This article considers the contribution of the governance professional to the governing of further education colleges in the United Kingdom and arises from a wider study of the ways in which college boards develop and implement college strategy. This is the first observational study to focus on what the governance professional does within the college governance space. From observation and other forms of evidence, the governance professional performs a significant, challenging and expert role in the processes and practices of governing colleges. The governance professional is instrumental as a governance sense-maker and, at a higher level, as translator of governing deliberations and decision making. The governance professional role in practice can vary depending upon a range of personal, local institutional and national factors. However, in essence the governance professional exists to legitimise college governance through the structures, processes and reporting of governing interactions. The article considers the extent to which the governance professional is pivotal to the governing of colleges and analyses the implications for college governing. Our research identifies some barriers to gaining greater impact from the college governance professional.