Coaching the CEO

As some of you may know, in the past few years I’ve chosen to practice coaching in groups or teams. After many years of individual coaching, I still saved some time for 1-on-1 sessions. And this year, looking back at individual coaching programmes, I’ve noticed that 90% of my clients are CEOs in multinational or romanian companies. That’s why I’ve decided to write a series of articles dedicated to them.
First of all, it’s important to see the context in which a CEO ‘operates’. Believe it or not, in most cases, it’s an european context, if not a global one. In brief, most companies I know are relocating their resources to places they consider to be the safest to exploit them and put constant pressure on the heads of their subsidiaries/units.
How can this context affect the organizational life of a CEO? Well, let’s look at some general facts:
– in the last 10 years, about 80% of the top companies have replaced their CEO – this is globally, at a local level the percentage is higher
– in the last 5 years, the upgrade to the CEO position has increased to more than 50% and the position is being held no more than 3 years.
The boards of directors and key-influencers are less and less tolerant with CEOs who perform lower than their expectations. The only way  to meet the constantly-increasing expectations of the people in the company, the business press and public opinion  is for the CEO to exceed his own promises and performance. After all, no matter how bright, talented, experienced and motivated the CEO is, he/she is also human. Surprisingly or not, some people tend to forget this small detail once in a while. And here is where I notice that my intervention as a coach works every time: these special beings find again their own limits and learn to re-distribute their energy and decisions in an ecologic manner – meaning they protect themselves, but without losing any important information or opportunity the market has to offer.
There is one more perspective, unique for every CEO I’ve worked with so far: he/she is the only person that operates within an evaluation void. Which makes the self-evaluation even harder. In this case, the only situation that the CEO can count on is the constant evaluation he/she receives from all of his/her colleagues. And in most cases this evaluation is an enormous cause of stress.
I’ve listed a long list of coaching topics, so far! I am going to add one more, well-known to most company managers: I am not surprised that a CEO is feeling more and more stressed out for the simple reason that from year to year the expectations and the level of performance are being constantly lifted. Everybody expects better results, higher profits, bigger market share – which brings along another ‘disaster’: everybody expects the CEO to look after himself. When I say this, I am thinking in matter of personal and professional recognition, which in most cases are hanging by a thread. The CEO is mostly alone, and this is what it’s called ‘executive lonliness’. But he doesn’t know one thing: he can have a trustworthy partner.
To close it up, I have only one phrase in mind:
„In case of side effects, please address to your …”

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