A lot of work goes into preparing the ground before John takes in a team of coaches into a country for what are known as transformation programmes. The critical one is that we have buy in from the top, which includes not only the top of the country but the top of key areas - pillars of influence - such as government, business, social security, education and media. We have little time once the trainers are there - less than a week - so we have to make sure that it is as effective as possible. I will talk about the transformation programmes another time but the main point is that the top people have to buy in before we start.
So back to the company and the CEO. The description was of an autocratic leader who led through fear and has so far done well so there was no reason to change.....right? In fact there were many things to change in his behaviour but there was no one on his executive team who dared to give the feedback that was needed - i.e. that the CEO was moody (and therefore behaviour and decisions depended on what mood they were in), didn't listen if someone voiced a different idea and always thought they were right.
Now there may be some merit in attempting to develop leaders in that organisation: leaders who want to behave in a way that makes their teams WANT to follow them rather than have to. There maybe merit in coaching people who are working too many hours to keep them the right side of burnout. There may also be merit in working with whole teams so that there are pockets of people who what to bring about change. But that all takes time, especially as this is a large company- and is not tackling the fact that poor behaviours are both modelled and rewarded.
People do what people see. And if they see that it is best to keep quiet if they want to keep their job and that the style that is rewarded is autocratic, they will behave accordingly if they want to get on.
So until the CEO is convinced that the best way to develop leaders is to model it rather than throw money at it, there is no real value in training just to tick boxes.