Survey: CEOs Want Outside Advice, But Don’t Get It

Nearly two-thirds of CEOs do not receive leadership advice from outside consultants or coaches, and almost half of senior executives are not receiving any either, according to a new survey.

The survey also said that almost all the CEOS said that they enjoyed the process. “Given how vitally important it is for the CEO to be getting the best possible counsel, independent of their board, in order to maintain the health of the corporation, it’s concerning that so many of them are ‘going it alone,’ ” says Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group. “Even the best-of-the-best CEOs have their blind spots and can dramatically improve their performance with an outside perspective weighing in.”

Key findings:

  • When asked “Whose decision was it for you to receive coaching?” 78% of CEOs said it was their own idea. “We are moving away from coaching being perceived as ‘remedial’ to where it should be: something that improves performance, similar to how elite athletes use a coach,” Miles said.
  • When asked which is the biggest area for their own personal development, nearly 43% of CEOs rated “conflict management skills” the highest.
  • The top two areas board directors say their CEOs need to work on are “mentoring skills/developing internal talent” and “sharing leadership/delegation skills.”
  • Top areas that CEOs use coaching to improve are sharing leadership/delegation, conflict management, team building, and mentoring.

More than 200 CEOs, board directors, and senior executives of North American public and private companies were surveyed. The study was conducted by the Center for Leadership Development and Research at Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University’s Rock Center for Corporate Governance, and The Miles Group.