Partner Spotlight: Chief of Staff Expert

Written by vChief

September 5, 2018

We’d like to give you a little more insight into one of our key partners, Chief of We often share resources, and have similar underlying missions in that we want businesses to achieve the highest possible levels of success that come when a chief of staff is utilized efficiently.


Tyler Parris is the founder of Chief of and a Hudson-certified executive and career coach, as well as the author of Chief of Staff: The Strategic Partner Who Will Revolutionize Your Organization. A former corporate chief of staff for pioneering invention company Intellectual Ventures, his career has spanned operations management at Intellectual Ventures, program management at Advaiya, Inc., technical editing at Microsoft, and computer networking in the United States Marine Corps.


At this point in his career, Parris estimates he’s interviewed close to 300 chiefs of staff about their experiences in the role, from a wide breadth of industries and companies. There are a lot of similar issues that come up in almost any chief of staff role, says Parris, and his first aim is to do an assessment of what issues people within the organization are dealing with in order to determine next steps.


“It’s not so much about the coaching process for me, it’s about getting results for people where they are and helping them achieve their goals in this role.”


“The way I describe my coaching work is that it’s kind of a highly personalized process to prove people’s leadership effectiveness,” says Parris. “Where they get stuck, I help them move forward. Where they have blind spots, I help eliminate those. I help them be the best leader they want to be and offer frameworks, models, resources to help them get where they want to go.”


Most commonly, Parris is working with a chief of staff in their first 90 days of the role, trying to get them up to speed and clicking with the executive leadership team as soon as possible. He says often people come into the chief of staff role from operational or program management type roles and may not have had a lot of exposure to the high-level strategies of the organization. Parris helps his client structure the role, hopefully avoiding months of trial and error. “


There’s some things you can do really early on to grease the skids and get things moving as early as possible,” says Parris.


He will occasionally work with people at the tail end of their chief of staff role, helping them determine next steps while feeling the “golden handcuffs” that their leader keeps offering them to stay in the chief of staff role.


“I help them practice conversations they can have to help move things along for them,” says Parris. “I help them think about who they would hire for their replacement.”Parris will also consult with CEOs, board members, and other important players within an organization to determine if there is a need for a chief of staff. And he has coached people who aim to be in the chief of staff role, or want to pitch the value of integrating that role to their leadership team.


Parris has done coaching and consulting both face to face as well as virtually, serving clients all over the world. Chief of also functions as a membership-based website, offering access to coaching worksheets and videos, LinkedIn discussion groups, and articles of interest. Parris also hosts regular workshops, including the upcoming “Managing Conflict Before it Manages Your Leadership” in the DC area on September 21.


For Parris, the main goal at the end of the day is helping people define success and achieve their goals. He says when he asks people if they want a coach, most will say no. But when he asks if they want better horizontal or vertical alignment in their organization, or if they want to identify successes that they can put on their performance review to ensure a better review, bonus, raise, etc., most people are on board with that.


“It’s not so much about the coaching process for me, it’s about getting results for people where they are and helping them achieve their goals in this role,” says Parris. “Really, I’m helping you deliver on what you’re trying to deliver on.”


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