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Debunking the 5 Biggest Myths About Having a CEO Coach

Debunking the 5 Biggest Myths About Having a CEO Coach

The best medicine is preventative. And, in a sense, the same is true about CEO coaching.

It’s a myth that coaching is only for CEOs whose companies are on teetering on the brink. In fact, many of our most effective coach-client relationships we have started with successful CEOs who knew that being successful wasn’t good enough. Our CEOs want to be the best, and they want to leverage the experience and expertise of a coach who can help their companies keep growing.

Let’s dispell a couple more CEO coaching myths that could be standing between you and a proven path to BIG.


1. “CEO coaching is only for CEOs who need to ‘fix’ a bad trait that is impeding their ability to succeed.”


Tim Grover’s Relentless is a book we often recommend to CEOs. Grover is a professional trainer whose clients included Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dwayne Wade. 

The Score Takes Care of Itself by San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh is another must-read for CEOs. Does Joe Montana win four Super Bowls without Coach Walsh and his revolutionary West Coast offense?

Tom Brady had Bill Belichick.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton had John Wooden

Candace Parker had Pat Summitt.

Every one of these athletes were already high achievers when they started working with top coaches. They probably didn’t have many bad habits that needed fixing. And you could argue they’d still have been successful if they’d tuned out the world and just gone as far as their natural talent could take them.

But working with great coaches — and being coachable — turned these and so many other stars into superstars. Identifying and patching holes in their games was only one part of a much larger process of continual assessment, adjustment, and improvement.

You wouldn’t be CEO if you weren’t already good at your job. Working with a coach can take you and your business from good, to great, to BIG.


2. “CEO coaches only coach the person and not the business.”


As CEOs have become more open about and aware of the emotional side of leading, the coach-client relationship has certainly become more personal. Our clients consider their CEO coach to be a trusted confidant who can help them navigate those messy moments when personal and professional life intersect. 

But our proven methodology is about coaching both the CEO and the company to get the best possible results for the whole business. The Make BIG Happen System is a process for setting goals and tracking, measuring, and managing progress towards those goals every day.

Perhaps the most impactful example of how our coaches work with both CEOs and their companies is the annual planning process. Before company-wide annual meetings, coaches meet with the CEO, C-suite execs, and department leaders to establish what went right the year before, what went wrong, and what Huge, Outrageous Targets we’re going to set for the year ahead. Then our coaches actually facilitate that meeting so that the CEO can stay in the trenches with the rest of his or her employees. Just by stepping away from the podium, the CEO sends a powerful message: I’m accountable too, and we’re all in this together.


3. “You have to know my business to coach me effectively.”


For starters, whatever business you’re in, there’s a coach on our roster who’s led companies at the highest level and achieved BIG things.

But you’re right: all companies are different. A family-run company doesn’t have the same dynamics as a publicly traded Fortune 500 company, or a start-up that has more promise than profit.

The principles that drive business growth, however, are universal.

No matter where a company is on its journey to BIG, the CEO has to be able to answer four questions

  1. What do I want?
  2. What do I have to do to get what I want?
  3. What could get in the way?
  4. How do I hold myself accountable?

From this simple framework, a coach and a CEO can use our proprietary tools and best practices to build out a series of actionable, measurable processes that are unique to each company, and each vision. The CEO can then establish short-term benchmarks and assign responsibility for hitting them. And the coach will hold the CEO responsible for making the tough decisions that will continue to move the company forward.


4. “CEO coaching is too expensive.”


Only if you’re working with a coach who isn’t helping you achieve your goals and increase your growth trajectory.

Pretend you’re shopping on your office supplier’s website. You see a new item that says it will deliver an average EBITDA CAGR of 67.8% and an average revenue CAGR of 25.5% for businesses. What price tag would be too high for your company to achieve those results?

Well, those are the numbers that CEO Coaching International’s coaches deliver. Measured by EBITDA, our clients are growing at 4X the U.S. national rate.

When we started working with TaskUs in 2016, the company was generating $70 million in annual revenue. Today, it’s almost a billion-dollar company whose clients include Meta and Uber. 

NewDay USA, a mortgage lender serving U.S. military veterans, works with CEO Coaching International’s Sheldon Harris. With Sheldon’s help, NewDay has doubled its revenue and been named one of the top places to work in Baltimore. 

And at our 2022 Make BIG Happen Summit, Founder and CEO Mark Moses took the stage with three clients who had achieved billion-dollar exits and another group that had sold companies for over $100 million. 

When you work with CEO Coaching International, you’re investing in a system that can transform your business. If you commit to that system, then the return on your investment will speak for itself.


5. “I’m doing well and don’t need a coach.”


That’s the kind of thinking that puts the Blockbusters of the world out of business.

When you settle for “good enough,” what you’re really settling for is stagnation. And stagnant businesses eventually die. Their best employees get bored and leave for more dynamic competitors. Their customers don’t feel any real connection to them and shop someplace cheaper.

An experienced coach can open a CEO’s eyes to these kind of blind spots and help him or her see what’s truly possible for their companies. With that clarity of vision, CEOs start thinking BIG. And our coaches help them put the processes in place that will Make BIG Happen.

About CEO Coaching International

CEO Coaching International works with CEOs and their leadership teams to achieve extraordinary results quarter after quarter, year after year. Known globally for its success in coaching growth-focused entrepreneurs to meaningful exits, CEO Coaching International has coached more than 1,000 CEOs and entrepreneurs in more than 60 countries and 45 industries. The coaches at CEO Coaching International are former CEOs, presidents, or executives who have made BIG happen. The firm’s coaches have led double-digit sales and profit growth in businesses ranging in size from startups to over $10 billion, and many are founders that have led their companies through successful eight, nine, and ten-figure exits. Companies working with CEO Coaching International for two years or more have experienced an average EBITDA CAGR of 67.8% during their time as a client, nearly four times the U.S. average and a revenue CAGR of 25.5%, more than twice the U.S. average.

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