It doesn’t come as a surprise that entrepreneurs aren’t the easiest coaching candidates. But ask anyone who has experience with CEO coaching and they will tell you the experience has been transformative, both for their businesses and themselves. I know the impact coaching has had on me personally. I have been coached since I played tennis 7 days a week in high school. In my professional career, I have been coached since I was 24 and it has had an incredible impact on my business and my relationships.
To back up this anecdotal evidence, the Harvard Business Review just published a two-year long inquiry into the benefits executives receive by engaging the services of high-profile veteran leaders from outside their companies. https://hbr.org/2015/04/ceos-need-mentors-too
The HBR research found that when CEOs receive coaching, good outcomes follow. They surveyed 45 CEOs who have formal mentoring arrangements, and 71% said they were certain that company performance had improved as a result. Strong majorities reported that they were making better decisions (69%) and more capably fulfilling stakeholder expectations (76%). More than anything else, these CEOs credited coaches with helping them avoid costly mistakes and become proficient in their roles faster (84%).
So, if the benefits are great, how do you become Coachable?
- Be Connected
Ask for recommendations from executives and business owners who’ve been coached. Find someone who’s an expert in the areas where you or your company is struggling. Find somebody that resonates with you.
- Be Vulnerable
Many CEOs are concerned about losing themselves or their company direction as a result of too much external advice. But keep an open mind and realize this is a new experience that may be out of your comfort zone.
- Be Curious
Ask lots of questions around your issues and their experiences. They have likely been there before or have seen the issues several times with others.
- Be Committed
If you think you can’t afford the time away from the business, remember that meetings with your coach can range from weekly to monthly to periodically, based on need. Give yourself six to 12 months as a tryout period. The cost is often less than the cost of an Executive Assistant.