Why I Hate the Term “Coachable Founder”
I hate it when VC’s say that one of their criteria is that founders need to be “coachable.” That infers there is a natural hierarchy of authority and roles. I would be foolish to think that I would immediately have this incredible feedback to impart to the founders as someone who finances a company. I have written tirelessly on my insecurities as an investor and my need to try to impress value on founders- I feel like I am finally coming out of the other side.
I think a better founder quality is that of one that listens. Listening implies that a founder is open to feedback from someone with different experiences and data points. I believe an excellent founder has to take in contradicting data points from several sources and rapidly triangulate them into a good decision. Ultimately I rely on founders to make the best judgment- I have to, or I picked wrong. If they aren’t open to listening to what I am saying, however, the chances they are available to listen to their employees or customers are not good. Ray Dalio talks about the criteria for taking advice in a meritocracy. I will have to dig that book up before I regurgitate it. More on that later.