While CEO coaching is nothing new to the world’s top business leaders, including the likes of Oprah Winfrey, many entrepreneurs find themselves wondering what executive coaches actually do.
On top of that, they’re wondering:
- If CEO coaching is really worth it;
- Whether or not there are alternatives to CEO coaching; and
- What makes a CEO coach qualified to run a coaching program.
We’re sharing exactly what high-performance CEO coaches do, as well as addressing many other concerns and curiosities surrounding coaching in general.
In the end, you’ll see why the world’s most successful CEOs take advantage of coaching in order to sustainably grow their businesses, become better leaders, and find fulfillment in the process!
Misconceptions & Truths About What Executive Coaches Do
These days, there are plenty of CEO coaching-related misconceptions out there. Given the abundance of online resources as well as misinformation, it’s no wonder that there are plenty of misconceptions to go around.
Although top-tier executive coaching programs are very straightforward, many chief executives regularly find themselves asking, “What exactly does a CEO coach do?”.
Nonetheless, some of the most common misconceptions about CEO coaching include:
- Coaches solely provide vague advice that you can get somewhere else for free;
- Coaches have a one-size-fits-all approach; and
- Coaching only adds more noise to your already noisy life.
While there are likely CEO coaches out there who fit these misconceptions quite well, that certainly can’t be said for top-tier coaches with a track record of success.
On the flip side, the truth about CEO coaches is that they work one-on-one with their clients to address business, leadership, and personal life concerns.
As a current or former CEOs themselves, top-tier coaches provide more than basic business and leadership advice that you can read about in a book. Rather, they’re focused on:
- Developing personalized playbooks for success;
- Drawing out one’s unique executive leadership qualities; and
- Promoting wellness and fulfillment during the process.
Moreover, executive coaches help CEOs address each of their concerns so that they’re able to manifest the kind of business and life that they’ve always dreamed of.
Regardless of where you’re at in your business journey, an executive coach will help you take both your business and overall life to the next level.
Here’s What a CEO Coach Does
In short, CEO coaches are about so much more than providing vague business advice that you can read online for free.
Instead, they’re all about creating curated coaching sessions for individual business leaders to take their businesses and lives to the next level.
Furthermore, CEO coaches do what they do so that other business leaders can manifest all of their life and business visions.
Here’s exactly how they do that and what you can expect when working with a coach:
Vision, Business Strategy, Business Goals
There are three fundamental pieces of a business, including :
- Business strategy
- Business goals
If you think that there’s much more to it than that, then you’ve probably been conditioned to believe that business success is more complex than what it really is.
Believe it or not, part of the reason why so many CEOs consistently fail to achieve their desired results is that they believe that success is more complicated than what it really is. As a result, they feel as if they’re in a constant state of fog or noise.
Thankfully, CEO coaches are there to clear the noise and fog so that you can focus on these key fundamentals.
Every Entrepreneur Needs a Clear Vision
First of all, every entrepreneur needs to have a clear vision of what they want their business to be like. Think of a vision as the experience that you’re trying to create through your business.
For example, co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs (who also happened to take advantage of CEO coaching), had a vision of a world empowered through technology. At first, he had no idea that he’d create products like the iPhone, but he did have a clear vision in his head of the world he wanted to create through his business. In the end and as a result of that vision, he became one of the world’s most influential business leaders.
If you’re like most CEOs, then you probably have a vision, but it’s likely not very clear.
However, if you want any hope of manifesting your vision, then it needs to be extremely clear. No clear vision = spinning your wheels without going anywhere.
That being said, a CEO coach’s first order of business is helping you clarify that vision.
Great Coaches Catch Methodology Blind Spots
Once you’ve clarified your vision, a coach will help you develop a solid strategy, or methodology, for bringing it to life.
You can think of the methodology as a blueprint for a house!
Developing a solid blueprint is like paving the path forward towards your vision. It’ll give you a clear idea of what exactly you need to do and what help you’ll need to reach that ultimate vision.
If you already have a blueprint, a coach will help identify blind spots or missed potential for opportunity in your thinking.
Setting Energy-Based Goals
Want to know why most CEOs set goals only to never accomplish them and feel extremely disappointed?
It’s because they grossly underestimate the amount of energy it takes to accomplish those goals.
Instead of setting you up for failure, coaches help you set realistic goals based on the amount of energy it takes to complete them. With each goal you accomplish, you fulfill another piece of the blueprint.
As a result, you check all the necessary boxes while feeling awesome doing it.
Leadership Development Beyond Leadership Skills
Believe it or not, you probably already have all the skills and knowledge you need to be successful. Seriously, you’re more than educated enough to accomplish whatever it is you want to accomplish! And the same can be said for most entrepreneurs out there.
Yet so many business owners consistently seek out new skills and information thinking that it’s what they need to reach that next level. They spend a seemingly endless amount of time taking courses, reading books, and listening to podcasts, but for some reason they don’t get their feet off of the ground.
While you certainly should continuously educate yourself and learn new skills, don’t think for a second that more skills and knowledge are the key to the success box!
If skills and knowledge were all that it takes to be a successful CEO, then there would be a whole lot more successful and fulfilled business owners out there.
That being said, top-tier CEO coaches aren’t simply there to teach you more leadership and business skills that you could read about in a book for free. Instead, they’re there to teach you how to apply your existing knowledge and skillset to solve problems, something that most other resources never teach!
The hard truth is that you probably don’t need more skills to reach that next level. Instead, you need a coach who empowers you to work with the goods that you already have!
Do you know why there are so many skilled and educated CEOs out there who simply can’t seem to find their way?
Simple- it’s because, while they’re very well educated, they’re not empowered. Empowerment is knowing what to do with the knowledge and skills that you already have. It’s about applying your educational base to solve problems.
*Enter the CEO coach*
Rather than simply arming you with more skills, coaches empower you to work with the skills you already have. More specifically, they:
- Instill unshakable confidence;
- Give you the authority you need to take control; and
- Clear the noise out of your life that’s preventing you from knowing what to do.
In the end, you realize that you already know what you need to do to achieve success, and that it’s a simple matter of stepping into your power.
The bottom line is that skills and knowledge mean nothing unless you know how to apply them to real-life business situations. Empowerment is the difference between simply having knowledge and knowing what to do with it.
Fear & Confidence Cannot Coexist
In order to empower yourself you should eliminate fear, because empowerment is rooted in confidence, and fear and confidence cannot coexist!
However, eliminating fear is less a matter of getting rid of it and more a matter of learning how to use it to your advantage.
The hard truth is that you’ll never completely get rid of fear because it’s a natural human instinct!
Regardless of what you see on social media, there is no such thing as a fearless entrepreneur. Rather, those who appear fearless simply know how to put fear into positive channels so that it doesn’t overcome them.
Like all other emotions, fear is simply energy you feel as a result of thinking fear-related thoughts. And like all other forms of energy, fear can’t be destroyed, but it can be transformed.
Thankfully, coaches who are either current or former executives themselves are skilled in the art of energy transformation. Just like all other skills, you can learn from a CEO coach how to transform fear into an advantage that works for you and not against you!
Unlocking Business Growth Opportunities
If you’re already a CEO, then you know that business success is rooted in big thinking. More specifically, business growth success is rooted in learning how to spot problems and come up with valuable opportunities to solve them!
And while you’re probably already a big thinker, a coach will push you to think even bigger.
The reason: the bigger you think, the wider your perspective gets, and the more growth opportunities you’ll see.
Think of it like this: Everyone has a lens through which they view life, and that lens completely shapes their perspective. When it comes to perspective, the best ones are the widest ones that allow you to zoom out and see the big picture. On the other hand, the worst perspectives are the ones that are so narrow that only allow you to see what’s directly in front of you.
That being said, coaches encourage CEOs to broaden their lens so that they have a greater perspective that allows them to easily spot growth opportunities.
Not only that, but having a broad perspective promotes personal fulfillment, especially when you’re going through a challenging time. With a broad perspective, you realize that while you might be going through tough times, those times are likely preceding an uphill climb.
You might think you’re a big thinker now, but just wait until you work with a coach!
Thinking Bigger Than Before
How many times has this happened to you: You’ve been sitting on what you believe is a potentially amazing business growth idea for a while now. Out of excitement, you decide to share the idea with a peer, thinking that they’ll reciprocate the excitement. However, instead of encouraging you to push forward, they hit you with a ‘That’ll never work’ or ‘Maybe you should start by thinking smaller.’
Fewer more damaging words have ever been spoken...
While there are certainly many small-minded individuals out there, there’s also a handful who not only think big, but encourage you to think even bigger! Of that handful of people, many of them are CEO coaches.
No great business or leader was created on small-minded ideas. Top-tier coaches know this, so they push you to think as big as possible. Then, they help you come up with solid plans to manifest those ideas.
A Deeper Understanding of Your Target Customers
Business growth comes down to sales growth, and sales growth comes down to understanding your target customers.
In addition to big thinking, coaches encourage their students to develop an even deeper understanding of their ideal potential customers. The way they do that is by emphasizing the importance of learning how to see life from other people’s perspectives, also known as stepping into somebody else’s shoes.
The moment you develop a deeper understanding of your customer base is the moment you unlock countless growth opportunities.
Unlocking Your Unique Leadership Style
The pressure to conform is and always has been pervasive. As humans, we’re biologically wired to want to fit in with larger groups, and sometimes being accepted by a group is a matter of conforming to their standards.
Although conformity might help you integrate into a certain social group, it certainly won’t help you become a better CEO!
Ultimately, the most effective CEOs are the ones who stay true to who they are as individuals. Instead of conforming, they use their uniqueness to their advantage.
Leaning into those unique personal factors is particularly important when it comes to being a leader. Typically, the most successful leaders are the ones who stay the truest to themselves, because they:
- Lean into their most innovative ideas;
- Are more effective communicators; and
- Radiate their most positive energy that lifts others up.
Fortunately, in a world that promotes conformity, coaches influence you to stand out. As a result, not only do their students become better leaders, but they tend to become the most fulfilled and successful business owners.
The Best CEOs Stay True to Their Unique Style
Conformity = trying to fit it into a box.
Even though business leaders aren’t meant to fit into boxes, they sometimes still try to squeeze themselves in!
Thankfully, CEO coaches are there to not just prevent you from conforming, but to draw out your best and most unique leadership qualities. Then, they hone in those unique qualities to develop them to their fullest extent.
In many cases, CEOs are so caught up in the day-to-day that they don’t even know what their best qualities are.
If so, a coach will help keep you out of the box while honing in on your most unique leadership qualities, so that you can be the most successful version of yourself.
Support Beyond Mentorship
One very common question that many entrepreneurs ask is, “I’ve already got a mentor, do I still need a CEO coach?”
In short: Yes!
While we aren’t hating on mentors, they are completely categorically different from coaches. One of the key differences between mentors and coaches is that coaches provide a unique kind of emotional support that a mentor could never provide.
Why? Because, unlike mentors, CEO coaches are either current or former CEOs themselves, therefore they can completely empathize with the emotional journey that you’re going through as a business owner.
On the other hand, mentors may or may not have experience as a CEO at all, therefore it’s really difficult for them to provide that same kind of empathetic support.
Regardless of what you see on social media or read about in books, successful business owners aren’t indestructible. Just like everyone else, they need support to perform at their very best, and coaches are perhaps the most supportive resource out there.
Having a Reliable Sounding Board
Again, just because somebody is a world-class CEO does not mean that they’re indestructible. Even people who seemingly have their life completely together are still prone to the same emotional challenges that everybody experiences.
Just like everybody else, CEOs sometimes just need somebody they can count on to act as a reliable sounding board. More specifically, the kind of person who they can talk to about whatever is weighing heavily on their mind.
While this is often labeled as ‘ranting’, it’s a normal human need to want to get certain feelings off of your chest.
Thankfully, the best coaches recognize this need and make themselves available as a reliable sounding board. Having stood in your shoes before, they understand the importance of getting things off of your chest so that you can get back to focusing on business and life success.
Increased Emotional Intelligence
People who have solid support systems tend to have higher levels of emotional intelligence. With emotional outlets that eliminate negative thoughts, they’re more conscious of themselves in their everyday activities.
While emotional intelligence involves several factors, one of the most important factors is self-awareness. Think about it: The fewer negative thoughts and feelings weighing you down, the better able you are to simply take a step back and assess yourself.
On top of that, with fewer things weighing on your mind, you are more likely to be aware of how others, particularly your team members, are feeling.
When you’ve got a great support system, you inevitably support yourself and those around you better!
While coaches certainly provide a stable shoulder to lean on, that doesn’t mean that they let standards slip. Don’t think for a second that support = leniency!
In addition to providing solid support, coaches keep students accountable for their actions and words. When it comes down to it, accountability is the highest level of support.
While having somebody hold you accountable for your words and actions might cause some short-term stinging, it keeps you on track for long-term success. Moreover, accountability is a matter of short-term pains for the sake of long-term triumph.
Additionally, coaches understand that as a CEO, the easiest way to lose people’s respect is by saying one thing and then doing another. Therefore, in order to keep you in a position worthy of respect, coaches encourage you to stay accountable for the things that you say you’re going to do.
The highest form of support is accountability, and highly-accountable CEOs are usually the most successful ones.
Final Thoughts on What CEO Coaches Do
There’s certainly something to be said about coaching when infamous business leaders, including co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, have all taken advantage of coaching throughout their careers!
The bottom line is that despite the many misconceptions about what CEO coaches do, they’re all about helping hungry entrepreneurs elevate their business and personal lives in order to fulfill their visions.
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