There are a number of factors that can impact what a COO is responsible for at a company. BEFORE an engagement begins I would provide an honest assessment of where I can help and what is out of scope.
The main goal of this type of COO is to implement, communicate and support the strategies created by the CEO and other senior executives. The Executor’s focus is on daily operations, allowing the CEO to manage larger, overarching company strategy and vision.
This COO still maintains a focus on day-to-day business operations, but was hired to spearhead and lead a specific initiative. This might include supporting a large-scale organizational shift like rapid growth, restructuring or leading the charge to profitability.
Just as the name implies, the Mentor COO is responsible for supporting and guiding a newer CEO or junior operator. In these cases, the COO role may change or shift as the new CEO learns the ropes, or may even disappear entirely when the CEO no longer needs the COO’s support. This COO could also mentor a rising star within your organization to be the long-term COO.
The Other Half COO serves to compliment the skills, style and expertise of the CEO, becoming the “other half” of the senior management team. If the company’s CEO manages with a direct and aggressive management style, for instance, organization leaders may select a calmer, more modest individual as the COO.
This type of COO takes the Other Half role to the next level. In some cases, the CEO simply works best with a partner in a co-leadership style. They will often divide the functions of the company between them based on fit with their experience.