BPI Blog

6 CEOs on how coaching works for them

Coaching is rapidly getting more popular; we examine what leaders say about it.

Coaching is an invaluable tool for personal and professional development. But it can also make you a better leader. It’s no surprise then, that 78% of CEOs that went for coaching, said it was their idea to begin with (Source: HBR). BPI wanted to find out what CEO’s are most interested in when it comes to coaching, so here it is: 1) Conflict management Skills, 2) Delegation or Sharing leadership skills, and 3) listening skills. Others areas of interest are team building and planning skills.

Here is what CEOs, former CEOs (and some VP’s) say about coaching:

“People are not good at seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really helps. Everybody needs a coach.”

    • Erich Schmidt, CEO Google Inc. (2001-2011)

“I never cease to be amazed at the power of the coaching process to draw out the skills or talent that was previously hidden within an individual, and which invariably finds a way to solve a problem previously thought unsolvable.”

    • John Russell, Managing Director, Harley-Davidson Europe Ltd. (1998-2007)

“I absolutely believe that people, unless coached never reach their maximum capabilities.”

    • Bob Nardelli – CEO of Home Depot (2000-2007)

“Leaders relentlessly upgrade their team, using every encounter as an opportunity to evaluate, coach and build self-confidence. People who are coaches will be the norm. Other people won’t get promoted.”

    • Jack Welch, CEO, General Electric (1981-2001)

“One of the most important things about leadership is that you have to have the kind of humility that will allow you to be coached.”

    • Jim Yong Kim, 12th President of the World Bank (2012-2019)

“I’ll bet most of the companies that are in life-or-death battles got into that kind of trouble because they didn’t pay enough attention to developing their leaders.”

    • Wayne Calloway, Chairman, Pepsico, Inc. (1986-1992)

“In research conducted over the past three years we’ve found that leaders who have the best coaching skills have better business results.”

    • Tanya Clemens, VP of Global Executive & Organizational Development at IBM

“Even modest improvements can justify hiring a coach. An investment of $30,000 or so in an executive who has responsibility for tens of millions of dollars is a rounding error.”

    • Jerome Abarbanel, VP of Executive Resources, Citibank

So there you have it. The idea is to expand and update this list as time goes by. Feel free to share your thoughts on executive coaching with us on LinkedIn.


Wouter van Kempen writes about assessment, coaching and personal development. He is the managing director of BPI (Business Psychology International) specialized in international assessment and coaching. BPI has representatives in over 14 European countries. You can reach us here 

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