How to Become a Successful CISO or CSO

Success Coaching


CISOs and CSOs need to possess a mix of appropriate education, certifications, experience and technical subject matter expertise.  The needs of each individual company will dictate what experience, credentials and technical skills a CISO / CSO candidate needs to bring to the table.

Often Overlooked

A set of skills that companies often overlook when hiring a CISO / CSO candidate include relationship building skills. These are the skills that will empower a CISO or CSO to attract talent and to retain talent.  As a strengths coach andan emotional intelligence coach, I’m privileged to see exactly and precisely how my coaching clients are wired from the inside as opposed to only seeing what a security professional chooses to show on their resume; the outside. 

How a person is wired on the inside determines how they perform on the outside.

Somewhat Rare

Finding CISO or CSO professionals who possess relationship building strength themes in their top 5 strength themes or even their top 10 strength themes is somewhat rare.  These particular strength themes are the themes that equip a person to build relationships, to grow relationships and to know how to work effectively with others.

I’m far more likely to see strategic thinking strength themes in CISO and CSO coaching clients.  While strategic thinking strengths are necessary for security professionals, CISOs and CSOs need a greater balance of strengths than just strategic thinking themes.

The Full Package

In order to influence, persuade, negotiate and to collaborate with peers and customers, CISOs and CSOs need to be equipped with a balance of relationship building, influencing, executing and strategic thinking strength themes.  These leadership professionals need to understand what they have to work with and they need to know how to leverage  what they have and how to manage the strength themes that show up as weaknesses.

The Right Mix

CISOs and CSOs who build the most effective security programs, the best security teams and who generate the best results for the businesses that employ them are those who also have well-balanced emotional intelligence.  These people know themselves well and they have an advanced understanding of how they are perceived by and how they come across to others across the business they’re there to serve.

A person’s unique mix of strength themes are like their DNA.  We all have unique DNA but we can’t change what we have.  Emotional Intelligence skills on the other hand are flexible and can be adjusted and improved upon over time.

What to Do

If you don’t know already, find out what your unique strength themes are so you know for sure what you have to work with and what you have within you to leverage.

If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, learn about your unique emotional intelligence.  Your emotional intelligence (EI) or emotional quotient (EQ) as it is sometimes called can be measured and improved through coaching if in fact it needs work. 

Jeff Snyder’s Coaching Blog found at, 719.686.8810

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