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Why CEOs Need 5 Types of Support: You'll be surprised by the 5th!

Walking the path of corporate leadership is a bit like endlessly sailing through uncharted waters. On one side, there’s managing immense pressure and known and unknown responsibilities. On the other, there’s the opportunity to steer the company towards unprecedented success. 

Woman CEO walking to work with coffee, newspaper, and briefcase

Oftentimes, there’s no compass in hand. How does a CEO thrive instead of just survive?

In an ideal world, every CEO would have a robust support system in place. In my experience, this support system can make or break a CEO’s ability to confidently navigate both the turbulent times and times of growth.

Five Types of Support Every CEO Needs

Here’s a closer look at the five types of support every CEO should have and how they can make a significant difference to their mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual health.

  1. An Advisor

When it comes to making strategic decisions, there is no reason CEOs should have to go at it alone. The complex nature of these decisions demands specialized knowledge and seasoned insights that CEOs may not always possess.

This is where advisors come into play. Advisors are experts. They provide pivotal and sometimes difficult to hear guidance that can be crucial for navigating market complexities and spotting new opportunities. Advisors fill essential knowledge gaps and ensure CEOs make well-informed decisions that are not only reactive to current challenges but also aligned with long-term strategic goals.

They can help the CEO as they ensure their strategies are robust, forward-thinking, and tailored to foster sustainable growth.

  1. A Mentor

Imagine having a seasoned veteran in your corner–someone who has already navigated the sometimes stormy seas you are facing and can share invaluable wisdom. This is the essence of what a mentor brings to a CEO

Unlike advisors, mentors provide insights on both professional challenges and on managing life at the helm. Mentors, with their rich lived experience, act as trusted navigators and guides. 

This role is crucial as mentors help buffer the stresses and isolation that often accompany a CEO’s duties. By drawing on lessons they’ve learned from their own struggles, mentors help CEOs manage their roles more effectively.

  1. An Executive Coach

Unlike a mentor or advisor, a business coach works on setting goals and developing professional competencies in a more structured manner. Executive coaching is about unlocking a CEO’s potential to maximize their own performance. It’s a strategic partnership that focuses on evolving the CEO’s skills and helping them chart their future course.

Businesses, more often than not, grow faster than their people. With that in mind, personal and professional development with a business coach can be a key factor in keeping pace. Effective leadership through coaching ensures a CEO can steer their company confidently and competently, navigating through challenges and opportunities alike.

  1. A Therapist

Leading a company can be emotionally and psychologically taxing, which is why talking to a therapist can provide CEOs a safe harbor with a trained professional. It gives the opportunity to reflect and address personal and emotional challenges that might affect their performance. A CEO must have mental clarity and emotional stability to make decisions that are sound and strategically informed. 

This kind of support is not just about coping. It’s about healing and strengthening, making sure to repair your ship before setting sail. Therapy supports this by providing the tools and insights needed for CEOs to manage their responsibilities, while also taking care of their mental well-being.

  1. An HR Leader

A trusted HR professional alongside a CEO is critical for team success.Think of it this way, if a CEO is driving the bus, then their HR leader is in the passenger seat facing the interior making sure all the passengers are equipped with what they need to be healthy and work together. It’s a great combination, right? There’s no way a CEO can keep their eyes on what’s ahead and also watch what’s happening in the bus. 

A strong HR leader is the compass a CEO needs to ensure the people, culture, and business strategy are aligned and functioning well. HR shapes company culture, helps foster psychological safety and belonging, manages talent development, ensures regulatory compliance, and integrates company values. HR’s involvement is critical at all levels of an organization.

For a CEO, an HR leader offers invaluable insights into the workforce that are crucial for formulating and refining company policies and practices. HR helps to forge a workforce that is engaged and highly motivated, creating the environment where goals are achieved. HR’s impact, when used correctly, can be profound, directly influencing the organization’s trajectory. This is why they need to have a seat next to the CEO.


Navigating the challenging seas of corporate leadership demands more than just a vision and determination. It requires a comprehensive support system tailored to address the multifaceted aspects of a CEO’s role. When used together, these supports will enhance any CEO’s ability to lead with confidence and insight.

Now that you see why these five types of support are necessary for all CEOs, ask yourself:

  • How many do you have?

  • Which types are you missing?

  • Which one surprises you the most?

  • How could your leadership as a CEO be improved if you had all five?

  • What would it take to create this support system? There are creative ways to fill these positions if time, capacity or finances are an issue at first. Think outside the box.

We invite you to share your thoughts on the types of support that have been the most beneficial for you or explore how utilizing HR support could change your leadership experience. Reach out to us for more information on how utilizing an outsourced HR team can elevate your own role at the helm of your business.


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