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What Keeps CEO’s Up at Night?


What Keeps CEO’s Up at Night?


Author:  Nancy Zentis, Ph.D., CEO Institute of OD

Being a CEO is a tough job, and as their coach we need to know how to help them step back from their day-to-day challenges to look at critical issues from a new perspective.  Each coaching session should result in getting the CEO to gain greater insight and inspiration toward solving problems and making decisions.

Many times, coaching sessions provide obvious solutions to current challenges. However, coaching gives CEO’s an opportunity to discuss personal issues in a confidential setting with a trusted, neutral advisor.  An executive coach can help clients come up with very valuable, yet simple, decisions.

Ever wonder what keeps CEO’s up at night?  Here is a list of some common issues that CEO’s have to deal with:

  • How can I increase sales to meet our budget? I need to meet with my team to determine how to generate new revenue.
  • I have no more time in my day and yet keep adding more responsibilities to my list. Everything is a priority.  I’m losing sleep because I’m worried I can’t get things done.  I need more time and find it difficult to delegate.
  • I have an issue with another member of the executive team. He finds fault with everything I do and reports it to the CEO.  I don’t want to lose my credibility.  I don’t know how to bring this up with him.
  • I travel more than 50% of the time to keep up with regional offices. This is not productive.  I need to make some changes.
  • I need to get tougher with my team and hold them accountable for completing projects on time. I’ve been too lax and now need to get tough.
  • I need to fire one of my long-term employees. He is not keeping up with technology and refuses to change. It’s difficult because we are friends.  His lack of performance is impacting others and they are complaining.
  • I’m launching a big change initiative this month and I’m not sure how people will react to it. My direct reports understand the need, but I’m not sure if they’ve communicated to their teams.
  • I tend to work better by myself. I’m not very social with others.  I know I need to interact and communicate frequently with the workforce.
  • I never have time to give feedback to my direct reports. I don’t feel comfortable giving them negative feedback.  I know I need to acknowledge their contributions more often.
  • I need to work with my team on revising the strategic plan. I have some ideas but don’t know how to go about involving the team in the planning.
  • I need to start thinking about succession planning as I want to retire someday and leave the business in good hands.
  • I’m thinking of acquiring several more businesses to strengthen our current product line.

Helping Executives think through some of their daily challenges can help them to solve problems that impact business goals and enables them to create sustainable solutions.

If you are interested in becoming certified as an executive coach, Institute of OD offers an online executive coaching program.  Our Executive Coaching Certification Program helps you develop the skills and expertise necessary to build your reputation as an effective coach.  This program provides participants with the tools and skills needed to develop an integrated executive coaching strategy.

The Executive Coaching Certification Program (ECCP) is offered online over 8 months, meeting 3 hours per month to maximize your development as an Executive Coach.  Each session is delivered through Go-to-training.  Our expert faculty provide interactive discussions, examples, tools, guidelines, and resources to enrich your learning.

About the Author:

Dr. Nancy Zentis is the CEO of Institute of OD, offering online certification programs for those interested in Organization Development, Talent Management, Leadership Development and Executive Coaching, and OD Advanced Skills courses for ongoing learning.  She can be reached at info@instituteod.com.  For more information about our certification programs and short courses, visit our website www.instituteod.com.


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