This article from Forbes magazine came to me via my friends at Transform, a Maryland consulting firm. The title got my attention because it includes two of my practice areas: executive coaching and leadership. I’ve been coaching executives on one topic or another (usually their own leadership skills) for many years. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some really talented leaders, who wanted to be even better. Others who needed help badly wouldn’t even consider the prospect of coaching.
So why don’t CEOs want executive coaching?
The article answers that question. It points to five reasons. They:
* Believe they don’t need one.
* Are happy with the results they are getting.
* Remain satisfied with the skills they have.
* Are do-it-yourselfers; they think they can figure it out by themselves.
* Believe that engaging a coach is a sign of weakness rather than a strength.
I would add one more: in my experience, some are afraid of the assessment that is often a part of a coaching process (it’s always a part of mine). Such an assessment will identify both their strengths and needs. Some are uncomfortable at the prospect of being measured by someone like me, who has seen thousands of assessment results reports. They’re afraid they simply won’t “measure up”.
The article goes on to talk about the returns on investment in executive coaching. The authors report that “the mean Return on Investment in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, and over a quarter of coaching clients reported a stunning ROI of 10 to 49 times the cost.” The italics are mine.
I use a coaching process that measures growth in the executive being coaches, using pre- and post-assessment. I have a formula for determining the ROI for the coaching process based on that figure. CEO’s live and die by ROI. Most would kill for an ROI of 7-49 times the cost of any investment.
So maybe the question becomes a different one: how can CEO’s (or any senior leader) afford not to have a coach?