My Approach to CEO Coaching

An effective CEO is always looking for new ways to deliver value in order to keep growing and stay ahead of the competition. To do this, you must first see yourself as a change agent—not the defender of the status quo. That’s so hard to do, because the very qualities that made you successful in the first place, make you and/or your organization resistant to change…and you probably don’t realize it. My role as your coach is to help you see that you’re the key to making change happen. Only then can you embrace the tools that will make you an effective change agent. 

Being a four-time CEO and a jet pilot has given me unique insight into the significant similarities between these two seemingly very different vocations. There are few responsibilities in life that require that level of self-reliance, skill, and leadership:

Both conduct complex real and/or virtual activities with well-defined objectives

Both direct the actions of others in the execution of their missions

Both own responsibility for the lives/livelihoods of others  

Yet there is no certification or licensing needed to be a CEO. You either teach yourself to “construct and fly” your own business, or someone invites you into the “cockpit” of an existing business and mentors you. Or, you may be asked to take control of a business that is in the process of “crashing” with the hope that you’ll find a way to “recover.” Can you imagine any of these approaches working in a jet aircraft? Of course not!

The truth is, jet pilots are way better at their jobs than CEOs. We know this because very few jets crash. You’re incredibly safer in a plane than in a car. Conversely, most businesses do crash. They run out of fuel (money), spin out of control (misalignment of interests), or never develop enough thrust to get airborne (don’t deliver enough value). What’s the difference? It’s certainly not that pilots are smarter than CEOs. 

The answer is knowledge, training, simulation, and accountability. As your coach I can help you become significantly better at all four. But you have to want it, and you have to own it, because the truth is, I can’t work harder than you.

An Effective Approach to Dramatically Improving Your CEO Skills:

PHASE 1 

 Learning About You and Your Business

“Your Theory About Why and How Your Airplane Flies.”

Your nature, character, purpose, and processes are the foundations of your business. You want to work with someone who gets you. You’ll find that I have experience solving many of the challenges you’ll face on your path forward. We need to get to know each other and develop the trust needed to move forward  and  set  the foundation  for your “flight-training    curriculum.” 

PHASE 2

Challenging Your Assumptions  

“Creating the Dashboard That Reflects What Your Airplane Is Actually Doing.”

Using a Socratic approach with a heavy emphasis on data analytics, we’ll examine how your business delivers value, and how your interests are aligned with your customers, employees, and supply chain. We’ll create your “cockpit dashboard” that accurately characterizes what happens in the normal course of business, and how you and your leadership team react when key performance indicators (KPIs) start to move in different directions. The goal is to identify the combination of KPIs that accurately reflects the behavior of your leadership team during normal and abnormal operations.

PHASE 3

Improving Your Skills Through Training & Simulation

 Building a Simulator to Test and Challenge Your Fly Skills.” 

In this phase, we stress test you and your team through a series of exercises designed to harden your skills. When flying jets, we call these Abnormal Operations. These one-day, offsite challenges allow you to evaluate your actions, and the actions of your leadership team under pressure. I make real-time adjustments to the scenario to strengthen areas of observed deficiencies. The most important part of any simulation is the debriefing. What did you learn? What are you going to change? 

PHASE 4

Sharpening Your Sword

  “Creating Better Flying Habits.” 

Coaching is what separates the great from the good in every endeavor. It’s a strength, not a weakness. Great performers are always getting better. They make time to learn new things. I’ve been to some 50 jet schools. My techniques are always getting better, which makes me more reliable, more resilient, and safer in the cockpit… and in business. I can help you emulate some of my best habits, and better leverage some of your best habits.

Are You Ready for Change?

To make change happen, you need to find a coach with the right match of values, personality, and delivery model. My core values start with Integrity, Authenticity, and Accountability. As your coach, I’ll help you push yourself out of your comfort zone to recognize and make the needed changes. Exploiting your unique leadership strengths is the key to you becoming a more effective CEO.