Tank Talks
Tank Talks By Ripple Ventures
Sounding Board's CEO Christine Tao on Why Everyone Needs A Coach

Sounding Board's CEO Christine Tao on Why Everyone Needs A Coach

Episode 72

The notion that leaders are born and not made can feel oppressive to founders and others working their way up the business ladder. Leadership is isolating enough without the toxic mythology that you’re just supposed to know how to do from the get-go. Our guest today, Christine Tao, Co-Founder and CEO of Sounding Board, is working to normalize coaching for CEOs, Founders, and others who want to become better leaders. Sounding Board allows organizations to manage, scale, and measure coaching on one unified platform. Their AI-Powered admin tools and centralized data insights integrate with our proprietary, managed coach network to deliver coaching at scale. Sounding Board recently closed a $30M Series B funding round led by JAZZ Venture Partners.

About Christine Tao:
Christine co-founded Sounding Board in 2016 to solve the most challenging yet important part of her role as SVP of a fast-growing VC-backed startup: Leadership Development. Her experience as an operator at stops like YouTube and Tapjoy has helped guide at Sounding Board. She did her undergrad at UC Berkeley and her MBA at Wharton.

A word from our sponsor:

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In this episode we discuss:

02:33 The difference between a coach and a mentor

04:51 The lightswitch moment when she knew she had to found Sounding Board

08:26 Why she decided to turn her coach into her co-founder

11:53 The value and ROI coaching brings to clients and organizations

15:23 How the Sounding Board platform is scalable for future growth

18:55 Solving the cold start problem with a marketplace

21:13 The ICP for Sounding Board and what leadership means to Christine

23:35 How they landed at that ICP

25:10 How Sounding Board integrates with learning platforms

27:02 The biggest challenges coaches and organizations saw during the early pandemic

28:32 How Sounding Board standardizes it caching approach across organizations and internally

30:32 The structure Sounding Board uses to contract and pay their coaches

31:37 Overcoming jargon and other industry-specific knowledge

32:34 The success and flexibility of matching coaches to organizations

34:00 What the future of the coaching industry looks like over the next 5-10 years

37:27 The broad appeal of coaching across the work/life spectrum

39:30 Plans to deploy their recent $30M Series B lead by JAZZ Venture Partners

41:51 The number of coaches on the platform today and the plans for growth

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things By Ben Horowitz

Life Lesson
You should always just ask.

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