A complete journey for leaders as they navigate a disruptive world to inspire, motivate and grow the business and themselves.

As the world of work has changed, so have the demands on leaders. To meet the dynamic needs of businesses and workforces, we need a different kind of leader. People who can drive impact across and beyond the ecosystem. They must be authentic and open. Inclusive and empathetic. Driven and agile. Able to perform and transform the business.

Supported by our deep industry expertise, 55+ years of coaching experience, and research-based IP, Korn Ferry’s executive coaches guide leaders through an approach tailored to personal, interpersonal and organizational needs, carefully linking to organizational strategy and goals.


Powering executive performance, tailored to your objectives

  • Executive coaching

    Our Executive coaching helps leaders perform and transform - rising to the challenges of today and maximizing the future opportunities facing their organization. Our coaches draw on the richest portfolio of assessment tools and combine proven methodologies with a highly tailored approach to meet the needs, expectations and preferences of each leader. It’s a powerful combination that gives us an unmatched ability to enhance effectiveness. 

  • Transition and onboarding coaching

    Our coaches focus on accelerating performance and increasing new leaders’ impact and success in the crucial first 100 days. Whether a leader is new to the organization or has been recently promoted, our coaching is customized to each leader and linked to key organizational challenges.

  • Enterprise Leader Institute® (ELI)

    The move from executive to Enterprise Leader is more than just a promotion. Acknowledged by Fast Company as the “Mayo Clinic” of leadership development, this 12-month program provides emerging and existing C-suite and senior executives with transformative development experiences that empower them to solve today’s greatest business challenges and execute tomorrow’s strategies.

  • Chief Executive Institute ™ (CEI)

    Our Chief Executive Institute uniquely equips a new or emerging CEO for success. Over the 18-month engagement, each CEO successor candidate works with their own team of four consultants, including a former CEO, to perform a deep-dive into their leadership and prepare them for CEO leadership. The experience includes a three day in-residence, in-depth examination of four distinct areas of CEO leadership, and unlimited access to the consultant team throughout the engagement.


Coaching inside-out and outside-in

We believe that purpose and success come from both “inside-out” and “outside-in” coaching. Inside-out focuses on a person’s traits and motivations, helping leaders clarify their goals and gain insight into how their beliefs and values drive their behaviors. Outside-in coaching centers on organizational goals, which help leaders better understand how their organization defines success and how others perceive them.

By connecting these two coaching perspectives, we help leaders perform and transform at personal, interpersonal and organizational levels. 


Our coaches

Who can understand the dynamic, evolving role of senior leaders? People who have been senior leaders.

Our coaches work with CEOs and executive leaders every day. But they have also been Executive Directors, Chief Learning Officers and COOs. We even have former Army Intelligence Officers, organizational psychologists and people who have served on Advisory Councils for Global CEOs. They never stop learning.

Our coaches maintain credentials from ICF, IPEC, BCC and other internationally recognized coaching certifications and many also have advanced degrees including master's, doctorates and post-doctoral training.

Each coach offers the best foundation for both support and accountability by building deep, authentic relationships. And they come to every session backed by Korn Ferry’s proven IP and assessment tools proven to produce excellent results.

Talk to an expert

Frequently asked questions about Executive Coaching

What is executive coaching?

Even when leaders reach the pinnacle of an organization, they can’t stop growing. If they stagnate, so will the organization. So, to continue their arc of personal growth, executives need to find a trusted sounding board. They need a place to test their ideas and challenge their assumptions. And they need someone to introduce them to new thoughts and processes.

The problem is that leaders are often isolated. There are few outlets for peer-level support in the executive ranks. That’s why they frequently need to turn to an unbiased expert: an executive coach.

An executive coach is a qualified coaching expert who works with leaders in a variety of ways. Executive coaches ask questions, challenge assumptions, help leaders achieve clarity and offer resources. They provide a confidential and supportive sounding board for their clients. Some executive coaches aim to help leaders improve their self-awareness and clarify their goals. Some work with leaders to unlock their potential so they can achieve their developmental and strategic objectives.

Whatever the individual goal for executive coaching, it’s important to connect that goal to the overall goals of the organization. This approach, called “connected coaching,” is about delivering organizational change while helping individuals perform better and accelerating their careers. Connected executive coaches measure the impact of all coaching assignments. While their immediate focus is helping an executive gain self-awareness, they also look for patterns in aggregated assessment data that they can use to feed insights back into an organization’s talent strategies.

Korn Ferry’s executive coaching services help senior leaders rise to today’s challenges and transform the organization for the future. We draw on the richest portfolio of assessment tools on the market. We then combine proven coaching methodologies with an approach highly tailored to each leader and organization.

What are the benefits of executive coaching for leaders?

Executive coaching is an incredibly effective means of developing leaders. It gives leaders one-on-one attention in areas where they need to develop. But it also delivers much more. Here is a list of some of the benefits of executive coaching for participants.

  • Development suggestions: Coaching participants receive targeted development suggestions that are specific and relevant to their development goals and jobs.
  • Support and guidance: Coaching offers support backed by science-based insights and guidance on focusing priorities and identifying concrete actions.
  • Accelerated development: With development insights and targeted support, coaching participants accomplish their goals faster, improving their performance and increasing their value.
  • Job satisfaction: Because coaching participants feel valued and inspired, they feel engaged and are motivated to drive the company forward.

What are the benefits of executive coaching for the organization?

Organizations can benefit in numerous ways from executive coaching — especially when that coaching is connected to the organization’s purpose. For example, when executive coaches assess their leaders, they can use these insights in two ways. First, they can use the insights to target specific development for the leader. But second, they can generate intelligence from aggregated data that gives them insights into the organization’s talent pool.

The latter is connected coaching’s unique selling point: the whole-business impact. So, if your talent assessments reveal that your leaders lack self-awareness, what does that mean? Are you recruiting the wrong people? Or is there something in your organization’s culture that feeds this behavior? 

So, let’s take a closer look at how executive coaching can benefit your organization:

  • A more effective workforce: Korn Ferry’s corporate coaching delivers targeted guidance on how leaders can close development gaps and establish distinctive strengths. It provides profound insights, focuses priorities and identifies concrete development actions. As a result, leaders will be equipped and motivated to perform at their best. Collectively, they will cultivate a stronger, more productive and more effective workforce.
  • Development where it counts: Korn Ferry coaches identify development opportunities and establish a roadmap for addressing the areas of greatest need. They equip participants with the tools, practices and support essential to increasing their capabilities, improving performance where it will have the most impact.
  • Minimized risk: Korn Ferry’s executive leadership coaching helps organizations get ahead of potential talent management problems. It helps reduce risk by strengthening the leadership pipeline, closing the gaps and fixing the problems that it uncovers.
  • Bottom-line results: Korn Ferry executive coaching participants are more likely to drive organizations forward. They’re highly engaged, proactive and armed with tools to lead. A stronger bench of leaders gives organizations a significant competitive advantage.
  • Increased productivity and cost savings: Korn Ferry coaching participants are more likely to make better decisions. They’re also less likely to make costly business mistakes, resulting in higher productivity and cost savings.
  • Increased retention: Korn Ferry coaching for executives instills in participants a commitment to growing from within and to living up to their full potential. It helps boost organizational retention and morale. This will result in significant cost savings for organizations through higher talent engagement and reduced attrition.

Why do organizations need executive coaching now?

The need for coaching, support and a broader understanding of what’s going on in the world is critical to any organization’s success. And that is especially true for an organization’s leaders.

With the speed of change and constant disruption, it’s never been more challenging to be a leader. Today, success is less about what leaders know and more about how they think. But it hasn’t always been that way. In times of certainty, leaders know how to act.

But change decreases certainty. When there’s less certainty, leaders have less confidence. In times of disruption, leaders must instinctively know what to do, even when it’s impossible to know what the right choice is.

Today, we need executive leaders who can take their teams and their people on a journey into the future where nothing is certain. We need leaders who are able to lead with confidence.

Unfortunately, you can’t just enroll your leaders in a training course and teach them new ways to think. Leaders need someone by their side, talking them through it every step of the way. Business coaching makes that happen.

Executive leaders bear the brunt of high expectations. Everyone expects them to get results despite change. And everyone expects leaders to transform their organization to stay ahead of that change. Add to that society’s expectation that executives should also lead in their communities, and it’s a tremendous weight to bear.

Societal expectations of leaders present challenging issues that some executives aren’t prepared to confront. Sometimes they’re issues that executives aren’t familiar with. So, one role of a coach is to point leaders in the right direction when they’re inexperienced with a subject. Coaches can help leaders become more familiar with a wide variety of topics that they may be called upon to address as leaders of their organizations.

Executive coaching can spur a leader’s agility. It helps leaders recognize that they can rely on themselves to be able to engage with their teams. Perspective from a skilled executive coach can also show them how to lead their organizations in a different way.

Coaching equips leaders to meet a future that is very different from anything that they’ve experienced in the past. That’s especially important when the onus on leaders is increasing as organizations recognize the need to transform. Coaching allows executive leaders to feel that they can demonstrate the confidence and skills needed for today and for tomorrow.

In short, executive coaching is one of the fastest ways to help a leader grow. Executive coaching helps leaders land on deeper insights and reach more clarity to better lead in their role at their organizations. It can also help your organization manage important leadership transitions, sustain behavior change and achieve better results.

How can you recognize a good executive coach?

Executive coaches must serve as a mirror, facilitator, trusted advisor and source of external perspective to the leader. Effective coaches provide clear, direct feedback to create an atmosphere with the right balance of challenge and support to equip the participant, orchestrate development and accelerate learning.

Good executive coaches are able to meet their clients where they are. But they also challenge clients to discover new insights and achieve clarity that they couldn’t have reached themselves. When you’re choosing an executive coach, look for the following attributes:

  • Qualified: They should hold a current executive coaching credential. Look for executive coaches credentialed by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). The ICF has strict requirements for education and experience. They also require executive coaches to demonstrate an understanding of coaching competencies and to adhere to ethical guidelines.
  • Experienced: Executive coaches should have significant leadership experience. Depending on the scope of the engagement, industry experience is also likely an important consideration. This is particularly true for connected coaching engagements, so the business coach can make meaningful connections between individual coaching and organizational goals.
  • Creative: Professional coaches rely on proven methodologies. However, they should also be experienced enough to realize when they need to adapt their methods to different clients and situations.
  • Inquisitive and open-minded: It’s all about the coach’s ability to ask the right questions. Without the right questions, leaders won’t get the right answers. But executive coaches also need to be open-minded so they can appreciate answers they hadn’t considered.
  • Flexible: Executive coaches should tailor their approach to the executive’s personal and interpersonal needs. But they also must be mindful of the organization’s needs, strategies and goals. And they must model the ability to deal with ambiguity. They must be able to strike the right balance between inquiry and discovery and advice and guidance. 
  • Bold: The best coaches aren’t afraid to challenge leaders’ mental models and assumptions. Only then can coaches expose beliefs and patterns that no longer serve leaders and those they lead. And only then can they introduce new mindsets that can help the leader continue to develop. 
  • Trustworthy: Coaching relationships must be built on trust, and trust has to be earned. To set the stage to build trust, coaches must establish clear expectations at the outset, including that sessions are confidential. Coaches must also set goals for each session. That way, coachees know what to expect and recognize what they accomplish in every session.
  • Curious: Good coaches are authentic and deeply curious about the individuals who are in front of them. They want to understand what makes their coachees tick. They want to learn about their hopes and dreams and how they can be aligned with the organization’s goals. Good executive coaches are able to tap into their coachee’s inner world. With this insight, coaches can help leaders how to move forward in their own best interests and the organization’s interests.
  • Respectful: Mutual respect is the foundation for every coaching relationship. Coaches should respect their clients. That means they must respect where they’ve come from and what they’ve gone through. That respect should also extend to how they feel about them and how others experience them. Finally, coaches must respect leaders’ desire for and degree of aspiration.
  • Humble: Coaches are in a position of privilege. Leaders who trust their coach are at their most vulnerable. In turn, coaches must present themselves as trusted experts ready to help executives rethink, reframe and reconnect with their own thoughts, ideas, hopes and aspirations.