Founder’s Role Dilemma and Coaching


SymbiaVC is more than just an investor; it's a supportive partner for startups and impact entrepreneurship. As part of this collaboration, start-ups get the chance to benefit from coaching.

Linda Wawrzyniak, SymbiaVC’s certified business coach, supports this entrepreneurial journey.

Coaching serves as a valuable tool for the decision-making processes within a company. One early critical decision involves whether to take on the role of CEO or stay an external expert. “Professional coaches use scientifically proven methods and tools and provide empathetic guidance to support the decision-making process,” Linda emphasizes.

CEO or Expert?

Choosing between the roles of a CEO and an expert requires careful consideration. The CEO carries the primary responsibility for the company’s strategic direction and growth. On the flip side, experts staying in their domain can significantly enhance product quality and innovation.

Both positions come with their set of advantages and challenges.

One of Linda’s coaching clients, Anton (name changed), is the founder of a promising startup in the chemical industry. Three years ago, he initiated the company, and it rapidly expanded to a team of 25 employees.

Anton was a highly qualified expert in his field, and the startup he worked for was thriving. His skills and expertise were unquestionably valuable to the company. On the other hand, he felt the urge to take on more responsibility and guide the strategic direction of the company. The decision to become a CEO seemed like a natural progression.

The Coaching Process

The coaching sessions began with in-depth self-reflection. Anton examined his personal and professional goals, strengths, weaknesses, and values. Understanding his motivation and willingness to take on the challenges and responsibilities of a CEO role was crucial.

  • Self-reflection, Strengths and Weaknesses

Anton’s abilities underwent thorough analysis, identifying the areas where additional development was needed to become a successful CEO. His strengths, comprising effective communication, innovative thinking, and a profound understanding of the product, were already impressive. Conversely, weaknesses included a tendency towards micromanagement and occasionally losing sight of strategic necessities in daily business.

  • Risk Assessment

Linda and Anton thoroughly evaluated the risks linked to Anton taking on the CEO role, gaining a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the restructuring process. Subsequently, they worked together to formulate strategic plans for effective risk mitigation.

  • Strategic Alignment

They actively collaborated in the development of a clear company strategy and vision. During this process, Anton acquired valuable insights on how to translate his innovative ideas into a detailed and actionable roadmap, setting a course that would ultimately guide the company towards sustainable success.

  • Leadership Skills Development

Through coaching, Anton was able to further develop his leadership skills. Linda focused on topics such as team leadership, conflict resolution, and decision-making. He began to feel more confident in his role as a future CEO.

The Decision

After several intense coaching sessions and a thorough analysis of his options, Anton finally made his decision. He confidently chose to become the CEO of the startup.

The Consequences

Anton faced challenges during his transition to the CEO role, but he approached them with confidence and determination. He maintained openness and authenticity with his team, openly sharing his vulnerabilities and addressing them head-on. For example, he implemented a tool, which he found for himself within the coaching sessions. This tool allows team members to signal when he engages in excessive micromanagement by raising their hands—a practice he actively promotes and sustains. Under his guidance, the company started to thrive and expand. The choice to become CEO proved to be an important step for both his career and the overall success of the startup.

Navigating the decision between CEO and Expert roles is made more manageable with the support of startup coaching. Whether you’re a startup founder or the owner of an established company seeking growth, if you believe SymbiaVC could be a strategic fit, feel free to reach out to us. Contact.