CEO Coaching

CEO Coaching – Moving from Surviving to Thriving

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What does a CEO Coach do?

What does a CEO Coach do? A CEO Coach has three roles in supporting their Executive clients. The first role is to coach the CEO on specific areas the CEO has chosen they wish to develop. Second is to provide a sounding board for the CEO from outside the business. Lastly, a CEO Coach will help hold the CEO accountable to the plans they make.

CEO Coaching

There is little doubt that the world’s economy has been hit hard by the stormy seas of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.  Many business leaders rightly switched to survival mode as they struggled to keep their “ships” above water. 

Governments and Economists are all positive on life after lockdown. How accurate they will be remains to be seen, but either way, businesses cannot function in “survival mode” indefinitely if they are seeking to grow. 

Kick starting your business out of “survival mode” and into “thrive mode” is no easy task and should not be underestimated. The “safe” option of remaining in Survival mode has as many risks as going for growth.

If your business has survived thus far, there are typically three things you have focused on:

Finance – your Accountant has worked with you to successfully cut any excess cost’s out of your business.  What were previously seen as simple expenses are now seen as a luxury. 

You have reduced your aged debtor list and negotiated extended payment terms to ease cash flow concerns and all the other good things Accountants advise us.

Operations – you have figured out how to deliver the same product or service faster and cheaper than you did before.  Your operational efficiencies are at an all-time high.

Staff – you have had to do the worst thing any business leader has to do; let good people go.  Hopefully that bitter pill was worth swallowing to save the other people in the business.

Having completed this exercise your business is probably now safe like a ship in the harbour.  The problem however with all these improvements, is that usually, they can only be done once. 

After the first time they are no longer efficiencies, they are cutbacks and cutbacks do not help you grow your business.

The only way to kick start your business is with Sales & Marketing, but for most businesses this is the most difficult nut to crack.  You are groaning at the mere thought of throwing more money where in the past you have been disappointed as follows:

Sales – you have hired numerous “Sales Studs” who turned into “Sales Duds”.  They said they were Business Development, but all they did was try to look after your existing customers.  They brought in some low hanging fruit from their black book which quickly dried up. 

They didn’t complete your CRM, but they did complete their expense forms, albeit late.  They cost you a lot of money in recruitment fees and salaries, and you couldn’t wait to get rid of them.

Marketing – you needed sales leads so you could go out and sell and they didn’t deliver.  When questioned they told you they were creating “Brand Awareness” – all good, but only if you have enough revenue coming in to keep the lights on.

Then you tried Social Media and like all marketing, some of it worked and some of it didn’t, but you’re not sure what.  At the end however, you still had the bill for everything.

So when the economy was down it was an easy decision not to invest in the lottery that was Sales & Marketing. 

The economy will change for the better, but after all this, most business leaders are going to think twice about investing more of their time, energy and hard-earned money on Sales & Marketing. 

The good news is your are not alone, as most Leadership teams struggle to break out of this cycle.  More often than not, even the businesses who are thriving have experienced the same or similar challenges as you. 

The bad news is unless your business has an effective Sales & Marketing function, your business growth will be limited if at all.

CEO Coaching
CEO Coaching

Driving New Revenue

Profitable sales are the Ship’s Sails that will drive your Business Ship out of its current safe Harbour of survival, into the high seas you need to cross to reach your business goals. 

As the CEO, you lead the ship, and when the seas are rough it’s easy to stay safe in the “harbour”, but ships that stay in the harbour never go anywhere. It’s not until you leave harbour and sail out past sight of land, that you will reach your business goals.

Out in the ocean things are very different and can change quickly like the weather does. In business taking measured risk and making change gives you a platform to constantly evolve and keep your brand ahead of the pack.

The majority of CEO’s come from either a Technical, Operational or Finance background and they are well drilled in each of these areas. Sales however, is different, it gets limited coverage in Business Schools and to many on the outside, can appear like a dark art.

We provide the beacons for you to follow and help you navigate your business into profitable and sustainable growth.

When you find yourself needing to make changes, CEO coaching is a great way to test your ideas, provide different insights and give you a sounding board to move forward.

Here’s a guide into other benefits of CEO Coaching you might not have considered.

CEO Coaching Isn’t Educating

CEO coaching isn’t about telling you what to do. If you run a successful business, you know the majority of what’s needed.

Coaching is there to support you in reaching your goals, and allowing you to build on your existing strengths and performance for the benefit of the business.

The intention of coaching is to provide a level of support, a sounding board and new ideas. There will be times, of course, when these areas cross over.

Ideally a good CEO coach will help you answer your own questions.

Olympic athletes are the best at their sport, but they still have coaches to support them, hold them accountable and keep them in a positive place mentally.

The coach isn’t better than them at the sport, but they have knowledge, experience and an understanding of how to get the best out of people, whoever they are.

Like sports people Psychology can have a big impact on your results and performance. Whilst most CEO’s have a positive mindset they can often have blind spots around communication skills.

The way you communicate can impact those around you and having the self awareness of this can be a good starting place.

Coaching provides an accountability mechanism where you can check in every month and ensure progress towards real results.

Each session provides an opportunity to discuss the challenges you are facing and identify key objectives moving forward.

We use two main types of coaching dependant on the circumstances. The first is the GROW coaching model based on Goals, Reality, Options and Will.

The second is directional coaching whereby we provide new sales systems and models that the CEO can takeaway and action immediately.

CEO Coaching Improves Employee Trust & Engagement

A common misconception among CEO’s is that by attending CEO coaching, they are presenting a negative image of themselves and exposing their weaknesses.

The reality is that 79% of Executives choose to get coaching and Chairmen and Boards readily accept openness to coaching as the sign of a good leader.

Studies show that all team members often embrace executive and managerial coaching.
Accepting that everyone has their weaknesses and exuding a willingness to learn is a critical trait in building trust and engagement within your team.

Further, CEO coaching shows that your company is willing to invest its time and money in developing the business as a whole, strengthening its position in today’s climate.

Often after undergoing coaching CEO’s find that they are better equipped to become a coach to their team.

As the CEO you will have ultimate power and authority over your employees. Unfortunately that power serves no purpose unless you can engage those around you.

Through coaching CEO’s develop better listening and questioning skills and become better communicators all round.

In many good working relationships, professionals see their boss as their mentor, guiding them through the development process and watching them grow into successful professionals.

Creating a Positive Work Culture

Culture is one of the most powerful tools a CEO has to create change within an organisation. As a tool culture can fix many problems, however, creating a positive work culture is an ongoing project that constantly needs attention.

Invariably culture cascades down from the CEO’s office. If the CEO turns up late for meetings other people will start turning up late. If the CEO lets meetings run over then every meeting will run over.

It’s exactly because everyone takes their lead from the CEO that it makes the job so difficult. Your values, ethics and judgement needs to be ten steps ahead of everyone, and one little slip will reverberate throughout the organisation.

Learn Things About Yourself You Never Knew

Many CEO’s have been promoted internally because they have excelled in some way within their company. The role of CEO Coaching is to support them in their new role which is inevitably different from their previous one.

This isn’t just about skills and experience, it could be about managing old relationships, board members, conflicts or strategy. Things they previously may have never had to deal with.

The right Exec coach will support you and open your mind to new ideas.

CEO coaching isn’t always about developing your weak areas. It is also about helping acknowledge your strengths as a CEO, and how you can apply those strengths to build your business further.

Other common areas of coaching Executives often choose include, developing their Self Awareness and Emotional Intelligence. Both these skills have a huge impact on the overall leadership style of the CEO which is why they are so important.

Planning Company Sales Growth

Planning for sales growth is often seen as boring and getting in the way of getting the real work done. However, we have learned over the years without planning, we become reactive and achieve much less of the results we would like to.

A well though out plan allows both the company and the individual to achieve mutually beneficial results orientated goals.

Any form of planning has to be dynamic and change if circumstances dictate. Identifying specific problems and ways to overcome those problems would all be included in this.

Whilst no two clients are the same we often come across similar types of problems that are common.

Although we may have encountered the same types of problems before, in many cases the solution can be different based on the context and circumstances.

We’re very conscious that there is no “one size fits all” approach that works.

Your Personal Life Will Improve

When you are the best version of yourself, that improves everyone’s well-being at work but also at home. Our clients report increases in their personal morale, increases in efficiency and more respect from their team as they see the changes and benefit from them.

It’s no surprise that studies show correlations between staff morale and performance.

The benefits are more often than not echoed in the personal lives too. Every professional has moments in their personal life that will test their ability to engage in successful work-life balance.

It’s more crucial than ever in today’s society that CEO’s look after not only their team but their home-life and well-being.

Execs report that they have more quality time to dedicate to friends and family, as our coaches help them combine their crucial work goals with equally important life goals.

Leadership Skills

Leadership comes in many different forms, but in business the greatest impact you can have is on your employees. Yes, you can impact customers but invariably this is achieved by empowering your team.

Making better decisions, especially under pressure can be difficult, but tough times produce great leaders as they provide an opportunity to impact others in an even greater way.

Embracing your goals, developing your vision, and executing on productivity are essential for personal leadership. Aligning these goals with your organisations goals, and that of your internal and external stakeholders is much more powerful.

Everyone has their own personal style of Leadership which is important, however with each style comes differences. Part of your Exec coaches job is to help you identify any blind spots and develop coping strategies for them.

Employee feedback is an essential component of leadership development and owning the feedback rather than pushing back on it can be easier said than done.

Your team will see that, by igniting the spark in your own talent and leadership skills, you have faith in them. In turn, this will lead them down a path to becoming better leaders themselves.

Often, this is one of the most satisfying and rewarding elements in your role as CEO.

The reality is for nearly every business is that Lockdown has changed sales forever. What worked previously in sales and marketing might not work now. What hasn’t changed is that sales drives revenues that drive growth. No sales means no growth.

You are the Captain of your ship and it’s your responsibility to navigate the difficult seas of business.  Staying in the harbour will not get you anywhere.

Now you’ve seen how important it is to keep up to date and embrace CEO coaching, click here and see what we can do for you today.

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Author Bio

Iain Swanston has spent over 30 years in B2B sales selling, training and leading teams both domestically and internationally.  In addition he serves as an Associate at Strathclyde University Business School where he has delivered the sales content for the Masters in Entrepreneurship since 2015.

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