COO Vs. Chief Of Staff

The corporate world has a variety of professionals. They pursue diverse career paths to maximize their potential in the business environment. Their roles intertwine at various organizational levels. The differences between them make the corporation rich in talent. Let us know about “COO Vs. Chief Of Staff”

COO Vs. Chief Of Staff

The Chief Operations Officer (COO) and the Chief of Staff (COS); are part of the senior management team in a large-sized organization. They provide advisory services to the Board of Directors (BOD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO); concerning various issues affecting their specialization areas. In this article, we are going to review their significance in an organization.

Similarities Between A COO And A COS 

Hierarchical Ranks

They are both C-level professionals in an organization who are high-ranking officers in an organization. They are decision-makers and policymakers. They determine the courses of action to take in their area of specialization.

Team Members

They both have independent teams to ensure they perform their duties. The COO team forms the various departments in an organization. The COS team works directly with the CEO to ensure his office undertakes its mandate. 

Reporting Lines

They both report to the CEO and assist him with running the organization. They are members of senior management who are answerable to him on the organizational structure. Other employees in an organization report to them based on their job specifications. They are in charge of several departments in an organization.

Supportive Role

They both deputize the CEO when he is not available to attend to duties. The COO will monitor operations and ensure systems are functional. The COS makes sure that the executive decisions and actions implemented work by constantly updating the CEO and getting his feedback.

Problem Solving 

They both try to resolve management issues before escalating the complex cases to the CEO. The COO resolves administrative challenges within and without the organization. The COS resolves employee issues before they reach the CEO.

Advisory Role

They both provide advisory services to the CEO on issues affecting the organization. They are experts in their field and interact directly with stakeholders. Therefore, they have a better understanding of the challenges facing the organization and appropriate solutions.

Advocacy Role

They are both intermediaries between the CEO and other employees. They highlight the issues affecting other employees in the various departments. They also give feedback from the CEO to the employees.

Differences Between A COO And A COS 

Job Description 

The COO deals with operational and administrative issues. It involves monitoring and evaluating structures and systems to maximize the potential for the organization. He also introduces mitigating measures when the operations experience challenges. On the other hand, the COS focuses on people management and challenges facing the teams bordering on human resources. He also develops solutions for these issues to reduce the CEO workload.

Structures And Systems

The COO makes sure that organizational structures and systems are running smoothly to prevent delays in services or goods for clients. On the other hand, the COS ensures that the CEO’s schedules and duties are running smoothly to achieve his short-term and long-term objectives. 

Support Level

The COO provides support to the entire management team. Company operations involve practically all departments in the organization. He is constantly in touch with them to improve performance and productivity. On the other hand, the COS supports the CEO and plans his priorities. He focuses on improving the performance and productivity of the CEO.

Specialization Area

The COO focuses on policies and procedures to ensure the undertaking of activities. He ensures compliance within the organization. He also ensures adherence to laws and legislation related to their operations. On the other hand, the COS focuses on the CEO’s abilities and plans to have sound leadership in an organization. He ensures the CEO meets his obligations and appointments. He also makes sure the CEO undertakes his activities by attending all his engagements and meetings.

Leadership Approach 

The COO remains at the forefront of operations. He drives the teams to achieve results by setting targets for the departments concerning supply and demand. He guides the team regarding business trends prevailing at a given time. On the other hand, the COS remains in the background to ensure appropriate executive decisions and actions. He grooms and assists the CEO to be the best leader for the organization.

Focal Point

The COO focuses on the organization as a business entity with all its departments. He is concerned about the well-being of the organization. On the other hand, the COS focuses on the CEO’s well-being as an individual. He focuses on the needs and requirements of this executive office. He protects the interests of this governing office.

Reputation And Image

The COO focuses on the corporate image and reputation. He wants the stakeholders and the public to perceive the organization appropriately to enhance its client base. On the other hand, the COS focuses on the CEO’s image and reputation. He ensures the employees, stakeholders, and the public have a positive attitude towards the officeholder.


The COO and COS are senior officials in an organization who form the C-suite team in an organization. They are also decision-makers and policymakers. They ensure structures, systems, and people are working well to meet organizational goals. They provide advisory services in an organization and drive teams to the required standards. The functions of the COO and COS overlap in many ways, but the main distinction is the area of focus. The COO focuses on the business entity, while the COS focuses on the business leadership. These roles have differences and similarities despite them overlapping in many ways. The COO is concerned with operational issues, while the COS is concerned with executive problems affecting an organization.

Frequently Asked Questions 
  1. What does COO mean? 

It stands for Chief Operations Officer, who is a high-ranking executive in a corporation. He ensures the operational activities are running smoothly. He is concerned with the business as an entity. 

  1. What does COS mean? 

It stands for Chief of Staff, who is a high-ranking executive in a corporation. He also ensures the Chief Executive Officer has adequate support to lead the organization. His focus is on the person in leadership.

  1. What does the C-suite team mean?                                                         

It is a team of high-ranking professionals in an organization. The team reports directly to the CEO of an organization. The “C” denotes the word “Chief,” a senior title in an organization.

COO Vs. Chief Of Staff

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