Earlier this month, Ted Wang from Cowboy Ventures joined us at TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising, where he spoke about executive coaching and why he encourages founders in his portfolio to have a CEO coach. Wang, who has an executive coach himself, sees coaching as an essential means of fostering sustained personal growth, a factor that he says separates middle CEOs from the best.
Why CEOs Need Coaching
Just as professional athletes at the top of their game always need coaching, executives may need external validation and comment on where they are at and where they aren’t delivering, Wang says. This information can be difficult for executives to understand and may require a level of honesty that a CEO can hardly expect from anyone involved in their business.
Roger Federer – the famous tennis player who won 20 Grand Slam tournaments – he has a trainer, but he doesn’t just have a trainer, he has a tennis trainer. I’m pretty sure Roger knows the rules of the game and all the different shots he has to hit, so why would he have a coach? The answer is really it’s about having a second set of eyes; when you are in the moment … it is difficult to see and assess yourself. (Timestamp: 4:52)
Coaches can help entrepreneurs think through and reframe the things communicated to them.
A good example – you might be at a board meeting and one of your board members is criticizing your VP of Marketing, and one way of thinking is “Oh, okay, here are some. things we need to figure out for that person, ”but maybe another perspective a coach might open your eyes to is that this person thinks you’re hiring the wrong people. (Timestamp: 8:59)
While counselors can help startups navigate tactical situations, therapists can focus more on helping clients navigate emotional states and improve. Coaching exists in a very nebulous gray area between start-up counselors and licensed therapists, Wang says, but coaching is more about improving yourself as a business leader than solving a problem. particularly thorny starting problem.
When you’re in the moment… it’s hard to see and assess yourself.