s competitive advantage. I have observed that when executives start making better decisions, developing better relationships, taking risks, increasing their presence, etc., I can see a positive correlation between those changes and four main components, which in my view are the real benefits of coaching.
Successful individuals are a unique breed. Since they have achieved a high level of success, they sometimes look at the coach, perhaps thinking to themselves or saying, “Why should I listen to you? Why should I take your suggestions? I have evidence that the way I behave, manage, and communicate is successful.” The reality is that everyone can identify one or more behaviors that deter them in some manner from being their best. When this behavior is coupled with the awareness of perception, then you have a powerful combination, and it is perhaps one of the most valuable benefits of coaching.
2- Change in Behavior and Perception
Successful individuals are a special kind. Since they are successful already, they sometimes look at the coach, perhaps thinking to themselves or saying, “Why should I listen to you? Why should I take your suggestions?” I have evidence that the way I behave, manage, and communicate is successful.” The reality is that everyone can identify one or more behaviors that deter them in some manner from being their best. When this behavior is coupled with awareness of perception then you have a powerful combination, and it is perhaps one of the most valuable
3-Benefits of Coaching: Efficiency and Power
Perhaps this point can be better illustrated with an analogy. If I have a car with a powerful engine, you can start the car, put your foot on the brake pedal, put the car in drive, and still get the car up to a high speed. Highly successful individuals are very powerful engines and having their foot on the brake has not kept them from being successful. The reality is, however, that the brake drags down their efficiency. If they took their foot off the brake, they could go faster using the same power—or they could use less power, less energy, to get the same speed. In other words, the brake does affect performance and efficiency. It’s just that they are powerful enough to absorb that inefficiency and still go fast until conditions change.
4- An Unbiased Point of View
People at the top are less likely to receive meaningful feedback, it gets lonely at the top. Moreover, blind spots are less obvious when things are going well. Executives tend to become almost strictly inward-looking, especially when they have demonstrated to high levels of success. These blind spots can become “the foot on the break of a high-performance car.” The coach provides an unbiased opinion and is only concerned with the CEO’s success as the leader of the company.
In my work globally, I have been surprised to see the low percentage of CEOs who have coaches. In fact, two-thirds of CEOs don’t receive any outside advice on their leadership skills, yet almost all would be receptive to suggestions from a coach. Those are the findings of a CEO survey conducted by Stanford University. In my experience, the most successful assignments have been with CEOs who seek a coach as a key competitive advantage to stay at the top of their game.
All of the coaching benefits can be tracked to awareness, change of behavior and perception, increasing efficiency and power and having an unbiased point of view. Those are the real benefits of coaching.