If you’re a startup Founder or HR Leader looking to prepare your business for rapid growth, you’re probably thinking about coaching. But what should you expect from coaching in the startup context? Typically there’s 2 types of coaching in this situation, and you’ll need to know the specific need you’re addressing.
Some of the questions you should address to hone in on the type of coaching you’ll need:
Answering these questions will help you clarify how coaching can be used in your startup. Here’s a snapshot of where to go from here:
Business coaching (startup or not) is usually focused on how to run your business - including functional and technical advice. Typically startups get this type of ‘coaching’ in the form of advisors, mentors, accelerator programmes, or government resources. The advice is typically startup ‘wisdom’ and anecdotes from other entrepreneurs, however also includes typical MBA-style recommendations. Business coaching focuses on accounting, fund raising, marketing, HR matters and etc. This information isn’t hard to come by. If you’re a funded start up and need this kind of information, reach out to your VC’s for recommendations. If you’re not yet funded, try to get enrolled in an accelerator programme and you’ll find advisors and mentors are plenty!
Professional coaching usually has the biggest opportunity for impact on business growth, once you have your business advisors in place. Professional coaching can be delivered to Founder or executive team, and as the business gets larger you can consider a blended HR and coaching approach to developing your team. Professional coaching in startups is usually aimed at developing:
While this list is not exhaustive, you can see that professional coaching for startups focuses on the competencies, behaviours and skills that enable a great culture and rapid growth of the business. While these skills are important for all professionals, they’re critical for startup leaders and teams, where any deficit is amplified by nature of the small team size, speed of work and pressure from investors.