CEO Coaching: Mentoring Industry Leaders in 2021

Does it make business sense to offer CEO coaching in 2021? Yes!

So if you have been looking for a coaching niche to specialize in this year, look no further. The time has arrived for you to be the best in the business. And help inculcate the CEO mindset among leaders.

Let us look at what CEO coaching means and the market for it.

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Opportunities in the market for CEO coaching

The first thing you will notice in the image above is that CEO tenures are short-lived. Why do you think this is happening?

There are several challenges that global economies are facing. I am hesitant to call them problems. I always look at them as opportunities.

This CNBC news report reports on what CEOs are most worried about. In 2020, CEOs fear “continued uncertainty around global trade, increasing competition, global political instability, and tightening labor markets.”

The world is being restructured. The new world needs CEOs who are dynamic, result oriented and willing to take calculated risks.

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And that is where the opportunities lie for CEO coaching. In this context I recommend that you read my blog Best Executive Coaches To Follow in 2021. You will learn from observing the careers of some of the best coaches in the country.

Is there a market for CEO Coaching?

Is there a market for CEO Coaching? Let us look at some market realities.

Coaching is a growing industry. CEO coaching is an extremely lucrative niche within the larger coaching industry as it deals with the crème de la crème of a company.

I have mentioned some of the statistics below in my earlier blog posts as well. But this sets the context on what you can expect to earn as a CEO coach. Not everyone offering CEO coaching services calls themselves a CEO coach. Some go by the label of executive coach or leadership coach.

Executive coaches earn a handsome salary. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for most coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session.

This post claims that the life coaching industry has crossed the $1 billion dollar mark.

  • The International Coach Federation boasts 53,300 members. It has a steady growth trend.
  • Average income for life coaches ranges from $27,100 to $73,100. Specialty coaches can charge more than $100,000 annually.
  • Growth projections for the life coaching industry are an estimated 6.7%. This would take revenues to $1.34 billion by 2022.
  • 92% of life coaches remain active in the field.
  • In Asia, there were around 3,700 coaches. They contributed $113 million in total annual revenue.

Since CEO coaching is a very specific niche, you can tap into an enormous market.

Now, you may be wondering how you will you get your brand name noticed? The market is evolving and growing. But the competition is also getting tougher. You may want to refer to my blog All You Can Learn from Best Executive Coaches for more on this.

CEO Coaching Basics

So what does CEO coaching mean? And why does it work?

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Why should clients hire you for CEO coaching?

Are you just launching your career with CEO coaching services? Or are you switching careers to pursue your dream of CEO coaching? Either way, you are probably asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Will I get clients? How can I attract my target audience?
  2. How will I get noticed for my CEO coaching services?
  3. How will I advertise my CEO coaching services?
  4. Will I earn enough to have a good life and support my family?

First, let us start by examining who is looking for CEO coaching services?

What does your target audience profile look like? And what are they looking for in you?

CEOs have a tough task at hand to perform. One wrong move can land the company in trouble or even in a court of law. Besides running a team, a CEO is also answerable to investors, customers, and family members.

All of this can take a toll on the CEO’s foresight in making the right decisions for his company. Coupled with this are the CEO’s personality. Does a CEO prefer to hire only people he is comfortable with? Are limiting self-beliefs holding a CEO back from chasing even bigger dreams for his company?

If so, this CEO would benefit from having a bankable coach by his side.

CEO coaching versus executive coaching

Firstly what is the difference between executive and business coaching?

Are these the same as CEO coaching? An executive coach is usually hired for the top brass in an organization. The top leaders are usually chief executive officers, directors, vice presidents and managing directors.

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It is assumed that the challenges of a top management are similar. Most of their contributions are judged by their impact on the baseline of the company. However, the one person who decides the direction of the company is the CEO. Hence, a CEO coach is usually roped in to help a CEO overcome his limiting behaviors and beliefs.

This has a direct result on a company’s financials.

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CEO coaching versus business coaching

Does CEO coaching involve offering business coaching to his client?

Yes, it is important for the CEO to analyze ways to better his/business. But a CEO needs far more specialized attention. A Business Wire article says the top most challenge for a CEO today is finding the right talent.

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As a CEO coach, have you done your homework about what the top challenges of a CEO are? Here is an article in Business Wire that will help you. Once you know what the challenges are, you are better placed to tailor your CEO coaching package accordingly.

CEO Coaching Process

What does the CEO coaching process involve?

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The first challenge you will face is in understanding the CEO. What are his/her unique challenges? Spend some time interviewing key stakeholders of a business and not just the CEO. What would success mean for the client in question? Is it having a more efficient team? If so, then it is only fair that you do a before-after analysis with the team in question.

This brings us to the important task of charting out the details of the task at hand.

Agree with the client what the yardstick for success will be. You may want to ask your client the following questions during the initial CEO coaching session:

  1. What do you want to achieve as the CEO?
  2. What challenges are holding you back?
  3. What will give you a feeling of success?
  4. Who are the key stakeholders in this journey?

Is CEO Coaching Profitable?

How much does an average person make for offering CEO coaching services?

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According to this website, the size of the company does not matter when it comes to hiring the best. The smallest companies pay the widest range of fees for CEO coaching, the website reports. The most common hourly rate to coach executives two to five levels below C-suite is between $301 and $400, regardless of revenue size. However, the website also notes that large organizations often do coach the remaining leadership.

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According to Payscale, the average executive coach salary is $98,264. But according to this website the average salary ranges from $15.96 (Career Coach) to $81.58 (Agile Coach) per hour.

This vast range is explained in Top executive coaches work with leaders such as CEOs, CMOs. Salaries start at $150 and can go up to $350 for business coaches. Executive coaches can also charge $1,000 per session. Such coaches offer life coaching, strategic sound-boarding and other support.

Do you struggle to negotiate salaries at the beginning of a contract? Brace yourself. In order to practice CEO coaching, you will have to have the same grit and determination as your clients to generate revenues.

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This article offers tips from executive coaches on how to negotiate their pay. The thing to remember is to show how much you can contribute to the company’s baseline profits.

Interestingly, although outnumbered by numbers, women CEOs draw better salaries according to research.

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Another interesting article to read on the gender disparity in the work force is this:

CEO Coaching without Certification

Can you practise CEO coaching without certification?

Do you need certification to be a coach? No.

The market is still unregulated which means that anyone can claim to be a coach. I have written about this in detail in my earlier blog Do you need Coaching Certification in 2021?.

What you do need is an impressive list of clients who are ready to refer you. Often CEOs look for a bankable resource. Somebody who has proven successful is such a bankable asset.

I would say that a certification is another feather in your cap when it comes to CEO coaching. Use the degree and acquire lots of experience. Ask past clients to refer you. Once you have an impressive resume, approach the CEOs that you would like to work with.

What are the qualities needed for CEO coaching?

Certain traits are common for all good coaches. However, there are certain things that CEOs look for while engaging with a coach. Do you want to know what these are?

  • Confidentiality. I cannot stress this enough. The ability to invite your client’s trust and retain it will be crucial in your CEO coaching service. If the management is hiring you, there may be a chance of breach of confidentiality. Agree with your client right at the beginning on what information you can share! And respect those boundaries.
  • Objectivity. You have no way of knowing your client’s challenges. Do not bring in judgement or try to give your client examples of what you would do. Instead, listen attentively and help the client understand, analyze and come up with a solution. This will work best for long term implementation.
  • Accountability. Be supportive. Be firm. These are not mutually exclusive so you can be both. Your clients hire you because they have a problem. They cannot take the steps necessary to change their lives. But even after they have hired you, this inertia can remain. Change is hard. This becomes the first major roadblock you face as a coach. Make them accountable for the change.
  • Referrals. With CEO coaching you are already working with a niche. So your client list will be largely based on referrals from old clients. Maintain old relations. This means you also need to be available for the clients. This brings me to the next point.
  • CEO coaching requires flexibility. You need to offer flexibility of time, location and your usual coaching practices. This means you may have to work on one client at a time. Make sure you are paid to provide this exclusivity. Focus on the end goal when you feel like you are being tested. What is your objective? How will this particular client help you make your CEO coaching practice more profitable.
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There are several other qualities that make for a good coach. You may read the whole blog for more.

Check out my previous blog Top 10 Coaching Skills You Must Have as a Life Coach. Some of the qualities are needed for all successful coaches, irrespective of niche.

You may also want to refer to my blog on 21 Coaching Skills Every Successful Coach Needs and Top Qualities Of A Successful Coach.

These qualities mentioned are helpful for all coaches, including CEO coaches.

CEO coaching: Models and styles

The process of coaching is fairly common across all niches. Irrespective of whether you are a life coach or a sports coach, you will follow the same process. You may follow a particular coaching style. In my blog Types of Coaching Styles and Models Every Coach Should Know About, I have mentioned some of these styles. The truth is your style and coaching model will depend on your personality and the niche. However, you should know about the different coaching models and tailor your style to suit your client.

How can you market CEO coaching?

Firstly is it necessary to invest in marketing? The answer is YES! Do read my blog if you have any doubts about this.

If you look online, you will find several companies and individuals announcing their CEO coaching expertise.

However, getting your name noticed in an already crowded market can be difficult. So how will you get your brand to stand out? I have mentioned some quick tips in my blog to help you.

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For starters, I would like to point you to my blog The Complete Guide to Being a Leadership Coach.

Also look at this report in Forbes titled 7 Tech CEOs Share Marketing Trends And Predictions For 2020. It will give you an idea of what your customers are looking for.

Also look at this Harvard Business Review article Research: What CEOs Really Want from Coaching.

Resources to help your CEO coaching career

A simple Google search will show you several books and podcasts online. As a CEO coach, you may want to look up some of these.

Books to read for CEO coaching

A search on Google will offer this list of books on CEO coaching:

  1. The CEO Difference: How to Climb, Crawl, and Leap Your Way to the Next Level of Your Career by Debra A Benton
  2. Make Big Happen: How to Live, Work, and Give Big by Mark Moses
  3. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Daniel Meyer
  4. Seeking Wisdom: From Darwin to Munger by Peter Bevelin
  5. Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker
  6. CEO Strength Coach by Ron McKeefery
  7. Secrets of a CEO Coach: Your Personal Training Guide to Thinking Like a Leader and Acting Like a CEO by Debra A Benton

Podcasts on CEO coaching

There are several YouTube videos on CEO coaching online.

You will find a list of popular podcasts for CEO coaching and leadership development here and here. A popular podcast for CEO coaching is also linked here.

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