Common Career Path for a COO: Qualifications, Skills, and Responsibilities

become a Chief Operating Officer

The Chief Operating Officer, commonly referred to as the COO, is a key player in the C-suite, orchestrating the operational dynamics of a company. 

According to a recent survey, in 2022, as much as 40% of companies worldwide had a COO, with the finance and energy sectors leading the way, boasting 48%.

Over the years, the roles and responsibilities of a Chief Operating Officer have changed drastically and become transformative, if not more. They play a crucial role in translating the vision set by the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) into actionable strategies

With that being said, mentioned below is a detailed article highlighting the common career path, qualifications, skills and responsibilities that define the trajectory of a successful COO.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

Roles and Responsibilities Of A Chief Operating Officer (COO)

As mentioned earlier, the COO is a key executive who is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of an organisation. From recruiting new talent to researching potential investments, the role and responsibilities of a Chief Operating Officer encompass a wide range of tasks that need to be handled with precision and efficiency. Mentioned below are a few examples of the same.

  • Organising and supervising new projects
  • Aligning operational activities with the overall business strategy
  • Identifying areas of improvement and taking the necessary steps
  • Building and leading high-performing teams
  • Identifying and mitigating operational risks
  • Collaborating with the CEO as well as other team members to ensure alignment across multiple departments in an organisation
  • Building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders
  • Communicating operational updates and strategies with employees and stakeholders. 

The average salary of a Chief Operating Officer currently in India is estimated at INR 41,01,334 per annum. However, please note that it can vary based on multiple factors, such as the organisation you will be working for, location, experience, and more. 

supply chain management course

Qualifications Required To Be A COO

In order to qualify for the role of a COO, every candidate must fulfil the below-mentioned requirements. 

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

A Bachelor’s degree in business, management or any other related field is a must for every individual who aspires to be a COO one day. It prepares you with the necessary skill set and knowledge required to excel in this field. In addition to this, many COOs also hold advanced degrees, MBA being the most common choice. 

Gain Industry Experience

Climbing the corporate ladder is a characteristic feature of a COO’s journey. Many COOs primarily start their careers at entry-level or mid-level positions before finally navigating towards a C-suite position. One of the main reasons behind this is that the role and responsibility of a COO is such that it requires extensive knowledge of the industry in which a company operates. That is only achievable with practical knowledge. Therefore, most COOs have a minimum of 10 to 12 years of work experience.

Build Your Professional Network

Building a strong professional network is another crucial step to becoming a successful COO. It enables you to earn the trust of your colleagues and team members, which you can, in turn, use to advance your career. This is especially true in the business world, wherein most employers look for candidates with proven track records or a history of strong decision-making skills. 

One of the many ways by which you can widen your network is by attending workshops and seminars related to your field, wherein you can meet leaders and other like-minded professionals in the industry. 

Skills Required To Be A COO

Listed below are some of the many skills you must have to become a Chief Operating Officer.


Leadership is at the core of a COO’s skill set. Successful COOs should not only be adept at managing and leading teams but also must be able to foster a culture of excellence and collaboration throughout the organisation.

Business Acumen

Having a deep knowledge of various business processes and concepts is also essential in order to succeed in this field. One of the main reasons behind this is that as a COO, you might be required to handle multiple departments at a time. Therefore, having cross-functional business skills during such a time might just prove to be handy. 


Having excellent written and verbal communication skills is also a must-have for every aspiring COO. This involves the ability to disseminate vital information in a clear and concise manner to both internal and external stakeholders of the organisation.

Strategic Thinking

As mentioned earlier, one of the many responsibilities of a COO includes identifying growth opportunities and implementing the necessary steps to achieve them same. Therefore, as a COO, you must possess strong strategic thinking abilities, which include making data-backed assessments, devising effective plans to meet organisational demands and contributing to the company’s long-term vision.


Wrapping it all up, the career path to becoming a Chief Operating Officer is marked by a blend of education, experience and the development of essential skills such as strategic thinking, communication, and more. Successful COOs navigate the executive landscape with strong leadership capabilities and a profound understanding of organisational dynamics. 

If you wish to pursue a similar career, then do not forget to check out the Executive Certificate Programme for Strategic COOs, brought to you by Imarticus Learning in collaboration with IIM Raipur. In this 10-month duration course, you will get to explore all the intricacies of supply chain design, development and management. Furthermore, it also brings forth numerous exclusive benefits, such as curated C-suite training, CXO masterclasses, and 150+ hours of interactive sessions.

To know more about the same, do not forget to check out the official website of Imarticus Learning!

Share This Post

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

Our Programs

Do You Want To Boost Your Career?

drop us a message and keep in touch