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Korn Ferry Study identifies leadership challenges being coached most often

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Study Also Identifies Top Coaching Needs for Leaders in Times of Volatility and Uncertainty

LOS ANGELES, APRIL 3, 2015 — Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY), the preeminent authority on leadership and talent, today released results of a global study that shows the importance of executive coaching and the impact it has on organizational success.

Korn Ferry surveyed more than 200 coaches from around the globe who are part of Korn Ferry’s coaching network—professionals who listen to, guide, and counsel thousands of senior leaders. The coaches responded to questions about the challenges leaders face most frequently, which coaching interventions they use most often with clients, and what competencies they see as most essential for leading companies through complex and uncertain business conditions.

As part of the survey, respondents were asked to identify the top 10 most frequent coaching topics by level of leader. Responses identified interpersonal and communication skills such as influence, listening, and empathy as key coaching topics across all levels of leadership. Self-awareness, a topic identified in research as crucial yet frequently a derailer, ranks high for all leaders and is at the top of the list for C-suite leaders.

Following in order are the top 10 coaching topics for C-Suite-Level leaders:

1. Self-awareness

2. Interpersonal relationships, listening skills and empathy

3. Influence

4. Leading during times of change

5. Communication skills

6. Motivation and engagement, leading with vision and purpose

7. Building effective teams

8. Strategy and strategic thinking

9. Working with uncertainty and ambiguity, decision skills

10. Mentoring, developing internal talent, succession

Following in order are the top 10 coaching topics for Business Unit Leaders (SVP, VP):

1. Interpersonal relationships, listening skills, empathy

2. Influence

3. Self-awareness

4. Communication skills

5. Motivation and engagement

6. Building effective teams

7. Mentoring, developing internal talent, succession

8. Delegation, empowerment

9. Leading during times of change

10. Working with uncertainty and ambiguity, decision skills

Following in order are the top 10 coaching topics for Mid-Level Leader: Senior Manager or Function Head:

1. Interpersonal relationships listening skills, empathy

2. Influence

3. Communication skills

4. Self-awareness

5. Delegation, empowerment

6. Building effective teams

7. Motivation and engagement

8. Working with uncertainty and ambiguity, decision skills

9. Mentoring, developing internal talent, succession

10. Time and energy management

As leaders drive innovation and adaptation at relentless speeds, they must sustain a core enduring vision to keep their organizations focused. Coaches reflect this in their survey feedback, listing “clarifying purpose” and “articulating meaning,” as well as “creating and communicating vision,” as top coaching needs for leaders in times of volatility and uncertainty.

“While coaches previously may have helped individual leaders craft and articulate a vision, moving forward they see the need for leaders to co-create the vision by engaging a wider network of relationships,” said Korn Ferry Global Lead for Executive Coaching Allen Moore.

One respondent summed up the comments of many: “Coaches will have to move beyond the realm of the one-to-one, isolated coaching relationship. They will need to be engaged in and understand the business, the organizational and social systems and the dynamics of the senior team.” Such responses suggest that, beyond working with leaders to clarify vision and direction, coaches also should work with leaders’ broader teams to support shared meaning, coherent action, and agreed upon practices.

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is the preeminent authority on leadership and talent. For decades, clients have trusted us to recruit leaders throughout the world. Today we are their partner in designing strategies to accelerate business outcomes through talent.

 

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