Why I became a Vistage Chair

vistage chair businesspeople

Once you have led a company — and have been the captain of the ship — what could possibly top it? Many retired or retiring business leaders have discovered executive coaching as their post C-suite calling — a role many have found to be even more fulfilling than that of CEO. Vistage Chair Kevin McKeown put it succinctly: Becoming an executive coach “is an honor, because you’re leading leaders.”

If you’ve thought about becoming a consultant in your retirement years, think again. Below, seven seasoned business leaders will take you through their reasons for becoming a Vistage Chair. It may get your wheels turning about your next business venture.

Maximize my impact on influential leaders

I was a CEO for 25 years in the film business. I was looking for something to do with the rest of my life that would have a lot of impact — some way to leverage my skills and experience. When the Vistage opportunity was brought to my attention, I realized pretty quickly that it was something that I could do to maximize the impact I have because I can help other people, who have lots of resources, have a beneficial impact on society.

Jed Daly, Vistage Chair | Los Angeles, CA

Benefit from a rich learning experience

The life of a Chair for me has been extraordinarily rich. If you have any orientation towards learning, it is the best learning experience you will have as an adult, hands down. It’s just a feast. And I’ll also say that I’ve been changed in this process myself. I believe I’m a different person than I would have been had I not been a Chair for the past 25 years. As one of my members once said to me: Vistage is the only place I go every month where no one has any other agenda than to be helpful. That’s pretty powerful. It’s a trusted place, everyone gets what it’s like to be a CEO, there’s no competitors, no suppliers and no hidden agendas, only a bunch of people that want to help make you successful. That is the edge that it definitely has over just being a consultant.

—Allen Hauge, Vistage Chair | St. Louis, MO


Leverage the Vistage model for an effective executive coaching practice

In an individual coaching practice, it can be lonely. In addition to doing the work you love, you’ve got to worry about the billing, making sure that you’re constantly focusing on the next project, and there tends to be a feast-or-famine cycle in the doer/seller model. Whereas with Vistage, to the extent that you can continually be looking at recruiting the best people for your group — and given that people stay for an average of seven years — it enables you to smooth out your work life.

—Brian Davis, Vistage Chair | Minneapolis, MN

Inspire growth in others

There will be a text that pops up…and says, “just want to tell you — that rocked. You made a big difference in my life. You made me so uncomfortable, but I’m going to be so much better because of it, thank you.” Can you image that showing up on your phone? That is what it’s all about.

—Jeff Hutsell, Vistage Chair | Kansas

Help leaders and their companies achieve new heights

Understand that this a full commitment, and it’s going to be the most rewarding commitment you’re ever going to have. It’s not just making a company run more successfully. It’s not just helping a company make more money. It’s helping them [CEOs] be a better person and knowing that I was an influence in that and that I’ve encouraged my members as a whole to do that — that’s my why.

—Liza LeClair, Vistage Chair | Milwaukee, WI

Evolve from being the leader of a business to being a leader of leaders

Chairing is an honor because you’re leading leaders. I was getting ready to launch another company. Vistage came recruiting me, and I didn’t really take it serious until I started to deeply understand what it meant to have a peer dynamic. I thought about how that would’ve changed how I led when I was in that position as the president/founder. It’s passion meets purpose meets calling now. I tease out of people what their potential is, and I help other people tease it out of each other, and it creates a wonderful outcome.

—Kevin McKeown, Vistage Chair | Seattle, WA

Take on a new dream job

I’ve been blessed to have worked in five different countries and three different continents, and I thought the impact I was making on the lives of the people that I worked with and led was life-changing. But to be able to see myself have an impact on people…has been life-changing. My wife says I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. And to me, growing up, my dream job was to become a CEO. It’s no longer my dream job. I’m living my dream job.

—George Glover, Vistage Chair | Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK


Category: Leadership

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About the Author: Vistage Staff

Vistage facilitates confidential peer advisory groups for CEOs and other senior leaders, focusing on solving challenges, accelerating growth and improving business performance. Over 45,000 high-caliber execu

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