earlier this month, Ted Wang of Cowboy Ventures joins us on ClearTips Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising, where he talks about executive coaching and why he encourages founders to have CEO coaches in their portfolio. Wang, who is an executive coach himself, sees coaching as an important way to drive continued personal development, a factor that he believes separates medium CEOs from the best.
Why CEOs Need Coaching
Just as professional athletes at the top of their game still require coaching, officials may need external verification and comment on where they are and aren’t delivering, Wang says. These insights can be difficult for executives and may require a level of integrity that can be challenging for a CEO to expect from anyone associated with their company.
Roger Federer – the famous tennis player who has won 20 Grand Slam events – has a coach, but he doesn’t just have a coach, he has a coach for tennis. I’m pretty sure Roger knows the rules of the game and all the different strokes needed to hit, so why would he have a coach? The answer is really that it’s all about the other set of eyes; It’s hard to be able to see and assess yourself when you’re in the moment… (timestamp: 4:52)
Coaches can help entrepreneurs reflect on and redefine what is being communicated to them.
A good example – you could be in a board meeting and one of your board members is criticizing your VP of Marketing, and one way of thinking about it is “Oh, well, here are some things to do We need to solve that for this person.”, but another perspective a coach can open your eyes to is that perhaps this person thinks you are not hiring the right people. (timestamp: 8:59)
While mentors can help startups navigate strategic situations, therapists can focus more on helping clients navigate emotional states and better themselves. Coaching exists in a very vague gray area between startup consultants and licensed therapists, Wang says, but coaching focuses on improving yourself as a business leader rather than solving a particularly troubling startup issue. .
It’s hard to be able to see and assess yourself when you’re in the moment…