Beware of the CEO Who Doesn’t Need Coaching

Working with an executive coach can give invaluable support to entrepreneurs, sometimes making the difference between failure and success. When entrepreneurs are open-minded and enterprising enough to seek help, they can transcend any number of challenging scenarios, resulting in improvements in both their business and their quality of life. However, coaching doesn’t solve all business challenges, and some entrepreneurs are less open to coaching than others.Over the past 15 years, I’ve met quite a few CEOs who’ve claimed they didn’t need coaching. Experience has shown me that this can be a red flag — and that often these particular executives need coaching more than most. Here are a few examples of what I mean.Related: Clients Are Free to Ignore Your Advice But They Own the Consequences Meet Jim, a CEO who is larger than life. When I met him, he was poised, commanded a room with aplomb and was quite likeable. The company he ran was successful on paper, and being proud of this, he quoted the numbers and shared financials to prove it. Jim hired me to coach the seven members of his executive team. When we talked about each person on the team, he enumerated a list of behaviors that in his estimation needed correction. He said, “I want you to coach this one to stop bullying the others,” and “This one needs to stop judging people so quickly,” and “I want this one to stop complaining about how we do things.” While these aren’t rare or unreasonable coaching requests, I intuited that I’d serve Jim better if instead of working with his employees, I could coach him to lead more effectively. I told him I thought it would be most helpful if he learned to coach these executives himself, and understand how their particular tendencies and reactions to working together were communicating valuable information that he was ignoring.

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