Want to know a secret of Silicon Valley? Everyone uses executive coaches.
Most do it privately but it’s near universal across the executive class of tech and the Fortune 1000 companies. Scaling from 1,000-10,000? Layoffs? Managing a new exec team? Going public? Building a leadership bench? Developing high potentials? Want more effective teams? Better managers? Coaches are often behind the scenes for each of these events.
Why? Because it’s helpful to have intimate and experience-driven counsel from someone you trust. I know I’ve benefited from it. This is almost universally true – it’s just executives have the budget to pay for it.
That’s why I was excited to lead an investment in Sounding Board, which is leading an enterprise coaching movement. Their press release is here.
CEOs are not unique – they’re workers just like all of us. More and more companies are realizing the value of leadership and specialized coaching for people deeper in the org chart.
Sounding Board is a full-service, full-stack enterprise coaching solution. By combining best-in-class coaches with a tech platform that is scalable, cost-effective, and outcome-oriented, Sounding Board is democratizing access to a scarce resource historically reserved for the upper echelons of executive talent.
Conventional wisdom has recently sprinted towards the view that coaching is valuable. This month the Financial Times hailed the “boom in executive coaching,” which was “once a sign of weakness in business…”and “now it is like an athlete using a trainer.”
COVID obviously has a role here -- overnight the market for virtual coaching grew by 5x. This is driven by both opportunity and desperate need. Suddenly remote employees can access the best coaches virtually, making sessions dramatically easier than before. At the same time, it’s harder than ever to run an efficient organization – working + parenting, supply chain issues, vaccine policy, product road mapping, etc etc etc.
The value of coaching isn’t questioned. But in the next 10 years, one company will take the elite service of executive coaching and bring it to all employees. That company is Sounding Board.
The company launched in 2017 with a virtual coaching ecosystem, where employees would intelligently match with and meet their coaches within a digital user interface. Today, they are expanding their product suite to include a cloud-based enterprise coaching platform, which enables L&D, People, and HR teams to not only measure the ROI of their internal coaching programs but also administer programs, automate workflows, aggregate data, and 3rd party integrations. The services and SaaS products buttress one another, providing both the data layer and the measurement capabilities to enable organizations to deploy coaching across a much wider swath of their organization than they might otherwise.
I am proud to back Christine and Lori and the whole Sounding Board team. A successful Sounding Board means it’s easier for companies of all sizes to empower their employees to create outsized impact and ultimately do their best work. I want and believe in that future.