Peer Learning Groups vs. Vistage

middle aged asian

“I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the successes of others, the pie gets larger.” Stephen Covey

 Today, the theory of abundance and the reality of business came head to head. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised, the competitive spirit being what it is.

I had just requested an opportunity to discuss the possibility that CEOs involved with Vistage might want to offer their managers a similar, if more structured and less costly, peer learning experience. My respondent refused to even discuss the matter.


If you’re not familiar with Vistage, it is a peer mentoring membership organization for CEOs, business owners and executives of small- to mid-size businesses. They meet monthly in groups of 12-16 and their meetings are facilitated by Vistage coaches. The discussion focuses on current management challenges.

The intention is to learn from the members of the group. The goal is to gain new knowledge and perspectives. In between monthly meetings, members receive a coaching session either individually or with 2-3 other members. There is an enrollment fee of $2,250 as well as a monthly fee of $1,380. That is a total annual investment of $18,810.

The Peer Learning Institute

My partner and I have started a new business, The Peer Learning Institute. In some ways it replicates what Vistage does for CEOS, but at the manager level. There are, however, significant differences. The managers meet in groups of 5-6 in two 90-minute sessions, spaced one month apart, and these sessions are self-facilitated and self-managed. The topic is a specific management challenge.

The intention is to learn from the other members of the group as well as from provided learning materials. The goal is to build new skills with active practice during the interim between the two sessions. There are no enrollment or monthly fees. For $10,000, companies have unlimited access to all current and future topical modules in perpetuity. At the present time, there are 40 modules.

It just seemed to me and to my partner that, if CEOs valued peer-to-peer learning, they might want to offer a somewhat similar, much less costly peer learning experience to their managers. Going directly to the CEOs in Vistage would have been a simple way to gauge their interest.

The Vistage CEO coach declined my request. I guess I can’t fault him. As a coach, he becomes privy to the CEOs’ challenges and concerns. As an independent consultant, he can then use that information to provide additional services- possibly even management training.

I suppose he saw us as direct competitors, and I suppose we are. Darn.


Deborah Laurel

Co-Founder and Chief Learning Officer

The Peer Learning Institute

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