Shouldn’t they know what to do? By Nick Roud

by | Mar 1, 2021

I recently had a discussion live on radio with a well known media person here in New Zealand and we got onto the topic of CEO Coaching and the work that I do when coaching a CEO. It was an interesting conversation during the live radio broadcast and during our chat, she paused and said, Nick should’t a CEO know what to do, why then do they need a coach?

I remember being a little bit taken back by her remark but after taking in her point I said something along the lines of –

Who’s your favourite tennis player in the world?

She said Serena Williams.

I asked – wow what an exceptional tennis player…..does Serena have a coach?.

Well yes Nick she has a coach?

I asked why, why do you think Serena (has a coach) and she said um……………..not sure……um…….well she’s a sports star they all have coaches…………

I said……. why then if a sports star can and does have a coach shouldn’t a CEO have a coach?

After the radio conversation she came back to me…….. NicK I still don’t get it why do CEOs need a coach……..!

It got me thinking and me being me I decided to put pen to paper. Over the weekend I sent this to her this blog and she came back to me – Ah Nick thank you, Now I get It…………!

Welome into today’s leadership blog.

For those of you new to my blog my name is Nick Roud and I am an Executive Coach, I partner CEOs, Senior Executives, Leaders and future leaders – I have the best job in the world and each day I sit alongside some of the most amazing leaders and coach them to be the very best leader they can be. My business is called and you can find out more about my business, my coaching, blogs, podcasts etc at

Since 2016 I have written a weekly leadership & career blog, why? I have dyslexia and struggled with reading and writing since around the age of 8. I was bullied and teased about being thick, it hurt and it still hurst me more than you can ever imagine how one human can treat another……….so I write and I’ll keep writing till the day I die!

In my coaching work with CEOs I ask my clients to put in strategy to improve / develop in a number of areas so if I am giving that advice I to should take that advice as well and push my learnings and do all I can to challenge myself and push myself to write.

Finally these are all my views, observations and things I have learnt as an executive coach. I am certified to be an executive coach and proud to be the #3 Executive coach in the world. Life is good right now, I know for many of us we are in a lockdown period, my hope it these blogs take you away from the distractions and you can have some time to focus in on You……..

If you would like to see all our past weekly leadership & career blogs back to 2016 here is the link, you can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter (later on in the year I will be sharing this content along with some other things to our subscribers, we have around 16,000 people around the world subscribed to our blog, thank you)

The Nick Roud Blog

To my regular blog-readers how’s the week been for you since last weeks blog titled The Leadership Question. Thanks so much for the thoughts and messages you shared with me from around the world. Also I really appreciate the kind words of encouragement and support re my personal event that I will be doing in 2024 Rehab2Ultraman my goal is to complete 5 ironman distant triathlons in 5 consecutive days. A CEO client called me to say he hadn’t realised I was insane……I said he never asked 🙂 you can find out more about Rehab2Ultraman and what I will be doing here is the link

Today is a good day, I hope it is for you. Tuesday 2nd March 2021

Any professional can benefit from working with a coach. A coach’s job is to hold the mirror up, observe assist and generally help the coachee be the very best that they can be. Their are no short cuts or hacks it takes daily attention and effort to be the best you can be and it is extremely hard work to constantly do.

A great coach will be all in – invested in you and your success not (his / her own success). They will want you to succeed beyond your current expectations and take you to places you never thought possible. To support you in moving your performance to a higher level – sometimes in general, and other times in highly specific areas. But a good coach will not tell you what to do, together you will work things through and you will decide what is the best for you (only you know yourself…….)

Over the last few years partnering CEOs one of my observations is the enormous pressure on them and for the high achiever CEO the enormous pressure that they put on themselves. Their time is extremely prescious but we all have the same hours in our days, weeks, months and years. How we use them is the key!.

Why then should a CEO take the time required to work with a CEO Coach?

Well in my experience there are many reasons, but one reason that keeps being told to me by clients is because they to want to be the very best they can be, they like to reach higher and they are constantly learning.

Be you a CEO, an elite sportsperson, an artist, a surgeon…..the list goes on……. Coaching has similarities across different contexts. If the CEO is not coachable or doesn’t want to be coach then no amount of coaching is going to work. You have to want to pursue greatness yourself. That reason is to become the best and most effective CEO they can be, after all what company doesn’t want their CEO to succeed!

One of the goals of a great coach is consistency. A robust plan needs to be designed from the outset this will set up and support your CEO client lasting success way beyond when the coaching engagement has finished.

Jumping in and out of coaching is a bit like jumping in and out of Covid19 lockdowns, frustrating. So to ensure we are progressing a tight structured program is worked through over 12+ months with times allocated and locked into our diaries (these are non negotiable unless you are sick!)…. my rules apply here!!

To take that point a little further, a CEO who works with me as his/her CEO Coach has expectations and they want a ROI (Return on Investment). Similarly I am keen for our time to be extremely focused and proactive, the less time I spend with a CEO the better. The great work is done away from our coaching room……….more about that later.

Great CEO Coaches will bring have the flexibility to work with most people. Chemistry is key, if we cannot work together it doesn’t matter what you do over the 12+ months its not going to work.

Their are many successful and great CEO Coaches around the world some are in the hall of fame, others are just embarking on their coaching careers. When selecting a coach work with someone you feel you can connect with on many levels! This includes in the board room and in the outside world, family etc…..

A great coach will bring structure, proven accredited leadership program and the insights to ensure the CEO is developing. If you are paying good money to work with a CEO Coach then he/she cannot fake it, just like a great surgeon they have spent 10,000s+ of hours crafting their trade. You have to have trust in your surgeon just like you must have trust in your coach, does he or she have only the very best for you and are they going to challenge you and support/encourage you? Do their tools/programs/processes support you as a CEO? It is your job as the CEO to find these things out yourself (not from a third party).

The CEO who is effectively coached can and should expect to perform better and sustain this for the long term (remembering their are no short cuts to long term success). A CEO is no different to that elite sports-person, great CEOs work with a coach and they do so because (they) want to be better.

In my experience there are a few specific reasons for a CEO to hire a CEO Coach but the over aching sense I gain from my clients is they simply want to become the best and most effective CEO they can be.

What CEO Coaches Do

So what really does happen?

In my humble view I can only relate to my coaching business and the way I go about ensuring my clients get the ROI they deserve. Having spoken and intereviewed a number of exceptionally talented CEO Coaches around the world it is my personal view that the most effective CEO coaches are the ones who have either created, developed (and proven) a process or a program that has been certified, it has as I like to put it the ‘stamp of approval’. My work with a CEO has been created by one of the top executive coaches in the world and has been accredited by the leading coaching associations in the world. Many CEO Coaches have wonderful coaching processes and tools and many cross over each other. Here’s my approch to working successfully with a CEO

  • vetting process (working with CEOs you have to get the chemistry right)

  • agree rules of the engagment (what are our commitments to each other & expectations from each other)

  • sign legal documents and NDA (non-disclosures)

  • agree timetable (non-negotiable)

  • identify who are the key stakeholders across the CEOs organisation to be part of this coaching work

  • meet those key stakeholders and have the CEO part of these meetings

  • observe the CEO in key meetings (internally/externally) – gather insights, observations, thoughts

  • use leadership assessments, individual, 360s etc

  • debrief, reflect, readings, learnings, behaviour change takes place over many months

  • measuring the progress that the CEO is doing (from those stakeholders) +/- what are peoples observations etc

As part of my work with a CEO I try and put in regular progress updates rather than waiting for assessments to come back or at the end of our coaching engagment. Why? so we can put plans in place if we need to correct our direction. Being open and leaving nothing off the table is a great way to partner together!

Once the engagment has come to an end we put in place follow up at various times over the coming years.

How CEO Coaches and CEOs measure progress?

Having key stakeholders part of the CEO program will be a good indication as to exactly how he/she is progressing. Involving these stakeholders allows for what I like to call the ripple effect to take place and greater learning for all across an organisation. Progress should be identified in the timetable and assessments used to prove what the CEO is progressing on and if they are dropping the ball in other areas. These assessments must relate back to what the CEO and CEO Coach have identified as the key areas to work on and not an endless list of things to tick off. As we together identify those key areas we then get laser focused on working on those areas.

At the end of the day only the CEO can really say hand on heart if he or she is improving. Stakeholders will allow the CEO Coach to understand the behaviours and the assessments will higlight this but the CEO Coach’s job here is to really go deep, hold that mirror up and ensure his/her clients are being genuine to their development.

How CEOs and Companies Benefit from CEO Coaching?

Many of my CEO clients start with me and say, Nick I feel like I am not myself, that I am having to be someone else, that I know what my strengths are we only need to focus on my weaknesses…….does that sound familiar?

Better self-awareness and self-regulation are two of the most important benefits of CEO Coaching. This work that a CEO does will affect them and the overall organistion (in a positive way). The CEO who is not aware of his/her tendencies, strengths and weaknesses may well hold back the organisation – no board or chairperson wants this from their CEO.

CEOs who are willing and prepared to tailor their actions, efforts and thoughts will progress themselves and the organisation forwards. The ripple effect will naturally take place.

I believe that exceptional coaches help the CEO with confidence and self-awareness. If you have a CEO who is confident and self aware (not arrogant or dominating) then what do you think this will install in the wider leadership group, teams, organistions, shareholders etc? The CEO is at the helm of an organisation for a reason. Those CEOs who have a high level of empathy, emotional intelligence, are relatable, honest and easy to talk with will lift an organisation onto greater things. Having a CEO who is genuinely themselves will attract great talent, will bring communities together, will future the future talent/leaders – surly this is why anyone would want to be a CEO?

CEO Coaching not only supports the CEO create lasting positive behaviours, address the gaps and allow an empathetic approch to their leadership, it can also help them understand how others really do view them/see them and ultimately how will the CEO get the very best from those around them! It’s a team sport being a CEO but all great teams have a leader who they follow, they trust and above all will go way beyond what is expected of them. A CEO job is lonely having the confidence in your CEO Coach to be yourself will enable this to come back into the work force.

I want to bring the very best out of you, I want you to have a clear mindset, I want you to be confident in what you do, I want you to be the very best you can be. That makes me so happy.

Selecting a CEO Coach

My business has grown through world of mouth, selection of a CEO Coach is vital to ensuring you become the very best you can be. My advice is to focus on the fit for you as a CEO, get to spend time with the CEO Coach and understand their why, glossy brochures are not always the best indication. Speak to their referees, find out from their clients. Check on their qualifications/credentials, track record. Be clear with them what you want to do and allow the CEO Coach to share why they might be the best fit for your needs!

For the CEO select a coach who has life experience (not just text book experience) CEO Coaches don’t necessary need to have been a CEO to make a good coach. Just look at Tiger Woods for that – they hire the coach who has the skills to support them. If you are going to hire a CEO Coach who has been a CEO then are you really looking for a Mentor, rather than a Coach, this is a good question to ask yourself. A Mentor is very different to a CEO Coach.

During your selection process ask the CEO Coach to share their methodology, their assessment tools and very importantly how do they measure success? Are they confident, can they hold a conversation, do they bring a spark to the meeting, do they lift you up (or bring you down). Remember this is going to be a long-term relationship you will be spending time with each other – is their more to this CEO Coach then just Coaching find out.

Will the CEO Coach hold you to account, will they push back on you, will they challenge you or are they just a ‘yes’ person. Don’t hire a yes person if you want to be the greatest you can be.

Over the last few years all research from around the world has shown CEO Coaching is an important tool for business to succeed – having an external coach has so many benefits to not only the CEO but also the others across the organisation.

My final passing thought and it leads back to my media friend who said Nick should’t they know what to do, why then do they need a coach?

The coach’s role is not to do the job of the CEO or to train a CEO in how to ‘be’ a CEO, they should already know what’s expected of them. The underlining area of what the CEO Coach can do, is help the CEO become more effective, waste less time, communicate better, grow others around them for positive lasting legacy! That is the bottom line.

Why Do I Coach CEOs?

…………lets talk

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read today’s leadership blog. I hope it has helped, inspired and given you some helpful insights that you can use.

Look after yourself and look after each other

Nick x

About Your Coach Nick Roud

Awarded Best Executive Coaching Consultancy New Zealand

#3 Executive Certified Executive Coach in the World on Intelligent Leadership (IL) Executive Coaching

A service provider on ‘leadership’ with the Regional Business Partner Network

A coach on the EMBA (Executive MBA) and MBA (Master of Business Administration at one of New Zealand’s most prestigious universities

Embarking on Rehab2Ultraman in 2024!


For a confidential conversation about your leadership coaching needs, call Nick on +6421375630 or email him

Nick Roud

Nick Roud

Executive Leadership Coach

Nick is the Chairman of Nick Roud Coaching and a Global Award Winning Executive Coach. Nick holds the highest coaching qualification MCEC. His clients are typically Chief Executive Officers, Executives and Emerging Leaders. Nick’s office is based in Auckland, New Zealand and he travels extensively around the world to coach his clients. You can contact Nick directly on +6421375630