CEO Coaching: What Do CEOs Need to Know How to Do?

I’m working with a few executives who’ve been tagged as possible CEOs. This is fun for them and me. All are highly motivated and self-aware. With these assignments, I typically conduct a 360-degree feedback session with the coachee’s boss, peers, and those who report to them so that we can develop a list of priorities to work on. It also helps to have numerous lengthy conversations about what a CEO must know and do. 

CEOs of many varieties can be successful, especially if they can leverage their strengths and either fix or work around their weaknesses. Some choose a narrower path and fill in their executive team with functional experts. Most, however, want and need a broad set of skills, many of which require extensive work to acquire. 

I thought I’d share my good, but not perfect, list with you. If you’re on the path to the C-suite or already there, grade yourself on all the items. Better yet, get your boss and a few others to grade you. You’ll then have a personal development plan.

Balance this, of course, with your functional duties. The ironic thing is that most who end up as a CEO are extremely good at one thing in a specific functional area. Their success as a CEO requires that they do much less of what they’re good at and much more of what they aren’t as skilled at.

No one said it was easy!

Here’s the list: 

·      Think strategically (imagine the future and plan to succeed).

·      Build a healthy culture that breeds commitment.

·      Drive alignment.

·      Give and take feedback.

·      Deliver tough messages.

·      Fail and learn, and then move on.

·      Drive performance.

·      Communicate effectively to multiple audiences.

·      Facilitate meetings.

·      Analyze financial results.

·      Manage talent.

·      Design effective organizations.

·      Manage change.

·      Sell your ideas.

·      Understand customers.

·      Manage risk.

·      Manage board and shareholder relationships.

What would you add or emphasize? Drop me a note and let me know!

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