10 Characteristics of a Successful Advisor

MAY 12, 2021

If you’ve ever considered becoming a business advisor but stopped because you weren’t sure you could do it - you’re not alone. One of the biggest factors that prevents an executive from engaging in advisory work is their lack of experience as an advisor and the fear that comes with it.  

But being a first-time advisor is not a negative factor. In fact, whether someone has served as an advisor many times or it's their first is irrelevant, it all comes down to the positive qualities they possess and the value they bring to the table. Here’s a list of the top tell-tale character traits that let you know if you can be a successful advisor.  

1. Have a genuine interest in helping others succeed. 

Professionals who are most successful in an advisor role are those truly passionate about working side-by-side with a CEO or business leader who needs a little extra help. Fortunately, advisors are being actively sought out by companies in nearly every industry imaginable, so it is easy to find companies with a mission that aligns with your personal interests.   

Plus, being an on-demand advisory work allows you to decide when and how often you engage in opportunities to ensure all participation is meaningful - to both the advisor and  company. On-demand advisors are hired by the hour, on the days and times that best suit their schedule.  

2. Have in-depth expertise on a topic(s) in their field.  

The knowledge and first-hand experiences that executives possess are extremely valuable to companies who need to fill gaps within their organization. If you have a specific expertise or skill-set that relates to a company’s needs, you become a critical asset in helping them overcome challenges or take on new opportunities. 

3. Willingness to share advice and knowledge. 

It’s one thing to be knowledgeable on a topic, but it’s another to want to share that expertise with others. Willingness to share advice is one of the most important aspects of being an advisor. As long as you’re open to teaching others what you know, you can play a very influential role in the success of another company. 

4. Demonstrates effective communication skills. 

Being able to communicate your thoughts and ideas in a way that others can understand is extremely important as an advisor. If the person on the receiving end of your advice doesn’t use the same terminology as you, you’ll need to break it down in a way that resonates with them. 

There are also times when advisors have to be the voice of reason or disagree with a CEO for the betterment of the company, and in doing so they need to be straightforward and realistic with their reasonings. A good advisor provides constructive feedback in a way that encourages change or progress. 

Digital advisory boards, like those sourced through AdvisoryCloud, allow you to communicate directly with companies and CEOs on an ongoing basis to help guide them toward better decision-making and solve their most pressing business needs. 

5. Effectively sets and achieves goals. 

A major component of being an advisor is helping a CEO or leadership team reach a specific goal or goals. CEOs have a lot on their plates, which can sometimes derail them from focusing on an objective they set at an earlier point. A good advisor steers the CEO back on track to make sure they achieve their goals. In doing so, you need to be fair and objective, as well as able to address challenges head-on. 

For professionals looking to diversify their leadership experience, this is a great opportunity to take on new roles and add to your list of accomplishments. 

6. Has a positive attitude and can be a positive role model.

Advisors have the unique opportunity to help shape the success of another company, and as a result they also have a unique relationship with the CEO. Many CEOs view their advisors as a personal mentor and role model, helping them to become better overall leaders. A successful advisor leads by example and provides support and a positive outlook during both good times and bad.

7. Leverages a network of peers. 

In addition to their in-depth expertise, advisors have something else very valuable to offer - business connections. It may seem simple, but making a few introductions could open new doors and opportunities for a CEO. But don’t worry, you don’t need to give away your entire network, but instead evaluate your connections and decide where your business ties can be helpful to both parties involved - and as an added bonus will strengthen your existing relationships. 

8. Ability to listen 

As the person who is more experienced or more knowledgeable on a topic, it can be easier to voice your opinions and ideas. However, listening can be just as helpful. CEOs often need someone to talk through problems or bounce around ideas with, and being an attentive listener will give you insight into their thought processes or direction they’re trying to move toward - which ultimately helps you guide them toward achieving their goals. 

9. Passionate about their work.

If you are passionate about the work you do, it will show. The most successful advisors are those who get excited about solving new challenges and eagerly approach new opportunities. If you are genuinely unimpressed by a company’s mission or values, you will be less motivated to perform well as an advisor. 

10. Values the opinions of others. 

Lastly, a good advisor respects and values the opinions of the people they work with. When you support the ideas of others you are better able to collaborate with them, build off those ideas, and create result-driven objectives.

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