Former Vistage Coach

Vistage Coach… Why I Quit

Vistage Coach – why I’m no longer that

Ten years ago, when I first started as a Vistage Coach. It was a new world for me. I fell in love with my new profession. The screening process was grueling, the training process challenging. Everyday I learned something new about myself, people and leadership. I loved the science and the art of coaching. At the end of that process I was deemed a Vistage Coach… referred to as a chair (I rather be a love seat than a chair which would be a much better Paul Simon song than I’d rather be hammer than a nail).

Over the years with Vistage, I honed my craft. The company offered numerous continuing education programs in the art of coaching. Then in 2012, a PE firm, Tower Brook Partners took a controlling interest in the Vistage and everything changed. The company focus went from emphasis on the art of coaching to the business of coaching. Education dollars seemed diverted from creating a better Vistage Coach to creating a Vistage Salesperson, from educating coaches to sales and marketing training. The focus shifted to recruiting new chairs and starting new groups at the cost of delivering better product.


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By that time, Mr Cranky’s brand in DC was more established than the Vistage brand and yet I was sharing over 40% of my billing with a company that no longer served my needs.

Fortuitously, at that time, a client of mine reached out with a…”hey, would you like to join our firm?” Great timing…I was in. Here was a great offer from a team I believed in and even though I loved coaching, I lost my passion for Vistage. In addition, I couldn’t just leave Vistage and hang up my own shingle. I was prevented to going out on my own by a non-compete.

“I have been one of Glen’s coaching students in the Vistage Direct program. I found him to be direct, analytical, and inspiring. I always received ideas of value but, more importantly, always left with a few action steps to improve my business. I particularly remember an online group session where I was the only one who showed up. Expecting Glen to cancel he forged ahead. We had a memorable session. I believe this is a wonderfully designed concept. If I lived in Greater DC I would sign up.” — Dr Penn Moody, CEO & Founder, Moody Eyes

Fast forward to today or a year ago today. no-longer encumbered by a non-compete, I sought out to design a better Peer Advisory Group, using my lessons from Vistage as a guide.  Here’s my Blue Ocean Strategy of the old Vistage Model:

 

Feature Old New
Meeting Length Full Day – 1/2 day guest speaker, 1/2 day issue processing CEO’s don’t have the time available to spend 1 full day a week away from the business like when Vistage was first started 50 years ago. Eliminating the 1/2 day speaker program and focusing on Issue Processing I am able to deliver a better value to time investment ration. The peer group working together is the highest value component of any peer advisory group and by limiting meetings to 4 hours we can leave a substantial amount of the day for a business leader to spend time in the office.
Speaker Limited list of chair-chosen, Vistage-approved speakers. The best speakers have limited availability and can be seen elsewhere. The speaker’s goal is to demonstrate value and sell their services to Vistage members. Speakers that don’t get business from Vistage members consider their speaking engagements a loser. In DC there are more than enough chances to book and see the world’s best speakers at reasonable prices. Sitting in a session to hear a speaker that is a compromise between a leader’s individual interest and the availability the limited number of Vistage speakers compounded by compromising the choice with the interests of the other 16 members in a group reminds me of the story of a camel. A camel is a horse designed by committee or maybe makes me think… what committee designed a skunk?
Mandatory 1-on-1 Coaching Sessions Bundled and charged whether you require a session or have time for one. 1-to-1’s are optional and highly discounted as much as 40% over non-member rates.  Schedule them when you need them and only when you need them. Don’t pay for meetings you don’t need or can’t attend.
Group Size Up to 18 members Up to 12 members per group. More than 12 people in a group is great for revenue but bad for members.
Monthly Cost Speakers, 1-on-1s, & full day group sessions are approximately $1,200 per month. Unbundled – Monthly meetings $500, and online 1-on-1s $150.
Average Annual Cost Approximately $14,400 12 meetings & six 1-on-1s = $6,900 leaving a significant amount of money to go see a speaker in Paris or Maui with your significant other.

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