How to to democratize professional coaching - A catch-up with CoachHub Co-Founder, Yannis Niebelschütz !
Digital Coaching Leader, Coachhub, recently raised $30M in funding led by Draper Esprit, alongside existing investors HV Capital, Partech, Speedinvest, signals Venture Capital and RTP Global. The new investment will scale up their number of coaches to 2,000, reaching employees from over 100 continents speaking over 70 languages!
To celebrate this, we sat down with Yannis Niebelschütz, Coachhub co-founder, to find out more about his business and the world of professional coaching.
1. First thing first, tell us more about CoachHub and why you decided to set up a digital talent development platform?
When I was working for LinkedIn in Dublin, I received personal coaching. My coach, who had to travel from southern Ireland, either came too late or, in bad weather, even not at all. In addition, it was always difficult to get a meeting room for coaching. We came to the conclusion that this just doesn't fit into the 21st century, so together with my brother Matti Niebelschütz Coachhub was founded in 2018. We were also inspired by Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Alphabet and former CEO of Google, who was of the opinion that everyone could benefit from a coach. So not only did we want to make it more flexible and accessible, we wanted to democratize it for all employees for all career levels. CoachHub is the digital coaching provider that offers a holistic approach to personnel development. We help future-oriented companies that work globally to transform themselves in times of digitization and constant change.
2. How does the platform work?
CoachHub uses artificial intelligence to match employees to the right coach out of our 1,000+ international coaching pool. Together, coach and coachee define focus areas and goals and work together to achieve them. Progress is measured by reaching agreed-upon milestones and outcomes. Coaching sessions take place in-app or on desktop in biweekly video coaching sessions. With its intuitive and accessible interface, CoachHubs empowers coachees of all seniority levels on their journey of professional development and personal growth.
3. How do you find your coaches across the world?
Coaches apply through an application via our website, and after careful review from our team, we reach out to them if they fit our required criteria. We are looking for 500+ coaching hours with a minimum of 6+ years of management experience and leadership experience, certification from a leading coaching association, and most importantly a digital DNA. We hand pick the coaches with a present coaching mindset and solution-orientated attitude.
4. As the world adapted to online solutions during the pandemic, how did this increase the demand for your platform?
As the pandemic unfolded, organisations were trying to find answers to questions like "How do I enable my employees to work from home?" "How do I avoid loss of control and stress caused by digital work?" More and more companies started looking to the platform to arrange online discussions with coaches for their employees - in the hope of making it easier for them to switch to work from home. Companies were and still are trying to find ways to support employee wellbeing and build reslience and all in a remote setting. Digital coaching is a great way to support this.
5. You have recently expanded across Europe; how do you identify your next location?
Our solution is most effective for companies who want to scale internationally and many of our current customers have a large presence in the USA as well as across Europe, so this is our next big focus.
6. You are a serial entrepreneur, what new challenges has CoachHub posed that you hadn’t experienced before?
More success (laughs). In fact, at the beginning, we were a bit overwhelmed by the sudden high demand and rush of positive responses. We hit the right nerve at the right time with CoachHub. Maintaining our services to meet the level of demand was our number one priority but at the same time, it was our biggest challenge. In order to meet the massive influx of interest, we had a few steps to accomplish: optimize our platform quickly, bring new coaches onto the network, and hire more staff. I can safely say we have overcome this hurdle and at the time it was a new and exciting challenge for me and my brother.
7. How important is learning from your mistakes and how do you make sure they don’t happen again?
There is a fitting saying that goes ‘If you want to increase your success rate, you have to double your failure rate’. We have made many mistakes in the past years, but having to overcome them has taught us a lot and if it weren’t for those difficult moments we wouldn’t have been able to make CoachHub what it is today. What we believe to be vital for a successful team is to be very honest with yourself and your team, confront the not-so-glamorous facts as a group, and transparently share mistakes with them. This is the only way to come to a solution together as an organization and prevent repeating the same mistakes.
8. How do you find working with your brother, does the family bond make your drive to succeed even stronger?
Starting a business with close friends or family members is almost always ill-advised and discouraged. The emotional factor can be too influential and may prevent important decisions from being made. Fortunately for us, we trust each other blindly and both share the same values which help our business decisions to be mutual and in turn achieve the mission we sought out.
9. Last of all, what is the key piece of advice you would give to a first-time founder?
Perseverance! Every founder goes through hardships on his way to the top. The important thing to remember is when your journey hits those lows is to just keep at it because those who continue on their path with discipline and the right team, will be rewarded in the end.
To know more about CoachHub, visit their website.