Found In The Rockies

Scott Walgren & Matt Maasdam \\ The Value of Coaching for Founders

March 29, 2023 Les Craig Season 3 Episode 15
Found In The Rockies
Scott Walgren & Matt Maasdam \\ The Value of Coaching for Founders
Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, we explore a critical and relevant topic for all founders, optimizing personal and professional performance through coaching. We have Scott Walgren who is the founder and CEO of Credo Performance Coaching. He coaches founders and entrepreneurs through goal setting and through the startup process. And we also have Matt Maasdam, who is going to help us provide a founder perspective on coaching and on this subject. And Matt is an entrepreneur, who is the co-founder at PECOS Outdoor.

Here’s a closer look at the episode:

  • Matt’s background and introduction.
  • What is coaching and what does it mean?
  • How is a coach different from a mentor?
  • The importance of self awareness as a startup founder.
  • How and when to find a coach?
  • What to expect from a coach.
  • How to break down the sticker shock.
  • What to expect in a coaching session.
  • How Matt has benefited from coaching.
  • Coaching and mental health. 
  • A call to action for finding a coach.


Scott LinkedIn:

Matt LinkedIn:

Credo Performance Coaching LinkedIn:

PECOS Outdoor LinkedIn:

PECOS Outdoor website: 

Scott  00:00

By definition, coaching is partnering in a thought provoking and creative process to maximize personal and professional potential. What does it look like? It looks like an intentional conversation, right? It's the opportunity to have a conversation with someone who has no judgment or agenda of their own.

Les  00:32

This is Found in the Rockies, a podcast about the startup ecosystem in the Rocky Mountain region, featuring the founders, funders and contributors, and most importantly, the stories of what they're building. I'm Les Craig from Next Frontier Capital. And on today's show, we're going to explore a critical and relevant topic for all founders, and frankly, for all people, but people in our region. This is something everybody needs to listen to. Today, we're going to talk about optimizing personal and professional performance through coaching. And also we'll dive into the topic of mental health a little bit as well. And to explore those topics. I'm so excited to invite two guests to the show today. First, we have Scott Walgren. Scott is the founder and CEO of Credo Performance Coaching. He coaches founders and entrepreneurs through goal setting and through the startup process. And we also have Matt Maasdam, who is going to help us provide a founder perspective on coaching and on this subject. And Matt is an entrepreneur, who is the co-founder at PECOS Outdoor. So welcome, gentlemen. Welcome to the show.

Matt  01:37

Thanks. Good to be here.

Scott  01:38

Thanks, Les. 

Les  01:39

Yeah, to start off, Scott, why don't you, why don't you kick it off. And I'd love for you to care a little bit about you your background and how you got into performance coaching.

Scott  01:49

Absolutely. Excited to be here with you today. Appreciate the invitation, a little bit about me. I'll start with how I got into performance coaching to begin with. It will take us where we want to be right? I found coaching as I was leaving the military. At the time, I saw this really cool intersection of the leadership and mentorship that I loved about wearing uniform, not understanding that's not necessarily the roots of what coaching was to begin with. So I jumped into a certification program. And the more I learned and practiced around coaching and the more I worked with a coach myself, the more I understood the potential that it could unlock, in me. Despite having a great career in the Navy. It helped me understand myself in a way that I didn't before. So my background, I spent 20 years playing helicopters in the Navy. I spent the last four years as a nonprofit executive and a transition coach. 

Les  02:40

So that was your first out of the military. That's that was your first civilian job after a 20 year career.

Scott  02:45

Yep, that's exactly right. And, and ironically, I was supporting people like me in their transition, and

Les  02:51

You're an expert, you're an expert in it, right.

Scott  02:54

It was awesome. It was so much fun. And I enjoy the process. I learned as much about myself in in, in learning about coaching, as I did about about supporting others in that process. So that's what brought me here today. I started this business in January as a way to continue to serve. And that's what I feel called to do.

Les  03:13

Awesome, very cool. And I think it's really interesting given your background as a veteran and a lot of people think of military service. Oh like intangibles, leadership, this and that. But maybe just quickly comment on what is what are some of the biggest challenges of your transition? Because I imagine there's parallels there where founders that are like, Oh, I had a corporate job and now I'm starting a company. What are some of the challenges of major I call it midlife transition? I don't know if that's a that's a word we should make. I coined it right there. Midlife transition, not midlife crisis, midlife transition. Tell us about it?

Scott  03:47

Everyone is in transition all the time, a phrase that I like to repeat, right? No, there are parallels that part of what is so exciting about this conversation in working with veterans in transitions, there's a ton of identity to work through. And for folks to understand who they are when they take the uniform off. Who were you before? And who are you now difficult, with so much that's tied to that, to that uniform. And I think there's a similar challenge with founders, there's a lot of identity, right? As you take this idea, and you nurture it into something that's really unique. And then you grow a team around you. The identity of the founder is going to inform so much of that. And so being aware of blind spots as you're navigating that path as you have lots of stakeholders and partners who are going to inform what the journey looks like with you remaining aware of how you see the world and why you see the world that way and how it's helping you or not helping you I think is really important. So there are definitely some parallels in those two. Demographics. Really fun to play with.

Les  04:47

Very cool lots I want to peel back there. I want to give Matt an opportunity introduce himself first but first really quick. Where did you grow up and how did you end up in you’re in Bozeman. Now, how'd you end up in Bozeman? How'd you end up in the Rockies?

Scott  04:59

Great cool. So I'd like to say I'm the son of a sailor. Lots of milk, lots of military and my background. My my dad spent a couple of decades in the Navy, I spent a couple of decades in the Navy. Our second to last assignment in uniform was at the base of the Alps in a little town called Oberammergau Germany, completely life changing for my wife and me for the three years that we were there, right. We were skiing, and camping and mountain biking, and Kath and I looked at each other during that time and said, How do we do this forever. And so that kind of started the search. And we looked from Durango to Coeur d'Alene. At some point, a very, six months before I finished that Navy adventure. Somebody said, have you looked at Bozeman, Montana. And we came, we visited, we fell in love with everybody that we met, we pulled the trigger. And so we landed here in August of 2018.

Les  05:49

Amazing, you said have a son of a son of a sailor, finding in love in the Rockies and in the mountains in landlocked territory. Amazing. Very cool. Matt, tell us about your background, where did you grow up and what led you to this cool opportunity to be a founder?

Matt  06:06

So I'm a veteran as well, it's often easiest to walk it backwards, but I'm gonna try to go forwards just for sake of chronologic time. So I'm originally from Nebraska, my family has a ranch in Steamboat Springs. So we make our way out to the Rockies quite a bit. And we love it, went to Michigan for school and met some seals through school. And so

Les  06:27

Sorry to hear that really.

Matt  06:31

healthy, went to buds right after college and made it through buds first time, which is really nice. And so it's a rarity. But then, so it was pre 9/11. So I had deployments, pre 9/11 and Afghanistan, Iraq, post 9/11, and other places as well. And then fast forward a few years, my last job on active duty was carrying the nuclear codes for the President. And so we were in DC,

Les  06:57

Is that it? You couldn't do something more important or relevant than that. 

Matt  07:01

It was a fun job. I'll tell you though, it is intense. And so it's like you're you can't screw anything up.

Les  07:08

I hope not because we wouldn't be here. It'd be the end of the world. By the way, crazy, small world. Were you on that detail? At the same time? Rick Turner? You know, Rick,

Matt  07:18

I know him. But we weren’t at it at the same time. Okay. Interesting. So the Army guy was Barrett Bernard. Okay, let's, yeah,

Les  07:27

Rick was a dear friend of mine. We were on brigade staff at West Point together. So small world. 

Matt  07:32

Yeah. And so when we, when I got done with that job, I had two kids while at the White House. And then I wanted to Laura and I wanted to stay in DC in the DC area. And you meet a lot of people when you go to the when you work at a place like the White House. And so I had met a bunch of Under Armour guys, and they're like, Hey, come out this way. And so Under Armour is in Baltimore. It's drivable from DC. So one of the skill sets is very translatable from the military two, really our operations in strategy. And so I started with strategy at Under Armour and worked my way into E-commerce operations. So I So learned the apparel world through that. And then I was I broke off from there with a group of Under Armour guys and founded a denim company called Revtown in Pittsburgh. So I was there. I was a COO there for three years, and then got poached to go to PECOS outdoor. Two and a half years ago ish starting up there and it's outdoor products. So it's a little less on the apparel side. But all American made stuff which is a which is wonderful and something that we're proud of and co-founder there and great team.

Les  08:43

Very cool. Very fun. What a story what a what a what an amazing journey. And I gotta tell you guys, you're so not we've never had a veteran. On Found in the Rockies. I guess technically, I'm on it every episode. That doesn't count. But not only do we have one veteran on today, we got two. It's amazing. It's great. It's the veteran episode, we'll put like an American flag on the title. Yeah, for three. Yeah, sorry, I always forget myself. Anyway. Very cool. I'm so excited to have you both. And I think it's cool. Because the dynamic here today where we can talk about really the theme that I want to peel back and explore for our founders in the region is just how important it is to think about coaching as a resource. And also, it's always a hot topic in the startup world, also a hot topic in the veteran world as well, but mental health and I really would love to explore some of the questions there as it relates to the workplace and as it relates to companies. So it's cool to have this dynamic of a coach and a founder on the cast today. So thank you both for joining us. Scott, why don't you begin, why don't you take us through just maybe a general description of what you do and what this process is of performance, professional coaching, performance coaching, what is this for somebody that's never heard of this before? What is it?

Scott  09:53

It's a great place to start and I laugh about it? Because the term coaching gets thrown Around willy nilly today, right people and their brother and sister are a coach of some sort. So the barrier to use that term in your title is low and the truth about It is certified professional coaches are a very specific and unique demographic meaning there is a there's an accreditation and certification process. There are continuing education requirements, there's a code of ethics that that we abide by, right. So it is formal, and it is professional. So first thing to understand when you're thinking about working with a coach is knowing what your own requirements are with that individual that you want to work with. So what does it look like? By definition, coaching is a, is partnering in a thought provoking and creative process to maximize personal and professional professional potential. What does that mean? 

Les  10:56

Yeah, it sounds like something a coach would say…

Scott  11:00

What does it look like? It looks like an attentional conversation is the opportunity to have a conversation with someone who has no judgment or agenda of their own right thing gets in service of the client. And let's be honest, right? We don't have conversations with people that have no judgment, right? Not our peers, not our spouses, not our kids, not our colleagues. Right, those those conversations, not board members has an opinion and judgment about the things that we share. So having a couple even if we

Les  11:31

Even if we are not intentionally judgemental. 

Scott  11:37

Yeah, it's human nature. So the that's what that's part of what makes these relationships so special is that a coach is always in service of their clients agenda, right? The intention of moving helping someone move from where they are to where they want to be. and goal setting is relatively easy. Figuring out the behaviors and beliefs that are inhibiting progress. That's not always easy, because we're all good at setting goals, and then rationalizing why we didn't achieve them or we didn't achieve them in time that we wanted, or what got distracted or the goal changed. Because we're human, right. So that process looks like a series of conversations, thought exercises, goal setting and accountability processes to help an individual move from where they are to where they want to be in. That's really what it looks like is a series of conversations. And there's as much progress and work that happens in between coaching sessions as can happen in a coaching session, because it is a it's a transformative process as you start to think about your thinking, and uncovering blind spots, uncovering how your belief systems inform how you show up every day, and whether they're serving you or not serving you.

Les  12:47

All right, Matt, I'm gonna pit you against the coach with the question here. I'll be pitting you guys against each other all day, probably no. So Matt, I'm sure you have mentors you have? I'm sure you have advisors I'm sure you have. Why don't they do the same thing that that a coach that Scott could do for you? You've got yeah, mentor you have coffee with they're not judging you. They're not what's the difference? 

Matt  13:07

I would say they're your coach isn't a stakeholder in any capacity. So your family, your mentors, they want to see you do certain things, I think, even through the process, a coach wants to help you achieve what you say you want to do. And so it's really about unlocking your potential. And having somebody who has no connection to you, help keep you on track for what you want to accomplish.

Les  13:37

Awesome. And what are, I know you're married to a professional coach, as well as having used them, I'm sure, but what are just some of the benefits that you have experienced and just just a highlight for other founders that are in a similar situation to you. 

Matt  13:52

There are tons. And so it's a long list, but they help you see around corners. They help you identify options and get through those options. As you're going forward. They give you perspective on what you're doing, they can increase your network. So they you can use their network to reach out to other people, they can be a sounding board for ideas that you don't have to worry about how you say things. Or if an idea is totally stupid, or off the wall, you can bounce it off, and they can say oh no, you can vent on them emotionally from that mental health perspective. You can say like, you can say what you want to say to them, and probably what you wanted to say to someone else, but you didn't say, it can help you personally, like it's not therapy, but it helps you avoid landmines in life, if that's what's overwhelming you at the moment, and it helps keep you on track for your goals.

Les  14:44

Interesting. So you highlighted on something there that I think is at the end there. That's fascinating. So it's there's naturally a connection between my work, my personal life, my family, and so I think what you suggested there and Scott, I'd be curious to hear your perspective on how this stuff is connected, and how you can help people resolve it, but often like, especially for startup founders, it's intense. Like, it's like a second marriage, right? Like my relationship with a co-founder is like a second spouse, my relationship with my company, I'm probably spending more time in the company than I am with my family. How does the intertwining of all that create complexity that as a coach Scott, you have to work on or resolve?

Scott  15:27

It starts with levels of self awareness, which, when everything is important, all the time, can start to slip, right? If everything's supporting all the time, and you're prioritizing everything else, and not yourself. It gets stressful, it gets anxious, and it's tiring. So the opportunity to create space to understand how these influences are informing what's going on in your life is important because it helps to de stress to contextualize what's happening. And to become less reactive and more responsive. When time is tight. Tensions are high, requirements are everywhere, it's really easy to get anxious. And to think I could do this, I will just work all the time at the same time. So what that does is it makes us all less effective. 

Les  16:23

By the way let's let's pause there for a self reflection of every entrepreneur who ever lived. Because yeah, that's it like you said it like that's anybody listening to this podcast right now that's ever started, anything started company, like, how easy is it to just fill your time with work? Not healthy.

Scott  16:39

Not healthy. And in preparing for this talking with a friend of mine, who's been a founder in several instances. And what he talks about, he said, when you start this process, you've got this, you've got this sum of money, and you've got 1000 things on a term sheet. And nothing on that term sheet talks about taking care of yourself, establishing a culture, building a cool team, right? Identifying and promoting the value your values and the values of the thing that you're building, right. So part of what this process does is it creates space with a non stakeholder to think about those things that are not on your term sheet, right, which is really important to create time and space to do.

Les  17:22

I'm really glad you said that, because it's so true. It's like what is more important than anything else in a deal. It's the people. And not just the founders, it's the team. It's the leadership, it's the people. But we don't talk about that. We don't talk about that in the term sheet. It's actually something I talk about right before I close when I have that kind of final dinner, final break breaking bread with the founder, I always talk about mental health and how important that is and taking care of yourself. But I'm glad you said it. Because this kind of begs the question. It's okay, so now I'm resourced I closed an investment. And now it becomes a matter of like, where do I put those resources? Matt, what do you what's your actually this stuff that I want? Both? You we'll start with Matt on this one. But like, when do you need to engage? When do you need to reach out to find a coach? Is there a time? Is there a circumstance like to get the ball rolling…

Matt  18:09

I would start when you start the company. So you have an idea of what you want to do. And they're really good accountability partner. And so when you're laying things out and saying, This is what I want to accomplish on the timeline that I want to get it done. They don't keep notes and say, Hey, are we on track with all of that? And so in addition to all the things we talked about before, I think they help keep you on-line with what you said you're going to do.

Les  18:35

So when you start the company, Scott, do you agree? 

Scott  18:38

That, so it's it's such a fun question, right, because of the evolution that happens over the over the course of this journey, I reflect on on my Navy career, extraordinarily linear, right, very deliberate in increasing amounts of responsibility and accountability with regard to the size of the teams that you're leading. So you start slope right at year one, where you're supposed to be at year 20, and how your areas of influence are going to grow over the course of that time. In terms of startups, right, having a team of 10 people requires a very different leader than having a budget of $10 million. So where does someone need a coach in that process? Those are two different leaders. So I think the evolution of the individual has to be front and center when this decision is made about who do I need to be today? How do I become the best version of that to support the mission that exists today? And acknowledging that might be different in two years and require a different way of showing up? So that's the piece of self awareness. I think it's really important in the conversation.

Les  19:43

So that actually, that leads me to another place, which is, does it potentially mean that there are certain coaches for different evolutions of the journey like a coach that fits me now, might not be the one five years from now. Is that reasonable?

Scott  19:56

Yeah, I think that's a really important conversation. So the relationship that you've talked About, we've alluded to the fact that the conversation that you're having have having around the organization in the business that's going to bleed into your personal life too. Because as you become more aware of yourself, it's going to inform how you show up differently for your family at the same time. And so there's a level of trust and intimacy that's really unique in this conversation, so that when you make that purchase decision support with regard to who you are working with, and is that a good fit for you, because it is an investment. Understanding as that level of trust gets built, if that same person is the same person, that is the right one to support you down the road, is another deliberate decision, you talked to Matt about the difference between, right a coach and a mentor, a mentor is going to give you advice, a mentor is going to provide some guidance based on his or her own journey and move you in different directions. Coaches won't do that the idea that coaches are going to bring to the table or you have what you need to be successful, you just have to peel that onion back enough to understand what the right decision is for you, not for the coach, for the client. And so I think as that relationship grows, there's a probably a continuous reflective process to know whether that relationship is still serving where you are today, or does it need to evolve? So it's a it's an important question, and I don't think there's a singular answer for everyone. I think it's very individual.

Les  21:26

I like it. Good perspective on that. So what happens when so let's say I'm a founder, I'm 20 minutes into the episode, and I'm like, Oh, I needed to hear this. I, this is what I need. I'm identifying with all this stuff that these guys are talking about. What do I do, man, I want to coach, I'm a founder, what do you do? How do you find you just Google like that could be dangerous? Like, what? How do you find one of these mythical creatures that's going to put me on the right path?

Matt  21:53

I would talk to your network and reach out to people, you know, that have been successful? And say, Hey, do you have this in your life? And where did you start? And so I think it's an, it's super valuable to, from a culture perspective, talk to people that you've think are similar to you, they're gonna give you they're gonna put you in the right lane, the coaches that you want to talk to, in my opinion,

Les  22:15

Nice. And then is it like, is it like a draft? Then that happens? Like, how do I do? Should I talk to multiple? Do you interview? What to just remove the any barriers that folks might have? Scott, what do you recommend folks do just to actually get to I'm going to try this person?

Scott  22:32

I would highly recommend talking to more than one to a handful of folks. And those individuals at the same time can provide introductions to others. I think good coaches have an abundance mindset, right? That this relationship will be productive for both of us if it fits. If it doesn't, we want to help you find the individual that's going to serve you best. Find a coach, have a compatibility conversation, and then ask if there are other coaches that they know of that they might be willing to introduce, introduce.

Les  22:58

And if they say not, right now, I don't know any others. I'm the one that's probably a bad signal.

Scott  23:03

Be skeptical, be very skeptical. 

Matt  23:06

Exactly, it's about fit, right? If you can find the right fit, and how much that person is going to challenge you, I think is important. So some people, some coaches are challenging. They're like you said you wanted to do this, and other people are better listeners. And so it depends what you need there, and how that fits in your structure in your life.

Les  23:23

And Matt, what can I expect then? So now I've chosen the one that I'm going to get me to try out here for my first coach, what can I expect? What's it going to be like? What's the first Is it like a one and done I solved all my problems? Is this am I signing up for a year journey? What do I expect? And then Scott, I'd love to get your perspective on what you do as like your technique. 

Matt  23:42

Like you have to expect some time to get to know each other. And so it takes somewhere between three and five sessions, probably to get to know each other and be comfortable enough to be vulnerable and say the things that you really want to say, because you have to build up some trust and rapport before you're willing to just let it all out. And so I think that's happening over the course of weeks to months. Scott and I've communicated about this a little bit, like how often do you do coaching, and I would say, every couple of weeks, and then maybe get it to the point where it's every month. And then anytime something big pops up, you can reach out and say, Hey, I've got this thing going on. What do you think? Or I've got this thing going up. How does this fit like, in your opinion, how does this fit in the whole of what I'm trying to accomplish? And have those conversations, conversations and talk it through I think is a great opportunity, so weeks to months to get going.

Les  24:42

And Matt do you recommend obviously in today's world, I'm sure there's virtual offerings in person. Does it make a difference or is this somebody that like you really want to have a personal really like boots on the ground relationship with 

Matt  24:55

I've never seen anybody have in-person, personally? Every person I've known was virtual and maybe occasionally semi-annually, annually they would meet but Scott, I turned that over to you, like I've never seen an in person session for me or like my wife is a coach. I cannot think of a single time, then, you know, hundreds of cliends.

Les  25:19

Good to know. So good to know. Cool.

Scott  25:21

I think that's, that's super accurate. The way that I like to structure the offering the support, right is typically a 12 session model. Right? That's where you start and, like, Matt described the opportunity to talk every other week, at the beginning, right for the first four sessions, I think it's helpful because there's a lot of trust to be built in that in that initial couple of months, then it kinda depends on the individual and what's being worked on. So sometimes it's helpful to continue have an every other week cadence. And sometimes you can spread that out to once a month. Our schedules are dynamic, right? Travel, holidays. So it depends on on the amount of work. And like I said, there's as much that happens in between sessions, as can happen in the time that you spend together. So just because you're not meeting every other week does not mean that time is not fruitful, and they're not progressing. So that's important to know. So that's how I have structured mine in the past is this 12 session, and then very often, the work will continue at that point. And so there's a cadence that happens as transformation occurs. And as Matt described, I've had, over the course of the last four years, I've been in the same room with my client, maybe three times, super rare. And even at the point where I'm working with somebody that's that's here, right in Bozeman with me, we've met in person, and then we've switched to virtual, it's just so convenient, right to be able to click go on the computer, and we're there. So I think that if you've got the luxury, and it is the luxury to be in the same room with someone in the early stages that can be helpful to be face to face. And it is certainly not a game changer. It's a luxury. 

Matt  27:01

I think there's also a lot more to it, like the coach has to get in the right physical place wearing the right clothes, you have to be in the right location. And so does the coached, the coached has to be that way too. you present yourself in a certain way. When you're virtual you can it can be on the phone, it can be in your office, it's already set. That's right. And so it doesn't. I think it adds a layer of complexity, honestly, to be a person.

Les  27:26

It's interesting that you said that because I think back, a coach that I had when I was in Baltimore when I was running my first startup, and she was incredible. We had probably two two or so years worth of interactions. And I did I met her like eight years later, and it was actually it was awkward meeting her for the first time. I'm like it because we had this. It's once you develop that rapport with this phone call person. I was like, oh, you're shorter than I thought you were. Yes. It's this weird. Yeah, it's almost like this person that exists. But they're but they're not. You know, I don't know. So I get that virtual works, because that's my experience. What about what about? I'm there now. Okay, I got this. I got it done. And now I see how much it costs. Is this a problem? The sticker shock? Oh, my gosh, hourly. This is so expensive. What can you do to break down some of the barriers there? Is there like a Starbucks cappuccino a day model where it's cheaper than that latte? Just I think this is so important to peel back because the sticker shock will get people on this. But it's like they can't afford not to. So like how do you get founders over that?

Scott  28:31

It's it is it's a balance, I don't really the opportunity to use a coaching tool of reframing right? How are you looking at this? Are you looking at this as some cost? Are you looking at this as an opportunity? Are you looking at this in investment in growth? Right, we don't hesitate to potentially hire a personal trainer or work with a dietitian, how many professionals who are experts in their fields are we fine investing in right? I have no problem subscribing to a program because it's going to improve this area of my life. I think the opportunity to look at coaching in the same way is really significant, right, the opportunity to understand understand ourselves in a very different way that opportunity invest in our effectiveness in our contribution. That's the conversation that someone has with themself, right, this is going to increase my confidence, is going to increase my impact. It's going to decrease my stress is there. We don't typically think about a dollar amount that we're willing to associate with those things. But the return on investment is tremendous.

Matt  29:43

Like I two points but like, one good conversation is worth if you're in your a round and you're trying to land that $3 million and you have the right conversation with your coach so you go in the room and knock it out of the park. That was worth it. potentially your company, million bucks everything. Like everything gets that wrong, the future. Exactly. If you get that wrong, you're done. And so you can't even I can't even place value on it. And on the other hand, like, this isn't so often that it's terribly