"By far the most difficult skill for me to learn as CEO was the ability to manage my own psychology. Organizational design, process design, metrics, hiring, and firing were all relatively straightforward skills to master compared to keeping my mind in check."
Ben Horowitz, American businessman, investor, and author of
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
What Harvard Business Review says about Executive Coaching:
“There’s no question that future leaders will need constant coaching. As the business environment becomes more complex, they will increasingly turn to coaches for help in understanding how to act. The kind of coaches I am talking about will do more than influence behaviors; they will be an essential part of the leader’s learning process, providing knowledge, opinions, and judgment in critical areas…. As coaching has become more common, any stigma attached to receiving it at the individual level has disappeared. Now, it is often considered a badge of honor.”
Ram Charan in a Harvard Business Review article “What can coaches do for you?” by Diane Coutu and Carol Kauffman
Important Questions about Executive Coaching
In sports, athletes always have coaches. ALWAYS! Usually, they do not just have not just one coach either. At the peak of his career, Tiger Woods had 7 coaches.
No matter how brilliant and experienced a CEO or executive is, no matter how much past success he or she has, this is ALWAYS true:
- You cannot give yourself a fresh perspective - no one can
- You cannot effectively coach yourself (even if you successfully coach lots of other people) - again, no one can do that
- Without appropriate coaching, you will stagnate at whichever level you are at now (even if that level is a very high one)
Yet, especially, innovative or highly visionary companies are founded and often led by highly visionary and creative people.
The trap this group of brilliant people often runs into is that they do not hire a coach because
- They don’t realize that they need one.
- They see it as a cost rather than an investment
- They see it as a time investment not worth their time
- They don’t even consider the option
- They are not willing to be coached because they feel they have everything well in their hands
What is the cost of not having a fresh perspective, impartial feedback and a pinch of appropriately applied accountability?
The sad truth is: Most innovators and visionaries have never been taught how to think like a CEO.
No. Executive coaching is equally important for new, seasoned and veteran CEOs and executive because of all the reasons we just cited. As a recent article by Harvard Business Review points out, executive coaching is no longer viewed as a way to fix a weak CEO or executive; it is a badge of honor strong executives proudly wear (besides, since executive coaching is confidential you have to choice whether you want to show that badge to others and if so, to whom).
Factor 1: We speak your language
Top-Notch CEO’s founder, Dr. Stephie Althouse (often called “Dr. Stephie”), is no stranger to the world of innovation and highly visionary work. Her colleagues and her, focused on cutting-edge technology and making the impossible happen. For example, they worked on challenges such as detecting the tiniest amounts of TNT in landmines, which were buried deep enough to be undetectable by existing technologies. Science and innovation left little time or attention for improving leadership skills or business acumen If skills were improved it was the fly, by trial and error. “We are smart, so we can figure this out”, was the prevailing attitude. Yet, much time and money could have been saved, with a bit of top-Notch CEO Coaching. This is precisely the reason why Dr. Stephie Althouse created Top-Notch CEO.
Factor 2: We coach from the perspective of extensive business experience
At Top-Notch CEO, we coach from the perspective of having solid business experience (see more below). There are many executive coaches, even with great certifications, who have never actually run a business, led a team or been successful at company turnarounds. We have. We have worked with CEOs of companies with multiple locations and revenues in the many millions, to CEOs of funded high-tech start-ups.
Our coaching has saved CEOs and high-level executives. Our coaching has saved companies.
Factor 3: We understand the art and science of leading international teams
Understanding the art and science of leading international teams is important because it is very common in innovative, highly visionary companies to have teams composed of talent of different nationalities and ethnicities.
Factor 4: The Top-Notch CEO Methodology Itself
A fourth factor is the actual coaching methodology.
Our executive coaches know how to lead a team.
At Top-Notch CEO, we use solid coaching principles and methodologies and customize them to the needs of our executive clients.
1. Start with a Sample Session
A sample session where we get to know you and your goals and objectives. You and your Exceutive Coach will find out how well you fit with each other.
2. A Formalized Fresh Eyes Assessment™ - (Optional Although Strongly Recommended)
A Fresh Eyes Assessment (FEA) is a very powerful tool. Depending on your goals and objectives, we may recommend that you utilize the FEA to uncover unseen opportunities and challenges in eight critical areas that determine the sustainable success of your company. The Fresh Eyes Assessment can be done in the beginning, or after you have begun your executive Coaching.
3. Goals Setting and Your Business Plan
- Your Executive Coach will ask you about your goals. Often the conversation makes the goals clearer and more specific. Larger goals get chunked down. We help you overcome any overwhelm you might sometimes feel (all of us feel that at times - it is normal).
- The Executive Coach will also ask you about your business plan. In some cases, the existing business plan is either outdated, not yet written or too large to be of practical use for successful day-to-day leadership. Your Executive Coach can help you with that using a simple, yet very powerful tool called the Business Power Plan. With this plan, you and your Executive Coach distill the overall goals down to specific strategies and bite-sized action items.
4. The Weekly Session - and Proven Tools to Accelerate Your Success
- In each (typically weekly) session, you will discuss with your Executive Coach what you have learned this week, what challenges you have encountered, thoughts you want to discuss etc. Everything is confidential.
- The Executive Coach also celebrates with you because, in our experience, you will not celebrate your successes much on your own. There is a tremendous uplift in your success that comes from that brief, but all so important moment of acknowledging how far you have come.
- Each session you will report on the action items you committed to working on the previous week. During each session, you will set new actions items for the new week.
- We utilize the Top-Notch CEO Success Wheel™ in conjunction with the Business Power Plan to help you stay on target and achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. This tools also facilitate a greater opportunity for work-life balance and stress reduction.
Proven Tools to Optimize Building Team, Culture and Leverage
Another aspect that is instrumental in our coaching is that we work with our CEOs on building leverage, greater team harmony, synergy and positive company culture. We offer several proven tools for that purpose. One of them is Talent Positioning™. It is a great tool for optimizing the productivity and job satisfaction of teams by having them work in the flow of their respective top talents. Another tool consists of a set of rules for basic conduct in organizations. These rules are proven to work very well for innovative, highly visionary companies where the idea of having rules is often viewed as constricting creativity.
Dr. Stephie Althouse — known as "Dr. Stephie" to her clients — is an experienced business growth advisor and Executive Coach who is an innovator herself. Her background is a rare combination of science, innovation, business growth experience, and proven leadership.
She's successfully turned around — and then grown high-tech/high-talent companies. It's her wide-spectrum expertise and ongoing studies — from hard science to interpersonal chemistry and group dynamics that uniquely positions her to work well with innovators, entrepreneurs, visionaries and their teams.
Dr. Stephie Althouse is certified as action coach by Coaching Firm International. We are affiliated members of the Institute of Coaching which is affiliated with McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
"My business had stopped growing at the rate I thought it could, and I knew that I needed some help. Dr. Stephie did an incredible job at identifying what makes my business special and helped me to maximize that uniqueness to help grow business. My business is running much smoother and more efficiently, and my stress level has dropped considerably."
Bill Walsh, District Manager, Farmers Insurance, District Carlsbad, CA
"Dr. Stephie has shown herself to be an effective strategist and leader, with a feel for employee attitudes and motivation. She has taken companies to winning awards for their success in generating top financial performance by building employee commitment and dedication. She gets results!"
Martin Staubus, Executive Director, The Beyster Institute
"Dr. Stephie Althouse excels in the corporate world as a Visiting CEO. She developed a "Fresh Eyes Assessment" and does a turn around with troubled companies. She has pulled them from near bankruptcy to profit in a relatively short time. One of her specialties is working with ESOP companies."
June Davidson, Ph.D., President of American Seminar Leaders Association and Coaching Firm International, Asla.com
Dr. Stephie’s CEO coaching program is right on the mark. It is pragmatic — no fuss — and gets you on point quickly. I appreciate the teleconference format as it makes it very easy to participate. It is obvious she has a lot of experience and has spent a lot of time researching and developing the program to get the maximum results. I highly recommend it for anyone that is driven to be successful and wants to further improve strategies and tools needed need to get there.
Karen Taggart, President, Shades of Light, San Diego
“Working with Stephie has been life changing and eye opening. Through Stephie’s guidance, my team is now maximizing their strengths, creating a much more efficient and productive business. More importantly, we are all excited to come to work every day! With Stephie’s coaching, I am now a much happier boss, wife and mother. I am not only reaching my vision, but I am also meeting and exceeding my goals.”
Jill Harris, President, Harris Insurance Agency, JHFARMERS.com
“Dr. Stephie is a driven and highly energetic executive. She has kept the team focused, and the company growing, even during the recent economic cycle. Last year’s revenues increased 41%. Stephie has expanded the company’s portfolio of products and skills into new technology areas. Client satisfaction is very high.”
Jim Waring, Executive Chairman, CleanTECH San Diego
Our session with you today is so valuable it will more than pay for your compensation for the whole year! While we thought about doing the analysis you did with us today, we would have never done it. For sure, we could not have done it so well. Coaching with you by far exceeds all of our expectations. THANK YOU!"
Ted Przybylek, President, RanchoTed Real Estate Loans & Investments, RanchoTed.com
The Top-Notch CEO Coaching Circle and “101 Quick Tips for high-Talent Companies” book are very helpful. They force me to step back, pause and reflect on what I want to accomplish, as well as review Hi-Z with a fresh perspective. Beyond that, the peer group provides an outside viewpoint from other business leaders unrelated to Hi-Z. Having this type of forum as a sounding board is invaluable. Thank you, Dr. Stephie!
Jill Elsner, CEO / CFO, Hi-Z Technology, Inc.
Fantastic CEO!! Couldn’t ask for a better person to steer the ship of my company. Great advisor, problem solver, people person, and system analyst.
Joy Megas, CEO, Simply Pay Yourself First
"Dr. Stephie Althouse is an insightful and creative consultant and executive coach. Her Fresh Eyes Assessment has been integral to positioning the company for higher profits. She has displayed tireless dedication, tremendous skill and beyond-the-call-of-duty commitment in guiding us in our efforts to create our family legacy."
Eddie Moreno, Vice-President, Sales at The Arrowhead Leasing Company, Inc.