A new CXO meeting and working with an executive coach for the first time

The Power of An Onboarding Partnership: Why Every New CXO Needs an Executive Coach

August 4, 2023

Posted by Alexandra Lamb

Onboarding into a new CXO role can be an exhilarating yet challenging experience. As a newly appointed executive, you face high expectations, complex organisational dynamics, and a steep learning curve. Amidst this transition, one invaluable resource stands out: an executive coach. We spoke with Aude Beneton from Get Ahead Leadership, who said, “Onboarding coaching brings both a strategic sounding board and a springboard for leadership presence during the critical opening moments of a new leader's induction. The coach becomes a true partner and a catalyst to the new CXO, as they need to be purposeful in the impression they make within the business culture”.

In this blog post, we will explore the importance of utilising an executive leadership coach during the onboarding process for new CXOs, highlighting the numerous benefits that arise from this partnership.

Benefits of Hiring an Executive Coach for Your New CXO

  1. Accelerating the Learning Curve: Assuming a CXO role involves quickly understanding the organisation's unique dynamics, strategies, and challenges. An executive coach acts as a seasoned guide, providing insights and knowledge to help new executives navigate these complexities, effectively shortening their learning curve. The coach's experience and expertise can help CXOs gain a deep understanding of the business landscape, enabling them to make informed decisions and contribute meaningfully.
  2. Facilitating Role Transition: Transitioning into a CXO role requires adapting to new responsibilities, expectations, and leadership demands. An executive coach is vital in supporting this transition by helping CXOs define their leadership vision, clarify their goals, and align their actions accordingly. The coach acts as a sounding board, offering unbiased perspectives and feedback to ensure the new executive's actions and decisions align with their intended impact.
  3. Enhancing Leadership Presence: Leadership presence is a critical factor in driving organisational success. An executive coach helps new CXOs develop and enhance their leadership presence by fine-tuning their communication style, influencing skills, and executive presence. Through targeted coaching sessions and feedback, the coach assists the executive in honing their ability to inspire, engage, and motivate teams, establishing a strong and influential presence from the outset.
  4. Providing Objective Feedback: An executive coach offers a unique and objective perspective essential for a new CXO. They provide honest feedback, helping the executive identify blind spots, capitalise on strengths, and address areas that need development. This objective viewpoint is instrumental in ensuring the new CXO receives balanced and constructive feedback, enabling them to grow as leaders.
  5. Navigating Organisational Dynamics: Organisational politics and dynamics can be complex and challenging to navigate. An executive coach helps the new CXO understand the organisation's culture, power structures, and stakeholder dynamics, providing guidance on how to effectively build relationships and influence key stakeholders. By leveraging their experience, the coach equips the executive with the insights and strategies needed to navigate these dynamics successfully.
  6. Fostering Personal Growth and Well-being: The demanding nature of a CXO role can take a toll on personal well-being and work-life balance. An executive coach supports the new CXO in managing their energy, prioritising self-care, and maintaining a healthy work-life integration. By encouraging personal growth and resilience, the certified executive coach helps the executive sustain their performance, ensuring long-term success in their role.

An Executive coach waiting to meet the new CXO coachee

So what will a coach actually do? Beneton says, “Most CXOs want to quickly prove themselves in their new role. But rushing into decision-making without a deep observation of their new environment will never lead to success. The coach will first help them to step back, observe, understand the tacit parts of their role, and analyse the dynamics at play. Then help them build their new network by developing their relationships with their peers, stakeholders, and teams. Only then will CXOs be ready to design and deploy their new strategy.” An executive coach working with a new CXO will use a variety of questions and exercises to ensure an effective onboarding process. These may include:

Clarifying goals and expectations:

  • ● What are your key priorities and objectives for your first 90 days?
  • ● How do you envision success in your new role?
  • ● What are the expectations of key stakeholders, such as the board, employees, and customers?

Self-reflection and self-awareness:

  • ● What are your leadership strengths and development areas?
  • ● How do your values and leadership style align with the organisation's culture?
  • ● What leadership behaviours and habits would you like to cultivate or change?

Stakeholder mapping and relationship building:

  • Who are the key stakeholders you need to build relationships with?
  • What are their expectations and concerns?
  • How will you proactively engage and communicate with your stakeholders?

Organisational assessment:

  • What is your understanding of the organisation's strategic priorities and challenges?
  • What are the cultural norms and dynamics within the organisation?
  • How will you assess the organisation's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats?

Leadership vision and strategy:

  • What is your vision for the organisation and your role in achieving it?
  • How will you align your team and resources to support this vision?
  • What strategies and initiatives will you prioritise to drive success?

Building and developing the leadership team:

  • How will you assess the capabilities and alignment of your executive team?
  • What actions will you take to build a cohesive and high-performing leadership team?
  • What coaching and development opportunities will you provide to support your team's growth?

Managing change and delivering early wins:

  • What changes do you anticipate during your first 90 days, and how will you manage them?
  • How will you communicate the need for change and gain buy-in from key stakeholders?
  • What early wins can you deliver to establish credibility and build momentum?

Personal development and well-being:

  • How will you prioritise your own well-being and work-life balance?
  • What support and resources do you need to thrive in your new role?
  • What personal growth goals do you have for yourself as a leader?

These types of questions and exercises are designed to facilitate self-reflection, goal-setting, strategic thinking, relationship-building, and personal development. They provide a structured framework for the BOLDLY coach to work with a new CXO to explore and clarify their role, responsibilities, and objectives, ultimately helping them onboard effectively and succeed in their leadership position.

A new CXO is soon to be starting an executive coaching session

Resource Recommendations

Here are some of the top books we recommend to new CXOs wanting to be proactive about preparing for their new post:

  • "The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter" by Michael D. Watkins: This book is a go-to resource for executives transitioning into new roles. It provides a framework for navigating the critical initial period, offering practical advice on accelerating learning, building relationships, and delivering early wins.
  • "Your Next Move: The Leader's Guide to Successfully Navigating Major Career Transitions" by Michael D. Watkins: This book focuses on career transitions, including the move to a CXO role. It offers insights into making successful career moves, developing a transition plan, and building credibility in a new leadership position.
  • "The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan: How to Take Charge, Build or Merge Your Team, and Get Immediate Results" by George B. Bradt, Jayme A. Check, and Jorge E. Pedraza: This book provides a detailed roadmap for new leaders, including CXOs, to effectively lead their teams during the first 100 days. It covers topics such as team building, setting priorities, and driving results.
  • "You're in Charge, Now What? The 8-Point Plan" by Thomas J. Neff and James M. Citrin: This book offers practical advice for executives stepping into new leadership roles. It provides insights on building relationships, establishing a leadership brand, managing key stakeholders, and making critical decisions.
  • "The First-Time Manager" by Loren B. Belker, Jim McCormick, and Gary S. Topchik: While not specifically focused on CXOs, this book offers valuable guidance for first-time managers who are transitioning into leadership roles. It covers essential management skills, such as communication, delegation, and team development.
  • "Leading Change" by John P. Kotter: Change is often a key focus for CXOs during their first 100 days. This classic book provides insights into effectively leading organisational change, offering a practical eight-step process for implementing successful transformations.

Remember, while books can provide valuable insights, every CXO's situation is unique. It's essential to adapt the concepts and strategies from these books to your specific context and organisational dynamics. Additionally, seeking guidance from mentors, executive coaches, and peers can complement your learning journey and provide additional support during this critical transition period.

 The executive coach becomes a trusted partner, guiding the new CXO through the intricacies of their role, accelerating their learning, enhancing their leadership presence, and providing invaluable feedback.

Embarking on a CXO role is an exciting opportunity for professional growth and organisational impact. To make the most of this transition, leveraging the support of an executive coach is a wise decision. The executive coach becomes a trusted partner, guiding the new CXO through the intricacies of their role, accelerating their learning, enhancing their leadership presence, and providing invaluable feedback. With an executive coach by their side, the new CXO is empowered to navigate the challenges and complexities of their new position, contributing to the organisation's success from day one.

Uncover the transformative power of coaching partnerships for new CXOs and the benefits of executive coaching in onboarding individuals in higher-level roles. Learn how BOLDLY's coach marketplace can set your new CXO on the path to success. Contact us today at connect@boldly.app for more details.

About the Author:

Alexandra Lamb is an accomplished organisational development practitioner, with experience across APAC, North America, and MENA. With 20+ years in professional practice, conglomerates, and startups, she has collaborated with rapid-growth companies and industry innovators to develop leaders and high-performance teams. She is particularly experienced in talent strategy as a driver for business growth. Drawing from her experience in the fields of talent management, psychology, coaching, product development, and human-centred design, Alex prides herself on using commercial acumen to design talent solutions with true impact.

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