A leadership article in Forbes summarized the results of a leadership survey completed by Stanford University and The Miles Group. The survey showed that while 2/3’s of Chief Executives don’t use coaching or leadership advice from outside their organizations, nearly 100% said they wish that they had done so. CEOs, like others, have blind spots and can significantly improve their performance by using an outside perspective in a similar way that an elite athlete uses a Coach.

As the non-profit sector becomes ever more complex CEO’s and Executive Directors (Executives) are beginning to use Executive Coaches in a more meaningful manner. An interesting finding from a Harvard Business Review survey on coaching found that only 3% of Executive Coaches were hired to assist their clients to address personal issues. At the same time, 76% of the Coaches stated that they have assisted Executives with personal issues. Since personal life can and often does have a direct impact on success at work, and since Executives spend many hours at their jobs, it makes sense that personal issues would have an impact on work life. Executives are asking their Coaches to discuss personal issues on a regular basis. Therefore it is important that the Coach is comfortable and skilled in assisting the Executive in addressing personal as well as work issues.

When selecting a Coach two variables tend to underlie the success of the coaching relationship. First, and most importantly, the Executive wants to work with a Coach and sees the relationship as being helpful. If the coaching relationship is being forced on the Executive by his/her Board Directors the chance of a successful coaching relationship being developed is lessened. The second variable that is crucial to a successful coaching relationship is the relationship between the Executive and Coach. Research stresses that the Executive/Coach relationship needs to be a trusting one for the Executive to benefit from the coaching. Therefore the Executive should input into the selection of a Coach.