Coaching Successor CEOs for the New Role

Forbes India | Jun 18, 2009
By: Dave Ulrich

In the best of cases, successful coaching is difficult. Teams or individuals that win often claim to do so because of their talent and skills and those who lose often blame the coach. This may be why coaches are more likely to be replaced than players.

Ultimately, the difficulty of coaching comes from assuming someone can change another’s behaviour or attitude. Psychologists tell us that many attitudes and behaviours derive from genetics, others form in early developmental years, and others come from peer groups and associations over time. If coaches have the goal of changing ingrained behaviour and/or attitude, why would we be surprised that successful coaching is so difficult?

Increasing opportunities for coaching success may come by focusing on transition moments, times when individuals experience major change and are more open to new ideas and willing to experiment with new behaviours. A significant transition moment occurs when an individual assumes a new role in the organisation. New roles often bring excitement and energy. They are times when individuals are willing to try new ideas. Perhaps the most visible transition moment within an organisation comes when a new CEO is appointed. A new CEO has a number of unique challenges — to honour the past and create a future, to set an agenda that others will follow, to manage both the institutional and symbolic role as head of the organisation and to deal with the individual and personal challenges of leadership.

Learn the steps for coaching CEOs through transition moments.