For many executives and business leaders, it’s lonely at the top.
The higher you climb, the more your teammates and colleagues are counting on you to make the right decisions, lead them well and secure a future for your company.
And the pressure is building at home, too. You want to be present for your family, contribute to your community and get to the gym every once in a while.
So it’s no surprise that in a recent study by Harvard Medical School, 96 percent of senior leaders reported feeling somewhat burned out, and a third described their burnout as extreme.
The internal and external expectations are too much for leaders to handle on their own. And in fact, we were never meant to do it alone, says leadership psychology expert and author Dr. Henry Cloud.
“There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman,” he writes in The Power of the Other. “Every great leader has opened up to someone who could meet a need, whatever that might have been.”
That's why many leaders are turning to an executive coach.
What are the Benefits of Executive Coaching?
Every leader needs someone in their corner.
You need someone who will support you through challenges and provide unbiased, outside insight.
You need someone you can trust, who believes in you and who will push you to grow.
For many leaders and executives, that person is an executive coach.
The right executive coach can give you a new perspective on your personal and professional life. They can help you identify what you want most and show you how to get there.
An executive coach can guide you to better manage your priorities and build the legacy you want to leave behind.
According to a 2013 Stanford survey, more than 51 percent of senior executives receive coaching or leadership advice from outside coaches or consultants. And 94 percent of those surveyed say they enjoy the process of receiving coaching and leadership advice.
Great leaders don’t go it alone. They seek outside advice and feedback to build up their leadership, their teams and their organizations.
Here are four key ways executive coaching can help you grow your leadership.
1. Executive Coaching Can Help Leaders Make Better Decisions
Everyone has biases. But when you don’t have anyone you can go to for honest, neutral feedback, those biases can start to have negative effects on your team and organization.
As a leader, you can become so emotionally attached to decisions you’ve made, projects you’ve undertaken and people you’ve worked with that you can’t see past your own perspective.
Your office can become an echo chamber.
But that’s where executive coaching comes in. An executive coach serves as a sounding board and a thought partner who doesn’t expect you to have all the answers.
A coach can provide the outside perspective that many leaders crave, says former Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) CEO Martin Daum, who currently serves as a member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and the head of the Daimler Trucks and the Daimler Buses Divisions.
Daum believes so strongly in the power of coaching that more than 120 of DTNA’s leaders are currently working with a Building Champions executive coach.
In a recent survey of DTNA’s leaders in coaching, 85 percent of respondents said coaching has helped them become a more effective leader and 75 percent said it helped them improve their work relationships.
“This is different than talking to your best friend,” Daum says. “A coach is someone who understands the business and the company, and who can give you an unbiased perspective to help you get even better results in your leadership and your life.”
A coach can help you think through your most important decisions and see situations with fresh eyes.
They can help you get clarity on your role, your vision, your plans and your people so that you can focus on your most important tasks, projects and objectives.
With a clear view of your priorities, you’ll be equipped to make better decisions for yourself, your team and your organization.
2. Executive Coaching Can Help Leaders Increase Their Influence
Many of us struggle to understand how our teams see us. We’re not sure why people follow us — or why they don’t.
While leaders often focus on tasks and objectives, true leadership is about mobilizing others.
With an executive coach, you can better understand how to navigate your most important duty: developing your people.
If your leadership is being limited by the way you talk to people, the way you care about people or the way you manage your schedule, an executive coach will help you recognize the impact that your actions and behaviors are having on those around you.
A coach has the unique ability to challenge directly while caring deeply about your well-being. They can illuminate the blind spots and limiting beliefs that could be holding you back and help you discover a better path forward.
With a renewed understanding of your influence, you can start building a better work environment and bringing out the best in others.
At farm and ranch supply outfitter Coastal, CEO Buzz Wheeler pursued executive coaching for the company’s leaders to maintain the company’s unique culture as it grew.
Since that time, Coastal has successfully implemented a new warehouse system that completely revamped the way the company manages its supply chain. In addition, the company has continued to expand its footprint in Oregon and Washington, opening larger, higher performing stores. Wheeler also added a new role of Chief Operating Officer and promoted a senior leader to this role to ensure that the company would be led with the same vision and focus that has brought the company this far.
This was due in part to Coastal’s commitment to developing its people through executive coaching, Wheeler says.
“We've been able to grow our people,” he says. “We have better managers and I think they listen better. I can honestly say, I don't think we'd be where we are today without it."
3. Executive Coaching Can Help Leaders Gain Confidence
When you’re trying to balance the demands coming from your boss, your colleagues, and even your family and friends, it’s easy to feel buried under the weight of everyone else’s expectations.
With so much on your plate, you don’t always have someone looking out for your well-being. And it can be difficult to recognize how to set boundaries and manage your priorities without feeling selfish.
An executive coach is your advocate — someone who’s wholeheartedly committed to your success. They can help you clarify your purpose and priorities and drive you back to these priorities in an unselfish way.
A coach is also a seasoned professional — someone who has sat in plenty of leadership seats and coached other leaders through similar challenges. Drawing wisdom from past successes and failures, they can help you navigate whatever life and leadership may throw at you.
California Cut Flower Commission CEO and Ambassador Kasey Cronquist experienced this firsthand. When he became CEO of the organization at age 30, he sought out an executive coach as a mentor who could help him develop his skills.
“[My coach] met me where I was at and we worked through things based on what I was going through,” Cronquist says. “He was an advocate for my success.”
With clear priorities and an experienced guide in your corner, you can approach a challenging situation with confidence, knowing that you have all the tools you need to handle it.
4. Executive Coaching Can Help Leaders Achieve the Results They Want
Many leaders want success in all aspects of life — not just the next promotion.
Joy Hoover is one of those leaders.
As the founder and president of the nonprofit The Cupcake Girls, Hoover is passionate about putting her husband and daughters first, while leading a successful organization.
But back in 2014, her life was a different story.
“I was working until I would burn out — to the point that I would end up in the hospital every year,” Hoover says. “I had no balance in my life.”
When she started working with an executive coach, Hoover discovered how to set boundaries and structure her life around her priorities. Now, her organization is serving more people than ever, and she’s also able to spend more time taking care of herself and her family.
By working with an executive coach, you can discover how to invest your time where it counts.
A coach will help you identify your priorities and develop a roadmap with clear action steps to become the leader you want to be at work, at home and in your community.
And as you work your plan, an executive coach will help you close the gap between intention and execution, so you can follow through on the commitments you’ve made.
Whether you’re looking to grow your business, improve your company culture or be more present with your family, a coach can help you realize what you want most in life and walk you through a tangible plan to achieve it.
Becoming a Better Leader
In more than 20 years of coaching executives and business leaders, our team at Building Champions has seen time and again the life-changing impact of executive coaching.
By working with an executive coach, you can increase your influence, make better decisions, lead with confidence and achieve the results you want.
Executive coaching can help you become the leader you want to be. Learn more about our executive coaching, CEO Mentor and business coaching programs by visiting our Coaching for Leaders page.