The Super Bowl isn’t the only arena where billions of dollars are invested in coaching. According to Entrepreneur magazine, corporate America spends more than $1 billion each year investing in executive coaching for leaders. But why? What could CEOs and business owners derive from the advice and counsel of someone who couldn’t possibly know their business as well as they do? The answer is a considerable amount, as those companies who work with a business advisor, mentor or leadership coach are proven to be more productive, delivering greater results, and adapting to organizational shifts with greater resiliency.
Having the right business advisor can even boost your market performance, according to the American Management Association. The average Return On Investment (ROI) for companies investing in coaching is over seven times the initial investment, according to a global survey of coaching clients conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association Resource Center. For 25 percent of the companies that participated in the survey, the results were even greater, experiencing multiples of 10 to 49 times their investment. The more a company is reliant on people, the greater the marginal returns on an executive coaching investment.
It stands to reason, as top-level athletes, musicians and artists employ coaches to stay at the top of their professions. Their skills, including how to shoulder leadership, are developed over years, sometimes decades, of practice in their discipline. CEOs often work their way through daily challenges and operational difficulties, scattered across multiple disciplines with too many distractions to focus on just one thing. “Not all CEOs come to the table with the full set of skills they need to build their companies to last for the next decade,” reports Entrepreneur magazine. “The best executive coaching relationships resemble the relationship between a conductor and their train. The conductor (coach) can help keep the train (the executive) on the tracks.”
“Many CEOs find that having a business mentor or leadership coach can help them focus on their future, as well as the company’s, and how best to navigate the way forward,” said Dr. Kiu Leung, executive coaching and forums leader for Renaissance Executive Forums in Madison, Wisconsin. “One of the most appreciated values of a business mentor or leadership coach is the ability to help CEOs see beyond the day-to-day towards goals or milestones that are important both personally and professionally.”
Some of the most-recognized CEOs recommend finding a business mentor, including Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, who says the best advice he ever got was to get a coach. Microsoft chieftain Bill Gates agrees that everyone should have a coach. I’m sure Tom Brady and the whole New England Patriots team would agree that the right coach makes a difference.
Many question the value of a business mentor for those who have already reached the top. What could a business coach teach them that they don’t already know? “That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what a business coach does,” added Leung. “Coaches don’t have the same expertise as the CEOs they work with. We observe and interact, and find ways to motivate CEOs to be the best leader they can be, to choose the best solutions and strategies, not to just repeat what others have done successfully. There’s value in looking at situations with a different set of eyes, discussing other interpretations and analyzing problems with a trusted advisor who has a bit of distance.”
There are countless resources available to list the tips and advantages of working with an executive coach. Some of these resources preach about the process or longevity of a particular executive coaching program, but times are changing and many CEOs are looking for more personal, customized options.
Dr. Leung observed: “In smaller peer advisory groups and individual coaching programs, trusted relationships are key for many CEOs. If a coach or mentor is holding you accountable, trying to help you see around or through blind spots, it gets personal. The relationship and trust factors need to be taken into account.”
Leung’s programs serving business leaders in Madison, Wisconsin bring small groups of top executives from non-competing companies together to form peer advisory groups through which each member can gain fresh ideas and new insights. Business Owners, Presidents and CEOs join the groups to gain advice, support and insight from members who have faced the similar business and personal challenges. They also employ one-on-one Executive Coaching opportunities to focus on individual goals and objectives by exploring new ways to address challenges.
Business leaders who are interested in being part of an executive peer group should consider attending the upcoming executive briefing: Leading Madison Businesses to a Stronger 2018, to be held on February 15 at the Fluno Center.
Renaissance Executive Forums is the one place that Madison’s business leaders can convene to learn from each other and sharpen their CEO skill sets: leading their teams and their businesses to success, discussing confidential business solutions to current challenges, and exploring executive leadership on a whole new level. Invited members have access to executive business coaching and trusted peer advice forums, all led by nationally-recognized quality assurance and business process expert, Dr. Kiu Leung.