We are often asked why people need coaches, and this is especially true at the Executive Level. "I'm already an EVP, SVP or C-level executive, how can you help me?" So, here is the counter-question. Who do you think is the best athlete ever to play the game in your favorite sport? Do you think he or she had a coach even when they were at the top of their game playing at the very highest level? Of course they did.
When you reach the executive level, the people who work around you become ensconced (whether you like it or not, and whether you created it or not) in a lot of unnecessary cultural garbage. They will often become afraid to the tell you the truth, or they might be afraid to give you bad news. The people often become concerned with how they are perceived in your eyes instead of doing what is right. Sometimes, what is right is hard. Some people become more focused on the next promotion so that things are often left unsaid. The executive coaches role then is to be in a position to share the truth and be painfully direct when necessary.
There is also a benefit of having someone who isn't in the situation give feedback on things like communications, metric alignment, the culture and other items that are hard for someone in the organization to discuss. This external and unbiased approach often pays huge dividends to the organization at large as it helps to develop a more comprehensive perspective on the health of the organization.
One other very important value to the organization is to help the executive (new or seasoned in the executive role) find clarity. Executives are often pulled in so many different directions that they become less effective because they are spread so thin. We refer to this as being "a mile wide and an inch deep" when what we want from most executives is to drive things "an inch wide a mile deep" to raise the effectiveness of the position.
This approach is also very helpful to new executives. People who may be new to the executive role, or who have just assumed a great deal more responsibility as a result of a reorganization or promotion. Starting right is much easier than getting right after lengthy time in position.