CEO Middle East - - CONTENTS -

I’VE WORKED WITH MORE THAN A HUN­DRED CEOs in my ca­reer, and one of their big­gest weak­nesses is not know­ing what they don’t know, and not hav­ing any­one around them to help them see it. Their ex­ec­u­tive staff are re­port­ing to them con­stantly, pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion that the CEO may or may not be able to qual­ity con­trol, and they are kept ac­count­able at best on a 12 week cy­cle by a Board of Direc­tors that of­ten have only a sin­gle KPI: share value. So who is men­tor­ing the CEO? Who is de­vel­op­ing them? Who is push­ing them to be sharp- er, faster, and to bal­ance their power with com­men­su­rate hu­mil­ity. To be clear, it’s ab­so­lute hubris to think any CEO can be at their best with­out an Ex­ec­u­tive coach these days. Chair­men… CFOs… that goes for you too.

Think about it, ev­ery top foot­ball player has a coach. Ev­ery top politi­cian has a coach, and more than half of For­tune 500 com­pa­nies uti­lize Ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing to drive busi­ness growth. MetrixGlobal re­ported a 529% re­turn on in­vest­ment in Ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing in a For­tune 500 firm, and Manch­ester Inc. sur­veyed 100 top ex­ec­u­tives and re­ported an av­er­age ROI of 6 times from Ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing. Why does it work?


A part of the CEO’s role is to guard the align­ment of the ac­tiv­i­ties of the com­mu­nity to its val­ues and vi­sion. A set of val­ues that sits on the wall but isn’t au­thor­i­ta­tive in de­ci­sion mak­ing is just art. It only be­comes mean­ing­ful when a leader in the com­mu­nity, of­ten its CEO, holds the prac­tices of the busi­nesses to the fire of the cor­po­rate val­ues and vi­sion.

And each CEO also has to bal­ance their de­ci­sion mak­ing not only with the com­mu­nity stan­dards, but also with their own. Each CEO as a per­son, has a per­sonal vi­son for their life and a per­sonal set of val­ues that they can­not, and should not, waver from. It is be­cause of those value that they rose to their po­si­tion in the first place. An Ex­ec­u­tive coach helps the CEO to en­sure that they are align­ing their busi­ness de­ci­sion mak­ing in the di­rec­tion of a legacy of per­for­mance that will re­veal their per­sonal val­ues long af­ter they’ve left their role as CEO.


CEOs are over­whelmed with pres­sure. On top of their role re­quire­ments and the thou­sand or so un­in­vited in­ter­rup­tions they get ev­ery day, they are sup­posed to read 52 books a year, fol­low 10 weekly blogs, have at least 5 daily news sources, and read a dozen in­dus­try re­ports in or­der to stay sharp. And they still of­ten have a fam­ily to care for, re­la­tion­ships to man­age, and need to find time for proper rest, re­flec­tion, ex­er­cise, healthy eat­ing, mind­ful­ness, health care, and if there’s time at the end of all of that… fun. With only 24 hours in a day, it’s an im­pos­si­ble chal­lenge. Most CEOs make dev­as­tat­ing com­pro­mises that ei­ther in­jure them­selves per­son­ally, or the cor­po­rate com­mu­nity due to lack of bal­ance. Ex­ec­u­tive coaches are there to help achieve the right work-life bal­ance for each CEO, and each one is dif­fer­ent. Keep­ing a CEO fo­cused on the right things in the right way is a pri­mary task of a good Coach.


CEOs of­ten have a 12-week ac­count­abil­ity cy­cle, and 2 KPIs: Net Profit and Gross Mar­gin. Ef­fec­tive CEOs de­velop for them­selves a set of smaller, repet­i­tive, mean­ing­ful be­hav­iours that lead to both per­sonal and cor­po­rate suc­cess. War­ren Buf­fet is said to spend about 80% of his work­day read­ing. But he also ex­er­cises, and plays the ukulele. He played a duet with Jon Bon Jovi once, for char­ity. And he sleeps 8 hours a night. Bal­ance can be achieved for ev­ery CEO, and of­ten the cat­a­lyst for this is a good Ex­ec­u­tive coach that helps to dis­till goals and vi­sion into a set of strate­gic dis­ci­plines the lead to suc­cess. An Ex­ec­u­tive coach helps not only to de­fine those dis­ci­plines, but also to hold the CEO ac­count­able to them in terms of their own growth and qual­ity of life goals.

CEOs of­ten hire Ex­ec­u­tive coaches in or­der to solve cur­rent chal­lenges, to stay sharp in their roles, or to de­velop a more fo­cused ca­reer path. You can find all of your own rea­sons for hir­ing an Ex­ec­u­tive coach, and want­ing to im­prove the qual­ity of your work-life. The fact is, your work is tak­ing up a third of ev­ery day of your life right now, maybe more, and you de­serve the best re­sources around you in or­der to max­i­mize your po­ten­tial.

The ad­di­tional ben­e­fits you are likely to ex­pe­ri­ence will in­clude pro­duc­tiv­ity, qual­ity of thought and fo­cus, im­proved re­la­tion­ships with the board and your team mem­bers, higher job sat­is­fac­tion, higher or­ga­ni­za­tional com­mit­ment, and a deeper sense of pur­pose in your life.

If you’re the chair­man of the board, you should be re­quir­ing Ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing for both your­self and your CEO. Hav­ing that key role in top con­di­tion will ben­e­fit the bot­tom line.

For these rea­sons I in­clude Ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing in my list of strate­gic dis­ci­plines for high per­form­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions. When you per­form at your best, and you can lead your team to do the same, that’s mean­ing­ful man­age­ment.

So ask your­self next time: What makes man­age­ment mean­ing­ful to you in your cor­po­rate com­mu­nity?

Dr. Cor­rie Block is CEO of Paragon Con­sult­ing, pro­vid­ing com­pa­nies in­no­va­tion in lead­er­ship, strat­egy, cor­po­rate gov­er­nance and re­struc­tur­ing. He is pro­fes­sor of Strate­gic Man­age­ment at Monarch Busi­ness School, Switzer­land, holds a masters de­gree in global lead­er­ship, a PhD in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion, and arab and is­lamic stud­ies, and is a cer­ti­fied NLP busi­ness prac­ti­tioner and ex­ec­u­tive coach. He has pre­vi­ously also ad­vised on re­struc­tur­ing fam­ily-owned firms in MENA, and pro­vided con­sul­tancy for the World Bank and Coun­cil of Europe. He is also of­fer­ing a free ex­ec­u­tive coach­ing ses­sion to the CEO that con­tacts him with the best re­sponse to the ques­tion in his ar­ti­cle



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