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Leadership Coaching For Aspiring CEOs

Why should you make leadership coaching for aspiring CEO’s an integral part of your talent development? That’s a really good question!

Having an expert leadership coach is not a luxury. Instead, it’s a vital part of an organisation's leadership design toolkit in achieving culture, hard and soft skills, and high performance.

Reflection space with an external leadership coach is, without doubt, the most valuable time that an aspiring CEO will experience in preparation for leading the organisation.

Why Is Leadership Coaching For Aspiring CEOs Vital?

Before delving into what leadership coaching can provide, we want to help you appreciate why leadership coaching for aspiring CEOs is vital.

Here, we share some insights from the Harvard Business Review that might help you establish the importance of leadership coaching.

  • 66% of CEOs do not have a leadership coach, but 99% would want to be coached.

  • CEOs need external help identifying blind spots, especially when things are going well.

  • CEOs need a safe space with an external coach who has no agenda.

  • CEO’s say they want the most support with conflict resolution to establish the right culture, surface problems, get to the root issue, apply rigour and drive outcomes.

  • There is a positive link between leadership coaching and getting to the top.

With some understanding of why leadership coaching is paramount, we look in more detail at areas that external leadership coaching for aspiring CEOs supports below.

Leadership coaching taking place

A Safe Learning Space

It is surprisingly rare for aspiring CEOs to have a psychologically safe space in which to explore and develop. Yet, having a coaching space where anything can be said, anything can be admitted, and anything can be asked brings about deep personal change and accelerates learning.

Critical reflection is a skill that takes time to develop but pays dividends in deep and transformational learning. Some aspiring CEOs will say that they do not have time to reflect. In many ways, this is a red flag to our perception of learning and development, as well as the understanding of the essential critical reflection required by a CEO.

In this Forbes article, Susan Madsen shares, “self-reflection comes not just from thinking about one’s experiences; it also requires you to examine the underlying beliefs and assumptions that influence how you make sense of those experiences.” She goes on to say, “When the reflection pushes to the deeper levels of self, it becomes possible to jettison dysfunctional assumptions and behaviours. Deep learning can then occur. It can become transformative learning.”

Time with an expert external leadership coach is the most likely to provide a safe space for critical reflection to occur for an aspiring CEO.

Blind Spot Identification

How do we see blind spots? We have our blind spots, but we also have team and organisation blind spots.

Even if we have people around us who will speak honestly and directly, there may be feedback that is still difficult to give to an aspiring CEO. Often a blind spot can be collective. In that situation, it is unlikely that someone internal will be able to bring the feedback and observations that are necessary.

The Johari Window is a good model for looking at blind spots, and it is an interesting exercise to consider for organisations as well as for individuals.

Leadership coaching for aspiring CEOs allows for an external trusted relationship that contracts for challenging feedback. In this space, an aspiring CEO can be made aware of aspects of leadership and personal behaviours that would otherwise be too hard to face. This is development and preparation like no other.

The impact of unseen blind spots can be significant. This can include damaged relationships, missed opportunities, a poor culture, and a lack of awareness of problems and dangers ahead.


An expert leadership coach can provoke, play Devil’s advocate, take the role of a competitor, raise tension, break rapport, and keep pressing on that painful spot until there is a breakthrough.

Leadership coaching is not soft. In fact, it is not for the faint-hearted, but rather for those who wish to push boundaries and make transformational change. There is a reason many organisations and aspiring CEOs stay at good enough and do not move forward to excellence. This is simply because it is hard and demands sacrifices; there is a personal cost as we seek to face the difficult things about ourselves that block success.

That is why leadership coaching for aspiring CEOs is critical. The coach can hold this space whilst the aspiring CEO can experience very high levels of challenge. To have an external coach who can walk alongside the aspiring CEO on this journey is invaluable, special, and needed.

We discuss further benefits of working with an external leadership coach in another of our blogs.


As we have considered leadership coaching for aspiring CEOs, we have focused on the unique benefits that an external leadership coach can bring, particularly in creating a safe learning space, identifying blind spots and bringing the challenge.

Book a free consultation by calling us today if you want to find out how our expert coaching services can support your talent development of aspiring CEOs.

Written by Leadership Coach Ian.


What CEO’s really want from coaching, by Harvard Business Review

The Key to Leadership Development is Critical Reflection, by Forbes

Understanding the Johari Window, by Self Awareness


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