Reaching Peak Performance as a CEO: Part Two

Honest and straight forward appraisal can be hard to find when you hold the office of CEO.

“It’s lonely at the top” is a frequently heard adage – and it’s true. In this challenging and rapidly changing environment, being a CEO can be overwhelming.

A good coach gives a CEO the opportunity to hold a mirror up to decisions and performance.

Executive coaching provides a dedicated time for reflection and thought on personal and business performance – rare in today’s busy world.

Reflection is often the catalyst for insight. Insight provokes new actions, which create change.

In Part One of my blog I talked about the growing international trend for senior CEOs to utilise executive coaching.

I’d like to share with you now some of the key benefits, and how to pick the right coach for you.

Key benefits of executive coaching

The executive coaching process is challenging and rewarding and requires commitment, honesty and humility.

It is not directive, it doesn’t pass judgement on you. There’s no agenda other than your own.

Focus areas frequently requested by CEOs are leadership development, relationship management, performance improvement and achieving balance in life.

It is also particularly effective with “soft” relationship-building skills, including self-disclosure, inquiry, and listening.

A great coach will enable you to achieve tangible results in these areas.

Key benefits of facilitated executive coaching include:

  • Self-directed behavioural change
  • Self-assessment of your performance
  • Embedding accountability and continual improvement into personal performance
  • Measurable, positive personal and professional growth.
  • It can also be a useful tool to add to your personal skill set to enable you to “coach” your own leadership and management team.

How to find the best coach for each CEO’s individual needs

For it to work well, trust is the basis of any effective coaching relationship, with confidentiality a non-negotiable.

The head of our executive support team at Vantage Performance, Susan Morgan, advises CEOs to take their time selecting the right coach for you to ensure a genuine fit and connection before committing to a program.

“And above all,” Susan advises, “remember a healthy coaching partnership does not build dependence on the coach”.

The best coaches will use diagnostic techniques and skilful challenge to facilitate new insights into the impact of behaviours, habits and choices.

This is achieved through goal setting, identification of strategies and implementation of action plans.

For those of you who still believe coaches are for poor performers or underperformers I ask you this: show me one elite sportsman who would compete without the support of a coach.

Why should you be any different?

Michael Fingland, Director & CEO of national business transformation and turnaround firm Vantage Performance, was awarded Australasian Turnaround Professional of the Year 2011 by the Turnaround Management Association, for his work with fast growth and troubled companies.

Susan Morgan was a former Director of Vantage Performance and specialised in executive decision support including strategic planning, facilitation, transition and coaching.

This blog is adapted from a column by Michael Fingland that first appeared in The CEO Magazine September 2012 edition.


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