What is Executive Coaching?

Executive Coaching thumbnail

CEOs often feel overwhelmed and behind in getting everything done and getting it done well. That’s where executive coaching comes in.

Executive coaching helps a CEO to identify and achieve their goals, both professional and personal. Through regular check-ins, goal setting, and feedback, the coach will help the CEO stay on track and achieve the highest levels of performance.

Executive coaching can be an invaluable tool for any CEO who wants to optimize their performance. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or know that you could perform at a higher level, executive coaching is probably right for you.

When to Find an Executive Coach

A coach will be a great asset to any CEO, helping them to refine their skills and knowledge, set and achieve goals, and navigate challenges. When is the best time to find a coach?

There are a few key indicators that it may be time to find an executive or CEO coach.

First, if you’re feeling stuck, and not growing, a coach will  identify where you need improvement and develop a plan for success. They will help you become self-aware and more interested in making changes to improve your performance.

Second, if you’re recently promoted to CEO or starting a new business, a coach will provide a framework for CEO success. It’s lonely at the top, and you’ll need what a coach has to offer.

Finally, if you’re looking for someone to hold you accountable and keep you on track, a coach will make sure you’re doing what you’ve committed to. Instead of being overwhelmed with everything you need to do, a coach will help you get the most important things done, and delegate or de-prioritize the rest.

Regardless of how good you are today, a coach will enable to become even better.

How to Know if You Need an Executive Coach

Do you need a coach when you view yourself as already successful? Even the most successful people in the world have coaches. Why? Because a coach can help you see things that you can’t see. They will point out your blind spots.

A coach will act as a sounding board, identify areas for personal improvement and develop a plan for taking your performance to the next level.

When you’re consider a coach, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I feel like I’m stuck, and not growing the way I’d like to?
  • Do I keep making the same mistakes, and not learning from them?
  • Do I procrastinate or avoid certain tasks?
  • Do I have trouble delegating or managing others?
  • Do I get defensive when receiving feedback?
  • Do I struggle to get my team to perform at their best so I can fully delegate to them?
  • Do I worry about burning myself out?

Are you interested in addressing any issues on this list? Don’t wait until things are falling apart to seek a way to improve. You want to be continually improving.

A coach provides support and guidance when things are going well, and they will be a lifeline when things get tough.

How Executive Coaching Can Benefit You

As companies seek to improve the performance of their leaders, executive coaching has proven effective. Three key benefits you will get are improved communication, greater self-awareness, and better decision-making.

Improved communication: In order to be an effective leader, it is essential to ensure that your communications create clear understanding and alignment. Executive coaching can help leaders hone their communication skills, whether it is giving a presentation to the board or simply having a difficult conversation with a direct report.

Greater self-awareness: the most successful leaders are those who have a deep understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Executive coaching will help leaders gain greater insight into themselves, which will lead to greater effectiveness as a leader.

Better decision-making: Leaders must constantly make decisions that will affect not only themselves but also their teams and organizations. Executive coaching will help leaders develop the critical thinking skills needed to make sound decisions in challenging situations.

Take Their Word for It

My CEOs have become better CEOs as a result of my coaching. Here’s what some of them have accomplished:

Raising Money

Janice was worried about her job. We reframed her relationship with the board to enable her to raise well over $100M.

Scaling Your Company

Meilin was focused on scaling her company’s growth. We worked together to develop corporate values that enabled her to instill her beliefs into every member of the team. Meilin’s company is now growing by over 100%.

Dealing with Overwhelm

Sean had no work-life balance. He constantly felt overwhelmed. Together, we built a world-class management team and delegated to this team. Now, his company has entered a new growth phase and he has time for himself and his family.

A Direct Report who is a Real Challenge to Manage

Viraj had a high-performing leader who was toxic to the rest of the organization. Even though this person was adding tremendous value within their function, they were bringing others down. We worked to remove this person. The company thrived after this move.

Achieving Product-Market Fit

Olivia struggled to achieve fit for the product she had built. We stepped back to refine both the target market and the whole product being delivered. Now, she’s focused on going to market, and the company is growing again.

Managing Your Board of Directors

Wilson was a founder CEO who suddenly found himself as a minority shareholder. The board was intimidating to him. We reframed Wilson’s relationship with the board so they could add more value for him and the company. Now the board is helping out in ways Wilson never imagined.

Crisis Management

Darius lost his head of sales and almost panicked. This person was quite valuable, and Darius didn’t know what to do. We quickly put together a plan to address the loss of this key individual. Once Darius got out of panic mode, he became the highly effective CEO the company needed him to be.

Executive coaching is a powerful tool for leaders who are looking to unlock their full potential. By improving communication, gaining greater self-awareness, and honing decision-making skills, executive coaching will help leaders take their organizations to the next level.

Investing in executive coaching is an investment in your leadership growth – one that will pay off both personally and professionally. It’s time to invest in yourself as a leader. Talk to a coach now.

Contact an Experienced CEO Coach Today

My name is Glenn Gow, CEO Coach. I love coaching CEOs and want to help make you an even better CEO. Let’s decide if we are a fit for each other. Schedule a time to talk with me at calendly.com/glenngow. I look forward to speaking with you soon.


Take Their Word For It

What Glenn’s Clients are Saying…


Janice Raises Over $100M for Her Company

Janice Raises Over $100M for Her Company

As one of the founders, Janice had created the perfect solution in an exploding market. As her CEO Coach, we worked very hard to create a scalable business model that significantly accelerated revenue growth. This model included geographic expansion, the addition of new product offerings, and stickiness to create repeat business.

This triple revenue-acceleration model not only worked but it attracted the interest of growth investors.

But a growth model wasn't enough. We needed to help Janice become a better CEO. Specifically, we worked on how to manage her board, so their faith in her as the CEO grew as time went on.

For some CEOs, the board can be intimidating. At first, it was for Janice as well. We worked on how to manage the board and get the most out of the board. Ultimately, we turned the board into a strong set of advisors and advocates for Janice as the CEO.

The support and confidence of the existing board was a critical factor in enabling her to raise well over $100M in the next round, increasing the valuation by more than $600M.

Darren Raises His First $3 Million

Darren Raises His First $3 Million

My CEO client (Darren) was starting a company in a new category. He was focused on raising capital for his business and wanted help crafting his story. Darren is a brilliant CEO, yet he realized he could produce a better story with help from someone who has created successful fundraising stories many times.

When we started working together, his story was overly complex, difficult for investors to understand, and not as strong as it could have been. Together we built a story about the tremendous value the company was creating. We used historical precedent to bolster the vision and mission. We gave investors confidence in the founders. We proved that the company could scale.

Investors are pattern-matchers. They look for the patterns that tell them this opportunity is like other opportunities they’ve seen, giving them a strong belief in the potential ROI. Together, Darren and I constructed a winning story that helped key investors see the patterns of success.

According to Darren, “Glenn gave me the perspective and confidence I needed to succeed.” Darren raised $3 million for his startup company in his first round. Darren has continued to successfully raise money in later rounds as well.

Meilin Creates A Scaling Organization

Meilin Creates A Scaling Organization

Meilin was always asking, "How can I help my company grow faster?" She was successful by most measures but had higher growth ambitions.

As her CEO Coach, I helped focus her efforts and energies on an often-overlooked area for many CEOs. This area enables scaling and enables the CEO to manage their team more effectively -- values.

Most CEOs have corporate values but don't use them as the ultimate way to install a belief system - a way for every employee to focus on the most critical issues for the company.

Meilin and I worked on making the values core to the thinking and speaking of the management team. Once the management team adopted these values and started speaking about them in their regular communications, we knew that we were on our way to ensuring that every employee “lived” the values.

While values are not the only thing a company needs to grow fast, they are critical to its success. Meilin's company is now growing over 100%.

Sean Gets It All Done

Sean Gets It All Done

As CEO, Sean had no work-life balance, and he was struggling with the overwhelming responsibilities of being a CEO. One of the biggest challenges of any CEO is to get everything done. The list of critical items seems to grow every day.

As his CEO coach (and as a former CEO), I recognized the stress he was under. That level of stress is no fun. To help Sean become a better CEO, I focused him on delegation, talent development, and balance.

First, we focused on developing Sean's delegation skills. Delegation is the "8th wonder of the world." When you make it work, your workload diminishes, and the company performs at a higher level. As Sean became better at delegating, he also began to see strengths and weaknesses in his leadership team from a different perspective.

The next step was to refresh his leadership team. We created a plan to either develop the ones that could step it up and perform better or find new leadership team members for those that couldn't help the company grow.

Finally, we worked on creating a way of living for Sean that provided him some balance. I tell my CEOs to "put their oxygen mask on first." If a CEO wants to perform at the highest level, they need to take care of themselves first.

Now that Sean has a much better leadership team, he has become a master delegator. By delegating many of the activities he had taken on before, he now has much more time to take care of himself.

Sean's company has now entered a new growth phase. More importantly, he is enjoying his work a lot more and his life a lot more.

Viraj Fires His “Best” Employee

Viraj Fires His “Best” Employee

As a CEO, Viraj was focused on employee retention. He recognized the value of keeping high-performing employees and the high cost of turnover.

One of Viraj's direct reports was one of his "best" employees. This person consistently out-performed against their targets. Within their function, they were a rock star.

However, this same person was toxic to the rest of the organization. They constantly argued with others, and they made most others feel bad about themselves. Viraj found he was spending a great deal of time managing around the toxicity created by this employee.

Viraj valued this person's contributions within their function, and he also really hated the idea of employee turnover. As a result, Viraj put up with this person and continued to work around the toxicity issue.

As Viraj's CEO Coach, I helped him understand that team alignment and team cohesion are critical factors to help the company grow. We agreed that preventing employee turnover is a good goal, but not at the expense of creating a well-functioning team.

Viraj wanted to become a better CEO, and he knew what he had to do. While it was difficult, he decided to fire the person he once thought was his "best" employee.

The first thing he heard from the rest of his direct reports was, "What took you so long?"

Olivia Finds Product-Market Fit

Olivia Finds Product-Market Fit

Olivia, my CEO client, is a product genius. She is highly creative, an excellent problem-solver, and knows how to get products out the door on time.

Olivia raised a great deal of money based on her product ideas and some early successes. The challenge was that her company wasn't growing fast enough. The pressure from the investors was building, and she was worried.

Raising a lot of money early is a blessing and a curse. The curse is that Olivia delivered her product too quickly. She delivered it, making too many assumptions about the market she was serving. When the product was released, it was a good fit but not a great fit.

Olivia was concerned about the time and dollars it would take to conduct research and test product-market fit in multiple market segments. We created a partnering strategy that enabled us to test multiple new market segments in a short time.

Olivia has found multiple market segments that are a fit for the product. Now that she has achieved product-market fit, the strategy is to "go big" on the go-to-market. And her company is taking off.

Wilson Turns the Board Around

Wilson Turns the Board Around

Wilson was a first-time CEO. The company was doing well, but not quite as well as the board had hoped. Wilson found himself uncomfortable as a minority shareholder working with a board that could fire him if he didn't perform.

Wilson wanted to know how to manage a Board of Directors. The first step was to acknowledge that a board has different measures of success than the CEO. That means there will naturally be tension. The second step was to dig in to deeply understand what the key drivers are for each board member.

Based on this information, Wilson can now address his needs, the company's needs, and the board's needs. That was the first breakthrough.

Once he knew how to address the needs of the board, we turned to address his needs. As Wilson's CEO Coach, I helped him realize that the board is an incredible asset to leverage.

Wilson began to build relationships with the board members individually to understand better how they could be of service to him and the company.

When Wilson works with the board, he is fully aware of their needs and addresses them appropriately. More importantly, he now tells the board what he is doing and relies on their insight and experience for feedback on how to help the company perform at a higher level.

Wilson is no longer concerned about the board and now gets more out of them than ever before.

Darius Solved His Crisis

Darius Solved His Crisis

I got the call at 10 PM on a Thursday. Darius, a CEO client, reached out to me just as I was about to end the day. "Glenn, my Chief Revenue Officer, just resigned, and I'm not sure what to do."

Darius was running a rapidly-growing business that was highly dependent on a well-run sales organization. He had delegated sales responsibility to his Chief Revenue Officer so Darius could focus on engineering and product.

The good news is that Darius didn't relinquish oversight or reporting of sales, just sales execution. It's also true that Darius wasn't in a panic, and we had worked on a plan for the departure of each of his direct reports.

At the moment, though, Darius and I needed to review that plan to ensure it was our best option. We checked whether or not the interim head of sales could genuinely step into the role. We discussed which accounts Darius should immediately nurture relationships with. We agreed that the recruiter we would need was still the right recruiter.

We quickly put together a communication plan on how to bring this news to the leadership team and the rest of the company. We worked on the exact next steps to interact with the interim head of sales, the director of sales operations, and HR.

Darius felt he didn't know what to do, but in actuality, he did. We had prepared for this, and he just needed to talk it through in the heat of the moment so he could execute against the plan immediately.

Table of Contents