Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and currently its Executive Chairman was interviewed a few years ago by Fortune Magazine. In part of that interview that is in the video, he recalled when a Board member told him he needed a coach. Eric’s first reaction was, “I don’t need a coach; I’m an established CEO, why do I need a coach…is something wrong?” The Board member assured him nothing was wrong by saying, “Everyone needs a coach.” The Board member was none other than John Doerr, the venture capitalist with Kleiner Perkins who has a well-established record of investing in companies with significant upside potential.
Bill Gates was quoted in a TED talk suggesting everyone needs a coach. Many, many other well-known and not so well-known leaders talk about the value received from working with a coach. Consider the following:
- According to the International Coaching Federation, in consultation with PriceWaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big 4 Accounting firms, the median coaching return on investment is 700%
- According to Jerome Abarband, VP Executive Resources at Citibank, “Even modest improvements can justify hiring a coach. An investment of $30,000 or so in an executive who has responsibility for tens of millions of dollars is a rounding error.”
- In a recent study, training alone improved leadership skills by 22%. When combined with Executive Coaching, improvement jumped to 77% (Fortune Magazine).
Refining and upping the leader’s game at the executive level will pay the biggest dividends – coaching is the catalyst in this transformation process. Good leaders develop people around them to be successful. Leaders need someone around them they can trust to tell the truth about their behavior. They need someone who can help them identify and deal with blind spots they have; and we all have blind spots. They rarely get that from anyone on the inside. Coaching is the most potent tool for inducing lasting personal change.
Coaching leads the executive to fresh perspectives to achieve their goals. A coach doesn’t give answers. They utilize a process enabling the client to discover deeper insight into their current situation thereby developing new perspectives, approaches and solutions to complex issues that are preventing them from significant achievement.