Start-up coaching: the pro's and con's

As a start-up owner, or someone considering starting-up your own company, it can be difficult to know what path to take, how to best position your case, and what will come next. Alternatively, the road to launching and building a start-up may be familiar, but you value an independent view against which your own ideas can be challenged. Regardless of prior experiences with start-ups, there is a lot of pressure early on to make the best possible decisions for your business. Getting external support can give a significant boost to this early stage of your company. But is it right for you? In this article we will help you establish whether start-up coaching is right for your business.

Bring your company to the next level

In start-up coaching, you work with an experienced business coach to set out the path for your (to-be) company. Together, you can identify opportunities for your business to focus on. The coach can help you see risks to avoid, and you can jointly think of back-up plans to have in place. Experienced coaches can give additional advice on setting up the team in line with the company’s ambition and foreseen path, on identifying and engaging with relevant stakeholders, etc. All tailored to your case.

Pros of start-up coaching

  • Independent insights: Receiving an independent opinion and vision on your business case means an honest and comprehensive insight into down-sides or pitfalls that may be overlooked now, allowing them to be addressed in time.
  • Access to experience: Start-up coaches are experienced in setting up businesses, and could even possess expertise specific to your domain. This will help. Also, coaches can share the perspective of the target audience, how they will perceive your business or innovation. This can help positioning of your business case and give access to information and sources that you may not have been aware of.
  • Increased efficiency: Receiving start-up coaching helps you to focus and better prioritize your time, avoiding any stalls in progress.
  • Acquire knowledge: Coaching provides an invaluable opportunity to acquire knowledge for yourself and your business, and possibly gain access to topic-specific information and networks – which will be valuable for you in the future as well.

Cons of start-up coaching

  • Financial investment: It is a time-investment and financial investment at start. These resources could also be well used in different ways. However, start-up coaching will help you learn and save time in the future – empowering you and allowing more efficient and conscious decisions to be made.
  • Disagreements can occur: You may disagree with your coach. That can happen. But it is your start-up, your business. You own it. You can be tenacious and disagree. Just ask critical and challenging questions.
  • The start-up coach may not be a good match: It is important to have a good connection with the start-up coach at a person level – if you don’t, it may actually hamper or delay the process. It is OK to acknowledge that, make the best of it, or move away. In all cases, including when having a coach, make sure the way you present your company is in line with your own values and style.
  • More work needed: The start-up coach will not do everything for you. The coach can help you prepare, know what to do, decide on who to target, and help you prepare for meetings. But note, some things you can do better yourself. Like talking to other stakeholders, and expressing or presenting certain concepts on your business. It is your business in the end.

At Catalyze, we have been providing start-up and business coaching in the fields of Life Sciences and Sustainability for many years. This has helped (starting) companies to set their path, and gain access to finance and forward their business. When hiring Catalyze as your start-up coach you can always expect professionality, unbiased and unconditional advice on what we as a coach believe is the best for your company. You can reflect on this. And decide.


This article was written by Patricia Celie, Ph.D., Principal Consultant at Catalyze.


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