Senior Executive Coaching

senior executive coaching

The role of the corporate CEO has evolved from its once emperor-like status to that of employee, albeit the highest paid. Expected to “run the business,” create a strategic vision and long-range plan, steer through unexpected crises, build a strong team, and enhance shareowner value, CEOs are also the focus of the board’s heightened attention to its own portfolio of responsibilities. CEOs are expected to help create meaningful board agendas, be responsive to the governance committee’s request for a quality succession plan, attend committee meetings, and deal with multiple personal relationships and communication needs. In privately owned companies, the CEO faces the added dynamics of direct representation by the owners, often private equity firms, and their often more challenging styles and information needs.

Tom has been engaged by such well-known companies as American Express and UPS… to assist in developing CEO-level leadership talent.

Throughout his career, Tom Wajnert has served as a mentor and coach to CEOs and other C-level executives, helping them succeed with an ever-expanding array of responsibilities. He has been engaged by such well-known companies as American Express and UPS, as well as many private equity firms, to assist in developing CEO-level leadership talent. His approach is based on a specific performance contract with the client executive and focuses on the real world of CEOs engaged in transition. Because of the intensity of the work, only a few engagements are considered during the course of a year.

Here are two real-world examples of how the right executive coaching has helped the CEO and the board:

  • Succession planning: When the long-standing chairman and CEO of a NYSE-listed, mid-cap manufacturing company announced his retirement, board members realized that they had no succession plan. After developing a plan and retaining an experienced board search firm, the board had to deal with mentoring an outside successor into his new role.  The successor, who had solid, high-level experience in finance and operations, was less familiar with areas key to success in his new role, including public company communications and governance, board relations, strategy development, and leadership development. He entered the manufacturing company as a chief operating officer (COO) for six months before assuming the CEO role, and for twelve months after, was coached in these critical business areas. The outcome was solid performance for the new CEO and substantial increases in shareowner value after he assumed leadership.
  • Conflict management: A privately owned financial services company sought an outsider to mentor the CEO in a difficult situation.  The company was owned by multiple large shareholders with a host of different perspectives, creating a stressful business environment. The CEO, part of the original acquisition team, ran afoul of some of the shareowners, who themselves were not getting along. The CEO was caught in a maelstrom. Bad relationships were beginning to have a negative effect on business, which was already compromised due to the global financial crisis. While advising in how to keep the company afloat, Tom also helped navigate interpersonal relationships and governance matters. While the CEO was mentored in personal style and communications with shareowners, the company was coached in starting a leadership development program to identify internal successors, if a change in leadership were needed. When problems with the CEO are not resolvable, as was the case here, the appropriate coaching can help keep business on an even keel while the company transitions to new leadership.