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What to Say to a CEO About Coaching

Jessica Bauer December 10, 2013

Since 2008 development activities specifically directed at executives have increased from 3.70% to 6.29% in 2012 (ASTD). Many organizations are finding that executives are not receiving the developmental opportunities they need to continue growing as leaders. In response, organizations have turned to executive coaching as a way to enhance executive’s knowledge, skills, and abilities.

The Lore Research institute found that although training was effective for executives, pairing training with coaching increases productivity by 88%, which is 66% higher than when training is used alone (Lore).  In fact, several studies indicate the perceptions of advancement in conflict management, work-life balance, relationship building, self-efficacy, goal clarity, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and team performance result from external coaching (Korn/Ferry, IJEBC, ICF).

At Dell, 90% of 400 executives receiving coaching were satisfied, which is a sentiment reflected across multiple companies in multiple industries; overall, favorability ratings for coaching lie anywhere from 75-95% (Lore, Korn/Ferry). There is even evidence that the effects of coaching go beyond personal performance. One study found that executives that received coaching scored higher on business results obtained for their organization than executives who did not have a coach (Lore). Although limited research exists on return of investment for coaching endeavors, the average estimated return in several studies is anywhere from 500%-1000% (Lore).

Coaches are typically former executives or experts who work in confidence as sounding boards and devil’s advocates to help executives:

-          Discuss difficult decisions

-          Expand perspectives

-          Strategize

-          Test solutions

-          Identify obstacles

-          Orient developmental action around goals, and

-          Create a professional support systems

In an interview, CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt explained that the best advice he ever received was to get a coach. He said, “The one thing people are never very good at is seeing people how others see them – a coach helps you do that.”

Coaches can work with executives on a variety of different goals including but not limited to:

-          Increasing self-awareness

-          Managing complex organizational change

-          Identifying stakeholder issues

-          Developing an identifiable leadership style

-          Taking advantage of personal and organizational opportunities

-          Balancing work and life demands

-          Handling conflict, and

-          Creating stronger relationships

Overall, executive coaching is a proven method of leadership development. Coaching has the power not only to produce individual results, but to effect the organization as a whole. Exploring coaching as a development opportunity is important to assure executives have the resources to grow in partnership with their organization.





References in order used:


Miller, L. (2013). ASTD’s 2013 State of the Industry report: workplace learning remains a key organizational investment.(LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT)(American Society for Training and Development)(Industry overview). T+D, (11). 40.

Wise, P. & Voss, L. (2002). The Case for Executive Coaching. Lore Research Institute.

De Meuse, K. & Dai, G. (2009). The Effectiveness of Executive Coaching: What we Can Learn From the Research Literature. Korn/Ferry Institute. insights/effectiveness-executive-coaching-what-we-can-learn-research-literature.

SHRM. (2013) Coaching in the Business Enviornment. Society for Human Resources Management.   

Moen, F., & Skaalvik, E. (2009). The Effect from Executive Coaching on Performance Psychology. International Journal Of Evidence Based Coaching & Mentoring, 7(2), 31-49.

Eric Schmidt Interview:


Other Reference Material:

Kello, J. (2013). Does every CEO need a coach?. Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 47(5), 22.

Adams, S. (2013). CEOs Just Want To Get Coached. Forbes.Com, 8.

Barner, R. (2011). Accelerating leadership development through executive coaching [electronic resource] : a guide for HR professionals and high-potential leaders / Robert Barner. San Francisco, Calif. : Pfeiffer, c2011 (Norwood, Mass. : [generator]).

Baek-Kyoo (Brian), J., Sushko, J. S., & McLean, G. N. (2012). Multiple Faces of Coaching: Manager-as-coach, Executive Coaching, and Formal Mentoring. Organization Development Journal, 30(1), 19-38.

Axmith, M. (2004). Executive coaching: A catalyst for personal growth and corporate change. Ivey Business Journal, 68(5), 1-5.

Posted by Jessica Bauer on December 12, 2013

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