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Elevating Extraordinary: CEO Coaching Unlocks Potential

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Image of a CEO in a coaching session, gaining insights for leadership improvement and personal growth.
CEO in a coaching session

Doesn’t every CEO want to be considered a peak performer? In sports, names like Tom Brady, Simone Biles, Lebron James, and Roger Federer resonate with enduring excellence. They’ve reached the pinnacle of their professions, yet they share a common trait with each other and with us: the journey towards self-improvement never ends. But how do these athletes continue surpassing their best? The answer lies in an often-unsung role: the coach.

Steve Jobs had a coach. Elon Musk should have a coach. A CEO coach serves as a scaffold to elevate the performance of the CEO to new heights, to help them to avert breakdowns, to serve as a sounding board and sometimes to tell them what no one else has the courage to say.

CEOs on Coaching

"Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning."

- Benjamin Franklin

This rings true in the world of elite performance where even the best seek external insights into how they can improve. Coaches provide a fresh set of eyes, identifying blind spots that even top performers can't see. They’re the catalysts for the kind of reflection and growth that keeps the journey—both professional and personal—moving forward.

All of these iconic CEOs who, in their own way, changed the world, had a CEO Coach.

Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google:

"The best advice I ever got was to get a coach. Every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who's a coach. Somebody who can say, 'Is that what you really meant?' and give them perspective. The one thing people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really helps."

Bill Gates, co-Founder of Microsoft:

"Everyone needs a coach. It doesn't matter whether you're a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast, or a bridge player. We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve."

Steve Jobs, co-Founder of Apple Inc.:

"I think it's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page. A great coach helps you see those things."

Jeff Bezos, Founder and former CEO of Amazon:

"I think, without question, one of the best things I ever did was bring in an executive coach. I think everybody should have a coach. The thing about a coach is that coaching is about telling you what you don't want to hear, not what you want to hear. And I think everybody needs that.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook:

"The best advice I got was from Eric Schmidt at Google, who said, ‘Get a coach’. He said that everyone needs feedback, and everyone needs a coach. The coach doesn't have to be someone really high-level. It can be someone at your level who is more senior to you."

Beyond the Surface: The Tools for Transformation

Coaching isn’t just about surface-level observation. It’s a deep dive into behavioral patterns, mindset, habits and accountability. Coaches leverage tools like:

  • Inquiry: They listen and ask thought-provoking questions, challenging the CEO to reflect deeply on their actions and thought processes.

  • Mirroring: Coaches reflect the CEO’s behavior to help them see themselves from an outside perspective.

  • Non judgment: The CEO Coach is a consigliere, a trusted advisor, one to whom the CEO can be completely transparent and vulnerable.

In the series Billions, Wendy Rhoades, a psychiatrist by trade, combines an avid intellect with a keen understanding of human nature. She used those skills to help Bobby Axelrod build his hedge fund from the ground up and now works as the company's star in-house performance coach. Every CEO needs a Wendy Rhoades.

The Journey Forward: Embracing Continuous Growth

Coaching is a vehicle for transformation, a sacred partnership guiding you toward your unique contribution and destination. Remember, as a CEO, you serve as a role model. People are watching and looking to you for clues as to what they should think and how they should act. You are their scaffold supporting their growth and development.

Engaging a CEO Coach doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you are forward-looking, self-aware, and courageous enough to find out what you don’t know. And this is how you realize your potential and elevate the performance of those around you.

Engage with Your Growth: Your Next Step

Are you ready to unlock new levels of potential? To challenge the boundaries of what you believed possible? Your journey toward elevated growth begins with a single step: reaching out. Connect with a coach, engage with self-improvement communities online, or share your journey and insights below. Your path toward becoming the CEO your company needs you to be is a shared journey, and it’s yours to embark on.


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