“If CEOs are willing to be coached and make changes based on coaching, it stands to reason that companies and boards should make this happen.”
–David F. Larcker
Most elite athletes have coaches. Most CEOs do not. Both elite athletes and business executives are expected to perform. But we don’t expect Olympians to successfully compete in Sochi without their coaches having spent many, many hours training, instructing, directing, and providing feedback to them. Why then should CEOs and senior executives be expected to go it alone?
A recent study conducted by Stanford University and The Miles Group surveyed over 200 CEOs, senior executives, and nonexecutive directors of companies of all sizes. The questions posed pertained to the respondents’ reception and perception of leadership advice. Most strikingly, the survey revealed that while almost two-thirds of CEOs do not currently receive executive coaching, nearly 100% of them would be receptive to it. Meritas has seen and understood this need since 2009, providing MBA-credentialed coaches who understand ROI and work with leaders to ensure leadership and sustained organizational impact.
Study co-authors Stanford Graduate School of Business James Irvin Miller Professor of Accounting David F. Larcker and The Miles Group CEO Stephen Miles note that there is overlap in what CEOs and board directors want from executive coaching: CEOs tend to be interested in developing their conflict management skills (43%), delegation, team building and mentoring skills, while board directors most commonly identified delegation and mentoring skills as the top areas for CEO growth. The survey revealed that CEOs are somewhat less interested in improving their intangible skills, such as motivation, persuasion, and empathy. At Meritas, our holistic approach is flexible and can target any and all coaching needs, on a short- or long-term basis as required, and at the individual, team, or organizational level. We understand that CEOs contend with multiple constituencies on a daily basis, and adapt and we tailor our coaching to address shifting challenges and address specific issues that affect strategy and performance.
Receiving coaching does not always equate to addressing a leader’s problem; often coaching is used when advising a leader on an issue he faces – shifting capital allocation, expanding the company internationally, or orchestrating an IPO, for example – and helping him lead more effectively. As the Stanford/Miles Group study shows, the stigma of executive coaching is diminishing; today, fewer see it as remedial, and more are likely to understand its value in professional development. The Meritas approach to assessing potential, framing leadership development objectives, setting well-defined goals, and tracking progress yields high-impact results for both the coachee and the organization’s bottom line.
Meritas’ High-Impact Executive Coaching can address a range of topics, including business performance, large-scale change and team leadership, executive presence, individual effectiveness, and influence and stakeholder management. Executive coaching provides a neutral, third-party assessment of performance, free of any corporate agenda, which will provide an executive with outside perspective to challenge his assumptions and assertions and help him assimilate outside data. Seeking out executive coaching is not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of a desire for continuous improvement and superior leadership.