Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

Is CEO Experience Required To Be an Advisor?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011 by AdvisorCatalyst

I have a lot of experience with leading strategy execution as a strong #2, but I have never been a CEO. Do I need to have been a CEO to make a career of advising other CEOs?

No, you do not need to have been a CEO to make a successful career of advising other CEOs. The current group of CEO Advantage advisors includes both those who have been CEOs and those who have not. I actually belong to the latter group, and I have been advising CEOs and executive teams for more than a decade. Certainly, CEO experience is beneficial to being an advisor, but it is not an absolute requirement.

What is important experience for an advisor?

  • Executive-level experience at a midsize or larger organization
  • Familiarity with how the different aspects of business work together (deep knowledge of each area – strategy, marketing, sales, operations, administration, financial, human resources, etc. – is not required).
  • Leading teams and coaching individuals
  • Speaking to groups

You should be able to find success in advising clients by combining these experiences with:

  1. a good process for client delivery,
  2. some additional skills such as listening, asking good questions, business development, etc., and
  3. the right attitude (strong will, work ethic, willingness to learn, humility, etc.).

In sports, we often see that great players don’t necessarily make great coaches, and not all great coaches were great players. Similarly, not all CEOs make great advisors, and not all great advisors to CEOs have been CEOs themselves. In fact, some former CEOs struggle to advise rather than just make decisions for their clients.