/ / Why Every CEO Needs A Coach (Even You)
/ / Why Every CEO Needs A Coach (Even You)

Why Every CEO Needs A Coach (Even You)

Every CEO needs a coach. I give every founder-CEO this piece of advice, and they’re always a little surprised – and sometimes insulted, too. I always follow up with a question: name one successful professional athlete that doesn’t have a coach (or a team of coaches) whose job it is to optimize their performance. Of course, they can’t name one. So, why is it so hard to connect the dots that a coach can make the critical difference between being mediocre and wildly successful? And why would you stubbornly press down the first path when the second is an option? Because we’re humans and we’re irrational. That said, if we know better, we can do better, so here’s my take on why a CEO Coach is a game changer for your success.

Top 3 Reasons To Hire an Executive Coach

When I was in the Air National Guard, I had a sergeant who had, let’s say, an unlikable leadership style. One day, we were having a conversation and I asked him a question that seemed obvious to me: “the reason we’re all here is to train to go to war. With your management style, would you want the people who report to you following you into the field with a gun?” The war of the marketplace is no different. You want to arm your people with skills and experience, and you want them pointing their energy in the right direction – towards your success. Here’s how an executive coach can help you make that happen.

  1. They’re there just for you

If you were to only read one point in this article, it should be this one, because it’s reason enough: an executive coach has no stake in your success, they hold no cards, and you do not have to put on a professional or diplomatic face for them. You can be brutally honest about your fear, insecurity and concerns for your company and your people in a way that you cannot with your board of directors, your executive team, your team members and partner vendors, or even your spouse. An executive coach advises and guides founders like you all day long, helping them realize their vulnerabilities and navigate through hard decisions and resolving errors in a confidential and low-risk setting. They’re a place to turn for professional advice without fear of signalling anything to stakeholders that would cause them concern or doubt in your abilities.  

  1. They’ll tell you what you don’t want to hear (and need to hear the most)

Your idea may have begun as the solo efforts of an entrepreneur, but, as you start to see some success and growth, you will suddenly find yourself surrounded by people. From your board of directors to investors to vendors and even your family and friends, it’s important to realize that these people are not objective; they’re stakeholders. And, as such, they’re pretty much useless when it comes to giving you the professional advice you need. This even applies to mentors, who often fall into a supportive, friendly and helpful role in your life and, while they can add enormous value, they typically are not able to distance themselves from your success sufficiently to provide advice that is truly objective or growth-oriented.

The fact is: you need to hear the truth, especially when it hurts.

  1. They’re trained to COACH

This may sound obvious, but it’s absolutely true: this is their job. They’re not doing it because they like you or care about you or because they want to profit off of your success. They’re here because they have education and training in this field and because you pay them to deliver that expertise to you. Take, for example, tennis star Andre Agassi’s work with life coach Tony Robbins, which he credits with his renewed confidence and success in the game following considerable obstacles. Robbins is not a tennis coach – he’s a life coach. Because many of Agassi’s challenges stemmed from factors outside of the tennis court, Robbins’ expertise with helping professionals from all walks of life paid off for the athlete, who rebounded from the setbacks and returned to peak performance. 

Just as you are an expert in your field, so are they. You can benefit richly from their ability to assess your personality and leadership style and employ proven strategies for focusing your strengths and mitigating your weaknesses. Leadership coaches are, by nature of their role, immersed in talented, successful leaders, and often facilitate executive peer forums. These groups give CEOs a diverse, intimate group of people to vet business obstacles and debate decisions with, helping you confidently further your leadership skills and, in a way, network with peers who understand the heavy load that comes with founding and nurturing a successful startup. When facilitated by a talented coach, they’re that much more powerful. 

Invest In Yourself

I’m willing to guess there isn’t a single area of your startup where you wouldn’t be willing to invest time and money to get the key expertise needed to ensure success. I’m here to tell you – as a multiple-time lone wolf, rebel, and founder-CEO who hates to rely on anyone else for anything – you need a coach. I need a coach. We all do. The fact is, CEOs and leaders who are willing to harness the power of an executive coach create better companies. Need more proof? Check out Trillion Dollar Coach by Bill Campbell, the Silicon Valley leadership coach who is credited with creating a trillion dollars in market value by helping visionaries like Steve Jobs, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt drive their companies to meteoric success. Would you consider investing in coaching for even a taste of their success? I would – and have. You should too. 

Enjoy the ride.