If your career plan culminates with you becoming the CEO of a company—if that’s the end point you seek—then I recommend investing in executive coaching. The reasoning is actually pretty simple: While you can learn a lot of key leadership skills simply from going to work and paying attention to what your current boss or CEO does, there are certain skills that you can only develop with direct mentorship from a teacher or coach.
How Executive Coaching Prepares CEO Candidates
To become a CEO, of course, you need a full set of skills—skills enough to win the buy-in and confidence of the entire organization, including board members and other C-suite members. Those skills can’t be developed overnight, nor will you stumble across them by accident. It’s important to engage in structured learning now, allowing yourself the time to develop those skills over the long haul as you prepare for your CEO gig.
And it’s not just that you need a full complement of skills. You also need the confidence required to make a strong first impression. Remember those board members and C-suite members? Your first impression with them can be determined in the blink of an eye; in mere seconds, they’ll size up whether you carry yourself like a CEO or not. That’s not something you want to leave to chance. You want to prepare yourself to shine, to exude confidence and competence—something an executive coach can help you with.
What’s more, when you engage the services of an executive coach, it allows you to actually say to people that you’ve done your due diligence and been proactive in skills development. Don’t underestimate the importance of this! When CEO searches take place, search committee members typically want someone who’s done the work and gone to great lengths to prepare for this moment. Being able to say that you worked with a coach is no small thing.
By working with an executive coach, you can jumpstart your CEO journey—and make yourself into a winning candidate, both in practice and on paper.