Mentor, Consultant, Or Virtual CEO?

There is a very big difference between a mentor and a consultant. And if you really don’t understand let me enlighten you on a few of the realities of both. A mentor is someone who has been the where you want to be, years the prior, and they now have the experience and wisdom to share with you to help you get through the same pitfalls along the way. If you have someone that you look up to as a mentor, but they’ve never actually done it themselves, then that person is more of a coach than a mentor.

When it comes to consulting, most consultants that have larger firms as clients are really there for the executive management team to cover their butts. That is to say, a consultant comes in and blesses their decision and they have someone to blame if things don’t work out. Interestingly enough, large corporations and executive management teams are willing to pay a lot of money to consultants that will prove them right.

When it comes to smaller businesses and closely held companies, consultants are often looked at in a different light. The entrepreneur, business owner, or small management team of a closely held company is interested in results, but their particular group perhaps does not have the experience in one or two areas that they need to, in order to move forward. They don’t wish to bring another person onto their management team for something that might be temporary, therefore they will hire a consultant.

You can see how mentors, coaches, and consultants are completely different from one another. And then there is the Virtual CEO. This is usually a retired CEO, that doesn’t want to get involved in all the shenanigans of running a company, or have all the stress, but they like being in the game so to speak. They’ve been there and done that, and they didn’t particularly like all the bureaucracy and headaches, but they do like running things, and they know exactly what to do.

Where did the title of Virtual CEO come from? Well, this is Randy Komisar’s title; he is Virtual CEO and has a business card to prove it. He is an invisible CEO who helps out the president and CEO of a large tech company. He is in the background, not in the limelight and helps make the decisions that the current CEO is either uncomfortable with making, or has never made before, and therefore needs a little assistance. Interesting concept isn’t it?