Research Outline

Senior Executives Seeking Coaching Advice


To provide 6-8 insights on the user journey of senior executives who seek help from executive coaches. We will focus on the common factors that drive them to get professional help instead of relying on their friends or family members. We will also touch on why they feel that they will not be able to turn to their families, friends, or colleagues for advice.

Early Findings

  • Senior executives seek coaching advice when stepping into new responsibilities or in times of change.
  • Other times, executives may seek coaching advice to step into or out of a company.
  • Another possibility is that an executive may be good in one area of leadership but not so much in another. That is when they seek coaching in order to polish their skills in the lacking area.
  • Another thing about senior executives is the "lonely at the top" factor. "Many C-suite executives feel less comfortable letting their hair down with peers or their boss. So, they turn to a trusted outside advisor/coach to help them with a number of different issues or objectives."
  • Senior executives, specifically CEOs, seek outside advice to make sure they can envision the otherwise blind spots that are not too evident to other executives working within the same organization. Although this insight comes from an old research, this is still relevant and valid.
  • Executives do not seek advice from other people within the company, even the so-called friends, when they suspect they could have other motives, as every single person in a company has some sort of agenda. "This makes the coaching environment a rare and safe place to think through various topics against the framework of what is in the CEO’s best interest. The coach is only concerned with the CEO’s wild success as the leader of the company."
  • Executives may also be inclined to not share that they are getting coached in order to avoid being judged and prevent other people from thinking that a senior executive is being coached because they have certain weaknesses.
  • Another important factor why a CEO/executive might be inclined toward coaching instead of reaching out to a friend/family member may be because "a good coach does not make someone feel badly about themselves, but will engage in training so that the CEO gets up the next morning and is excited about trying something new or doing something in a different way."