C-Level Coaching  Click here for executive mentoring and coaching.

Who needs an executive coach? Maybe you do-whether you know it or not.

FORTUNE magazine reports (July 23, 2001) that one reader said, "I went into the coaching experience kicking and screaming, at the insistence of my then-boss. And what an eye-opener it turned out to be. I won't even go into the grim details of bad management habits I had unthinkingly developed in my 14-year career up to that point--but I will say that since I was 'cured' by 12 weeks of pretty intense coaching, I've been promoted three times."

As the old saying goes, "It's lonely at the top." And that's why CEO coaching is a very useful tool for the person who carries the weight of responsibility for the organization. However, many CEO's think it is important to "go it alone" due to their belief in the myth of individualism: the cultural belief that everyone succeeds or fails on the basis of individual efforts and abilities. This assumption is so powerful that when an alternative view is suggested--success depends on our relationships with others as much as it does on ourselves--the usual reaction is denial. Denial of the role of relationships in the CEO's success preserves the self-enhancing illusion that we are masters of our own fates: we get all the credit for our successes.

The purpose of coaching is to provide the CEO of an organization with a sounding board to think through key issues. The relationship created with the executive coach is in addition to and does not replace existing relationships with the CEO's senior management, board members or other advisors. One advantage of the executive coaching relationship is that there are no 'strings attached' to conversations--as exist when the parties have on-going formal relationships and established roles that must be considered.

The typical coaching relationship contains two elements:

1. The CEO agrees to complete one or more confidential personal assessments for the executive coach. These assessments tools can provide information to the CEO on "Who am I?", "How do others see me?" and "How do I relate to others?". The personal assessment process helps the CEO discover how s/he impacts others and provides a solid beginning for the on-going coaching relationship.

2. Periodic phone conversations, as desired by the CEO, comprise the on-going executive coaching relationship. Usually, a minimum of one conversation per month is necessary to maintain a continuity of understanding of critical issues.

A successful coaching relationship should result in the CEO gaining critical insights into issues faced. These insights come not from specific advice on the content of an issue, but rather from a clarification of the CEO's thinking about the elements impacting the issue and its interconnections.


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