Executive Assistant vs Business Partner – What’s the difference?

Ursula Kohler Capital EA

Your job description may say EA, however where the tradition of the role may still hold the name, the expectation of newer executives is something quite different.

When it comes to managing an organisation the past three years have made (or broke) leaders.  Their ability to be adapt and understand the rapid attitude shift, lead in such uncertainty, and rally staff to be productive has been a test.  As an EA, you’ve had to pivot also and be a guide for how they connect with the people they lead. You’ve been their first mate.

The last three years have accelerated the transition of the EA role

For our team, we’ve seen a shift in the recruitment expectations of our clients and we’ve evolved our recruitment and training programs to meet this expectation.

Even though many of our jobs ask for an ‘Executive Assistant’, the expectation is a Business Partner/ Executive Advisor with admin proficiency.

A business partner EA provides less admin support and more top-level strategy. They are more proactive and use their initiative to manage the work of the C-suite.  They delegate tasks and manage workflows, they cut problems off at the pass and they actively support and manage work to help their executive meet business KPIs.

How do you make the transition from transactional EA to Business Partner?  

The first step is to understand your skills and where you think there may be gaps.  The second is to map the core objectives of your Executive and how you currently provide support, vs where you’d like to be providing more strategic support. You need to also consider the willingness of your executive to support you.

Ask yourself:

  • What skills are lacking which are vital for the role of a business partner EA?
  • What training or development you could do to acquire those skills?
  • How supportive is your executive?
  • Do you need to work on your confidence or mindset?

Why we created the Advanced Management Program

Last year when we reviewed our training offering for Executive Assistants following countless conversations with CEO’s, heads of Government Departments and Business owners, it was clear that there is a demand from industry to have their executive assistants provide a different level of support than what they were 5 years ago.

Together with other senior EAs, leaders, and business owners, we created the Advanced Management Program to ensure we could support this expectation and provide a program many EAs needed for their growth.

Through our intensive two-day development program, we work with EAs through small group collaboration and unpack where they are, vs where they need to be and through different topics, we help them transition their knowledge and skills to meet those objectives.

At the end of the program, we have participants walking away with:

  • greater self-awareness
  • the ability to take ownership of their areas of responsibility
  • improved mindset and confidence
  • a strategy for how they transition their work back in the office
  • fundamentals for how they increase the leadership within their role
  • an understanding of improved strategic communication and how to apply alternative strategies and tactics in a c-suite environment.

We commence the delivery of our 2022 Advanced Management Program in Sydney from 17 March, with future dates across Australia throughout the year.

If you’ve ever thought that you could and want to offer more in your role, you are passionate about securing higher-level roles or you’re looking to transition into an Executive officer role in your career, then you do not want to miss this training.

Upcoming Locations and Dates

Sydney: 17-18 March 2022
(N.b Sydney second program TBA for later in the year)
Canberra: 24-25 March 2022
Brisbane: 5-6 May 2022
Melbourne: 30-31 May 2022
Adelaide: 2-3 June 2022
Perth: 21-22 July 2022

Full booking details are available on the EA training and workshop page of our website.

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