What’s driving the team at Coachilla?
As we’re quite fond of saying at Coachilla, we’re going to be the place to start a coaching relationship and unlock your potential with a verified professional coach. We aim to help everyone find and connect with effective, proven coaches from our global network and help them discover and achieve what you want through professional coaching.
After months of hard work, we’re finally at the point where we’ve pulled back the curtain and stepped out into the light of day. In that spirit, we decided to talk about why Coachilla was born, and why the entire team is excited to get it off the ground.
I’m Chitrak, and I’m the UX guy here. I’m also the most recent addition to the team, so quite recently I was asking our founder Eeppi many of the same questions floating through your head right now. We’re all about spreading clarity here, so I thought I’d tell a little bit about who we are and why we’re doing what we’re doing.
Chitrak: Let’s start with the obvious questions. Why coaching and why is Coachilla necessary?
Eeppi: It’s actually a deeply personal story, about my own past frustrations. A few years ago, I felt quite lost and a little directionless. I had quite exciting jobs at different companies but I felt that I was longing for something more, there was something missing, which constantly gnawed my motivation and happiness.
Chitrak: I don’t see that at all right now. You’ve always had this intense focus since the moment I’ve met you. What changed?
Eeppi: Well, a few chance encounters and random conversations led to major changes in the direction of my life. I met my first mentor Nic Mepham completely by accident during a University Living Lab course, and also the woman who later became my personal coach Suvi Von Becker from Talentree. These conversations really helped me think differently about the opportunities I have available to me and for the first time, I began to recognize my own potential and that I really have power over my life.
I eventually decided that these conversations and moments of clarity shouldn’t be happening at random. When I finally started meeting Suvi regularly, she really helped me find ‘true north’, i.e. a purpose for my life, and work towards it every single day.
Chitrak: I’m gonna go ahead and guess that life changed quite a bit after that?
Eeppi: Well that’s an understatement. The coaching experience was totally transformative for me. It’s not just about identifying goals and dreams. With the help of my coach, I cleared out many useless parts of my life to make room for the things I actually wanted to do. I had a ton of time sinks. They seemed important or enjoyable at the time, but they didn’t carry me forward and held me back. Coaching really helped me focus on what was important for me, set goals accordingly and create a plan to reach them.
Most importantly it provided me with a partner, that I could use to reflect on my thinking and goals without any earlier baggage, which you may have with colleagues and friends. Also a coach is irreplaceable for staying accountable for your goals and plan.
Chitrak: Sounds like it went pretty well overall, but why is Coachilla needed?
Eeppi: As I said before, I now strongly believe that these kind of realizations should not be dependent on chance encounters. Everyone should understand the value of having a coach who asks you the tough questions, and they should actually be able to easily find and start a relationship with a coach who can help them develop their own potential and clarify fuzzy dreams into actionable goals, or find a way forward when you’re feeling stuck in life or work. That’s why we want to help everyone find a personal coach at Coachilla.
Chitrak: Well, that’s certainly ambitious. So walk me through it. You have a vision. But how does that become reality? Where do you even start?
Eeppi: Well if you look at high performers in sports, business, whatever, they all have coaches. I mean, even Bill Gates has repeatedly said just how much coaching helps him, and that he recommends it for everyone. So I began searching for existing services in the coaching industry and in other industries to A) find out if anyone was doing this already B) to find a similar industry with a working business model and product that could be the inspiration for our coaching marketplace.
I found out about Clarity.fm which provides expert advice for startups. Their platform has been a great inspiration for us here at Coachilla. They’ve done a great job crowdsourcing business experts that are always available for anyone with a business problem. We want to do the same for those who could use the help of a coach to move forward in life or work and develop their personal potential.
Chitrak: What are the coaches saying about Coachilla and the idea behind it?
Eeppi: Well, thus far we’ve mainly received positive feedback, the coaches are all the time looking for more ways to improve their coaching practice to serve their clients better. The key thing here is that we want to help the coaches focus on what they do best, that is coaching itself, to do this we want to provide them with the easiest experience to find, meet and retain new clients via a modern platform that at the same time provides an ability to build an online presence and manage their reputation.
Chitrak: And what brings them to Coachilla?
Well I would say we offer the fairest and most effective business model for them. Coaches can join for free. This in addition to what I mentioned earlier in regards to finding clients, building an online presence and manage their reputation. We also help them build a rapport with more people, as we’re trying to offer the first session free of charge. This really helps bring in those in need of coaching, who’re not sure if it would be money well spent. Spoiler alert: it almost always is.
Many of them also feel that we share the same mission. We are all looking to unlock human potential in the world.
Chitrak: Sounds like you’ve really gotten to know them during all this. So who’s coaching you while you build the coaching service?
Eeppi: After finding a suitable business model, I spent a lot of time researching the coaching market, then quickly developed a prototype and started talking to coaches. As one coach told me, what’s out there now is “ripping off the coaches and ripping off the users left, right and center.”
Encouraged by their feedback I applied for the Founder Institute, where we refined the business plan and continued customer development with coaches and consumers.
Chitrak: Interesting. Tell me more about the Founder Institute.
Eeppi : Well, it’s said to be the world’s premiere startup launch program for talented entrepreneurs. They want to globalise Silicon Valley, and right now they run their program in local chapters across 60 countries. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to build their first startup.
In the program we’ve learned a lot from a network of dedicated and professional entrepreneur mentors, and worked on our businesses’ key areas addressing everything; customer development, team, product development, go-to-market and more. FI has helped us develop the business in invaluable ways, we’ve got customer validation, found a first user, formed an advisory board and started product development to mention a few key milestones. It’s been a hard three and a half months, but I would definitely recommend it as one of the best way to learn entrepreneurship and prepare for all the ups and downs.
Actually, now that I think about it, FI has also been a great coaching experience. The mentors have challenged our thinking and execution, pushing us towards our goal of creating an enduring technology company. One should never underestimate the power of having partners that help us by challenging our thinking, beliefs and processes.
Chitrak: Well, if the pitches I’ve seen you do are any indication, it was definitely worth it. But let’s get back to Coachilla. How does it feel to have the new website up?
Eeppi: I’m not gonna lie, it’s pretty awesome, it’s our first step towards acquiring real traction from consumers and coaches and we are learning a lot from the visitors all the time.
Chitrak: Yeah, I was pretty surprised by how quickly we got off the ground. Are you as pumped as I am?
Eeppi: Definitely! The test Facebook campaigns that we ran went super well, and we’ve already been contacted by a few people who really need a coach.
Chitrak: Let’s end on the man behind the vision. What drives you everyday?
Eeppi: I consider myself a human progressive. I really believe that we all can grow without limits if given the right opportunities. And I see entrepreneurship as a tool to drive human progress.
It provides us the opportunity to combine technology with human needs in order to develop something new that hopefully makes the world a better place. Before I started Coachilla I worked at two startups that offered me great experience in developing my skills in business and customer development, but really the best thing was that I got to travel around the world and be greeted with all kinds of people that were interested to work with us. It was an eye-opening experience, that taught me that really anything is possible if you just take action.
Chitrak: Anything else you’d like to add?
Eeppi: Well, I’d like to encourage anyone reading this to try out coaching, because you can’t go wrong in investing in your own development, and if interested definitely sign-up for our early access list on our website or get in touch with me personally at eeppi[a]coachilla.co. I’m always happy to have a chat with people who want to know more about personal coaching.
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