5 Questions to Ask Before Joining an Executive Peer Group

All Blog Posts, Coaching, Vistage Peer Groups / 17.12.20130 comments

CEO peer groups provide a safe place for business leaders to discuss their most challenging business problems. Not all peer groups are the same however. Here are five things to consider before joining a peer group.

1. Who chairs the meetings? 

Some executive coaching groups are run by volunteers, other groups rotate meeting facilitation duties amongst themselves, and still other groups rely on paid, highly trained, business leaders to keep the meetings on track and assure all members are receiving value.

Most business leaders find that the biggest expense in belonging to a group is not the membership fees – it is the value of the time that they spend in the meetings. A professional chair can dramatically increase the value you receive from those peer meetings.

To evaluate a chair’s credentials, ask:

  • What is their education and experience – not only in running a business, but in executive coaching and group facilitation?
  • What national awards or recognition have they received for their chairing?
  • How do they measure their own effectiveness and the effectiveness of their group?
  • What do they do to continually improve their skills as a group chair?
  • To what extent are they sought out as an expert by local and national media?
  • What do their members say about them on their website or on LinkedIn?’


2. Is monthly individual mentoring and executive coaching included?

World-class athletes and other professionals have a coach, why shouldn’t you?

Find out if members meet monthly with their chair to dig deeper into challenges and opportunities and to make sure they are getting the very best their peer group has to offer.


3.  Who else is in the group? 

Make sure there are several people in the group who have been where you are going and have expertise and experience that you don’t.

  • In addition to assuring there are no direct competitors in the group, attend a meeting to find out:
  • Are there companies of various sizes and industries?
  • Are some recognized as leaders in their industry?
  • How do you feel about the chemistry of the group?
  • Are members helping each other with critical issues?
  • Do they challenge one another and ask the tough questions?
  • Do they support one another?
  • Do people seem to enjoy being there?


4.  What access do you have to business expertise outside of your peer group members?

Although the interactions you have with your immediate peer group members are invaluable, CEO peer groups are more effective when additional resources enrich the experience.

Consider these questions:

  • Does the group bring in great speakers?
  • Is there a broader community in your city, state, country or globally that you can call on for help?
  • Do they have a website to connect with other members and leading experts to get help between meetings?


5. Are there groups for their direct reports? 

A key barrier to growth is having strong people beneath you so that you can elevate and delegate.  Is there a way to help them grow their people in addition to themselves?


Brian L. Davis, PhD is the leading Vistage chair in Minnesota.  With one of the highest-rated Vistage chair practices in the country, Mr. Davis has coached some of the top executives in the Twin Cities.  Mr. Davis business leadership coaching skills have been noted by a variety of publications, including The Minneapolis Star TribuneThe Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, and Entrepreneur Magazine.

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