Stanford University Proves… Every CEO Benefits With A Coach

ceo-athletesELITE ATHLETES USE COACHES – and so should CEO’s!

“If you want to improve your business performance, go into training.” – Jack Groppel PH.D, Author of: The Corporate Athlete, How to Achieve Maximal Performance in Business and in Life According to the latest study from the Center for Leadership Development and Research at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, nearly two-thirds of todays CEOs do not receive on-going coaching or leadership advice from outside consultants.[i] Most CEOs say they would welcome an outside perspective to advance their personal development with 43 percent of the CEOs surveyed rating conflict management skills the area of most concern. Not too far behind were:

  • Sharing leadership (36 percent)
  • Listening and communication skills (both 32 percent)
  • Planning skills (25 percent)

The CEOs surveyed however didn’t see as much a need to work on their softer skills (skills that introduce others toward a persons ability to work with both etiquette and tact: i.e. the ability to relate to others regardless of statute or position) the “soft skills” of life were low on the CEO’s personal development list: compassion (18 percent), interpersonal and persuasion skills (both 14 percent), and motivation (11 percent). “One of my favorite illustrations to prove JUST HOW VITAL having strong soft skills is found by a CEO from a company that I coach abroad. You can read about it in my book: The 30 Second Solution page 110 (condensed)  ‘The CEO of the company sought me out to help him keep his new company thriving, increase revenue, and maintain balance in his life. At the time, he was overweight and was doing about $750,000 per year.  Every once in a while, certain fears would surface, thoughts that we all get concerning failure, such as: Did I do the right thing? Are we going to make it? How is this going to get done? What if this happens? What will they think of me?  One day I asked him this question: “Are you going to give life to those fears by telling all your employees what you are facing, or are you going to speak the solution to those fears? Your employees are not looking for a weak, frail, emotional basket case in a CEO! As a leader, rise up and speak the future of the company!” His reply was shocking. “You’re absolutely right Ron! I owe it to myself and the ones who invested in me!” Since then, this now award-winning CEO is down forty-seven pounds, and a billion-dollar company is considering acquiring his company!’  …Words matter, soft skills matter!!” – Coach Kardashian  

Business Physiology 

Evidently, nearly two-thirds of CEOs surveyed do not receive outside leadership counsel, but nearly all say they want advice. What’s stopping them? A CEO’s ability to share leadership and delegate is really about developing an organizational design that will optimize and raise the moral and strength of the entire team, encouraging from within. By creating an effective complementary leadership structure the CEO who can maximize the whole best will undoubtedly get the most lift. The CEOs who get this right with the correct people around them can excel tremendously. “Out of the many men and women that I have coached, the “soft skills” that mattered the most, separating the “stand out” CEO from the “average CEO” is a CEO’s spirit of humility. Time and time again when I come across a CEO who is wealthy and empowered, he must be equally wealthy in his mannerism towards others.  One who is cordial and kind- who prefers his staff and respects them, making them feel valued.” – Ron Kardashian HAVING “SOFT SKILLS” DOESN’T MAKE YOU SOFT – it makes you indispensable!  Putting into place this kind of complementary leadership structure goes hand in hand with coaching and developing people. What some consider “soft” skills, others consider interpersonal communication in its highest form. Leaving the CEO with a fantastic ability to “use language or thought internal to the communicator, and thus delivering a pertinent message through communication in the mind of the individual. A model that contains a sender, receiver, and feedback loop.”[ii]  This activity of speaking directly to your employee in a language they can clearly understand creates an indispensably strongly positioned CEO.  CAN YOU AFFORD TO TAKE THE TIME – what will it cost you if you don’t? A good CEO is a “friend”… a GREAT CEO is a coach – and all GREAT CEO’s need coaching! While many of societies most successful leaders are not naturally the best coaches, learning a few simple tools and frameworks for increasing effectiveness as a coach goes a long way to strengthening and developing the team and has a strong positive effect on retention. be excited about trying something new or doing something in a different way.

The challenge for the CEO is that coaching takes a lot of nuance, and nuances take time. The goal is to not make someone feel badly about themselves, but to have the person get up the next morning and be excited about trying something new or doing something in a different way with a fresh power , skill set and motivation. Is there a balance between soft and hard skills that CEOs should strive for? Conflict management is actually a combination of hard and soft skills, and is critical in the CEO role. Just about anything that gets to the CEO’s desk has an element of pleasing someone and making someone else unhappy. When the CEO avoids conflict, it can shut the whole organization down. Decisions don’t get made and problems fester, creating a domino effect of unproductive behaviors down the ladder. But conflict shouldn’t be avoided. A CEO who can manage and channel conflict in a constructive way can get to the root of issues, apply rigor to the team’s thinking, and, ultimately, drive the best outcomes, cultivating this skill can be a powerful tool to help the entire organization. When a CEO chooses to “go into training”, and become the “Corporate Athlete” that he/she needs to become in order to best relate to their team, clients, and partners – that CEO chooses to become one of the most elite and valuable members of a company – period.

[i] Also included in the study were: Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance and the Miles Group.
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