From Start-Up to Grown-Up with Alisa Cohn

The journey of every start-up takes many turns. Not all of them will be successful. Since this podcast is dedicated to growth and leadership, our special guest is an expert on both. Today we have Alisa Cohn, the author of Start-Up to Grown-Up, published by Kogan Page. She is named a top start-up coach. We have a ton in common, so this interview is so much fun. Alisa is wicked smart and shares actionable insights in this interview. Her book, Start-Up to Grown-Up, is fantastic. Join us for a unique conversation on leadership for start-ups.

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Alisa Cohn: The Transcript

About: Named the Top Startup Coach in the World at the Thinkers50/Marshall Goldsmith Global Coaches Awards in London, Alisa Cohn has been coaching startup founders to grow into world-class CEOs for nearly 20 years. She is the author of From Start-Up to Grown-Up, published by Kogan Page. A one-time startup CFO, strategy consultant, and current angel investor and advisor, she was named the number one “Global Guru” of startups in 2021, and has worked with startup companies such as Venmo, Etsy, DraftKings, The Wirecutter, Mack Weldon, and Tory Burch. She has also coached CEOs and C-Suite executives at enterprise clients such as Dell, Hitachi, Sony, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Bloomberg, The New York Times, and Calvin Klein. Marshall Goldsmith selected Alisa as one of his Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches – a gathering of the top coaches in the world – and Inc named Alisa one of the top 100 leadership speakers, and also been named one of the top voices of thought leadership by PeopleHum for 2021.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Alisa Cohn: I think that people look at leaders like, oh, they’re all set. They got it all together. Like they were born that way. Nobody was born that way. Everyone is struggling with demons that you can’t see that’s first of all, second of all, CEOs have massive amounts of stress on indecision of not knowing of people, telling them all these different things and founders and entrepreneurs in particular are 30% more likely to have issues with depression and anxiety than their counterparts, which means that they are definitely susceptible to being elite super high, strong, or moody, or maybe possibly having actually, you know, sort of, sort of mental health issues. And so I would say that when you see a founder on stage and I’ve seen many founders, both onstage and in the coaching room, you really have to understand that that, that there’s a makeup going on inside of them. And I would say for me, I’m privileged to be a coach, to enormously successful entrepreneurs and founders of the leaders. And I kind of know what’s going on underneath them. And everybody has their own sort of emotional issues and demons to untangle.

Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moment of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

Gene Hammett: Today we look at the journey of Start-Up to Grown-Up. When you think about your own journey as a leader, you want to make sure that your company is growing up. It’s evolving, it’s creating a stronger foundation and all of that is necessary for you to continue to scale your company without working a ton more hours without adding on a ton more stress. And all of that inside of this episode, our special guest today is Alisa Cohn. She is the author of, “From Start-Up to Grown-Up”. I just got the book I’ve been reading the PDF. , she is also known as one of the top startup coaches in the world. I think there’s 50, she’s recognized in, many different things. She’s worked with a lot of big companies like Microsoft and many of the names you’ve heard before. And what we talked about inside today’s interview will help you become a better leader, because it will help you understand some of the challenges that are you’re facing as a leader, how you have to evolve at a personal level. I love this part of the conversation because it is the first part of her book, but it is also in alignment with the work I do as a coach as well, we also look at how you must lead the team and managing the team up to the next level, what it means to hire the right people, retain the right people, all of those clues and strategies inside today’s episode.

And finally, we look at, you know, managing the growth of the company, managing all of those aspects, and pulling it all together. All for you as you take in this episode, hopefully, you’ll take away one of the nuggets that are necessary for you to focus on, to move forward and that you’re not alone because we talk about some of my clients that I’ve shared. Some of the examples inside of here, we talk about hers. And if you have any questions about your own journey of leadership. You want to make sure that you go to and schedule a call with me? Here’s what’s inside that call. I’ve been working for 10 years an executive coach to help you play at a higher level. Really understand yourself, understand how to lead your team, understand how to grow the company. It’s perfectly in alignment with what Alisa does. We’re not related in, in this. We don’t work with each other. , yet if it is ever to be, but we are going to have a conversation. If you have the courage to step up, and talk about what you’re not talking about with your board, with your executive leadership team, and those conversations have been paramount for people to understand how to move forward.

Sometimes we look at the blind spots that you carry with you that you don’t even know are blind spots. We also create a plan for you to move forward with ease and grace. So make sure that you’re not continuing to work tons of hours and really focus on what it takes for you to grow inside that one conversation. Just go to and schedule your call.

Now, here is the amazing Alisa.

Hi Alisa. How are you?

Alisa Cohn: I’m fantastic. Gene, how are you?

Gene Hammett: Awesome. Excited to have you on the Growth Think Tank.

Alisa Cohn: I’m so excited to be here. Thanks for having me.

Gene Hammett: Well, we’ve already talked a little bit, or I’ve talked about this, you know, framing you in and talking about the book that you have. And I wish I had a copy to hold up, but I really am excited about talking about the book. Yeah. Like that. , I got the PDF copy. So I’ve been looking through that and seeing how you have, you know, told the stories that you have to all the work that you’ve done. And it really is fascinating. So excited to talk to you about some of the details behind it, that aren’t in the book.

Alisa Cohn: Right.

Gene Hammett: When you, when you think about, leadership, like you, you’re known as one of the top startup coaches in the world, when you think about leaders, their, everyone puts them on a pedestal, like they’re so successful, but there’s some, there are some demons that they carry around with them. And I want to kind of start there because that’s, that’s a good place to begin our conversation today.

Alisa Cohn: Yeah, there are a lot of demons. Do you want to just riff on that for a minute? Well, I, I would say this, , I think that people look at leaders like, oh, they’re all set. They got it all together. Like they were born that way. Nobody was born that way. Everyone is struggling with demons that you can’t see that’s first of all, second of all, CEOs have massive amounts of stress, of indecision, of not knowing of people, telling them all these different things, and founders and entrepreneurs, in particular, are 30% more likely to have issues with depression and anxiety than their counterparts, which means that they are definitely susceptible to being elite super high, strong, or moody, or maybe possibly having actually, you know, sort of, sort of mental health issues. And so I would say that when you see a founder on stage and I’ve seen many founders, both onstage and in the coaching room, you really have to understand that that, that there’s a makeup going on inside of them. And I would say for me, I’m privileged to be a coach to enormously successful entrepreneurs and founders of the leaders. And I kind of know what’s going on underneath them. And everybody has their own sort of emotional issues and demons to untangle.

Gene Hammett: When you wrote the book, you included some stuff in there about the self-talk that we have. And, and I talk about this with my clients too, but I want to get your perspective. There’s compassionate self-talk which is. It’s great when we can connect to that. But, but there’s really more critical self-talk that gets in the way of us truly being, I think our most authentic selves. How do you help leaders through this self-talk?

Alisa Cohn: Well, I think you’re exactly right. That we have a self-talk kind of narrative going all the time. And if you don’t know that. Just be quiet for one minute and whatever it is, you’re thinking that’s your self-talk. And so we have voices in our head constantly, the high achievers that I work with, or that you work with Gene, you know, they can be very critical. And when I think about how to help people, I actually wrote an article on this for Inc. It’s really about three selves.

So the first is self-awareness, which is tuning into your self-talk really identifying what you were saying to yourself.

The second is self-compassion. Recognizing that you are human beings, recognizing that you have foibles that it’s okay. That you have failings it’s okay.

And then third is finding the right self-talk the civic positive, productive self-talk that you can insert into that continuum to give you a little relief. It doesn’t come naturally to you over time. You can proactively insert that positive. Self-talk more frequently, by the way. Not only is that going to make you feel better, which is important. It’s also going to make you more understanding and have more space for your employees. It’s also going to help you activate because that self-talk, that negative self-talk is super draining. If you don’t even realize it.

Gene Hammett: I love the fact that you’ve seen the same thing in these successful companies that you’re working with and the leaders, there was a, a sentence in your book. I’m just gonna read one sentence. I know you’re a little bit weird about people quoting your book, but, insecurity is almost part of the job when you start a company. Why do you think that’s the case?

Alisa Cohn: Because you’re doing something for the first time, you know, it’s like, even if you are a multiple-time founder of this company, you’re starting for the first time, these challenges that you’re going to encounter on that new journey are completely new challenges. If you’ve never started a company and you don’t even quite know what you’re in for. And there’s always this question about going left or right. All these people telling you what you should do and what you shouldn’t do is a ton of noise around you. And so insecurity is a natural response to kind of the sense of like, not knowing so many things. You’ve got to deal with that insecurity and find ways to move forward. One foot in front of the other, no matter what.

Gene Hammett: Totally love everything you’re saying here, when when you were on the Tim Ferriss Show and the interview, fantastic interview. If anybody hasn’t checked that out and don’t know Tim Ferriss is Alisa is the coach for Tim and, and, and helping him, you know, understanding himself and grow the business. But you, he asks a question at the end, he kind of framed it really a little bit, oddly, because he was not sure how you would respond, but you said the billboard thing believe in yourself and act like it. Yeah. I will be honest with you. One of the things that I have had to do with me being the coach to many people is learn to trust myself more. And I actually some of the deeper work I’ve done with my coaches. It’s just, you know, trusting myself and it’s not that I have every, you know, everything, but it’s that I can figure out or I can get out of jams or I can I trust myself enough to do this? Is that the same kind of thing that you’re talking about with that, that quote?

Alisa Cohn: I think so. , I think it’s part of it. My experience with many people is that even the most productive and confident people have an area that they feel a little insecure, or that is holding them back from doing the things that they want to do. So my point in that interview in my point, in general, is first of all, to own, you know, sort of the belief in yourself and to own the confident part of you, the why self of you, the observer of you, who knows how capable you are. And then act like it means to take action. Don’t just be satisfied with like, oh, thinking you can do it, act like it as input one foot in front of the other. And I think that is sort of a two to me. That’s like sort of the two sides of key to life, which is first notice limiting beliefs and find ways to resolve them and then notice where you’re inactive and start taking actions.

Commentary: Now hold on for a second. Let’s just talk about insecurity a lot of people think that as a successful CEO of a fast-growing company who probably doesn’t have insecurities, well, I find this to be false because we all reach levels where we have some insecurity that we haven’t been there before. And those things are really important for you to understand. Now, this is one reason why I believe having a coach will help you talk through some of those insecurities and really get to the heart of it. Because if you just try to push it aside and just keep moving forward, it really is, not the most efficient way to move forward and grow because you want to make sure you address those things. If you carry them with you from time to time to time, they will come back and haunt you. I know this. , fact, it’s done this in my own life. Do you want to make sure you’re able to deal with those insecurities and, and owning yourself as a part of that journey and really owning, you know, how you’re going to move forward and it really defining what shifts are necessary for you as a leader? I say this to you because I believe wholeheartedly that you want to evolve as a leader. You want to make sure that you address the insecurities before you move forward and pass those on into your employees. Now, back to Alisa.

Gene Hammett: I want to move into that other part of the book where you, you know, you’re talking about, , yourself first, you as the leader and you call it managing you. The next section is around managing the team. The biggest challenge is right now is, is really attracting top talent. , that also means retaining top talent, I think, because you don’t want people to walk out the door when it’s hard to find them when you’re having a client that is struggling with this. What are your thoughts around it. The strategies and approaches to attracting top talent.

Alisa Cohn: Right. Well, right now we are in a pendulum swing where there is a massive war for talent, right? It is a great resignation or the great reshuffling. However you want to look like it, look, look at it. So, first of all, it’s important to think about who are your top employees and how are you going to retain them? And yeah, you can give them more money, more equity. That of course is like nice, you know, for them, but long-term sustainable retention and happiness and belonging inside of a company comes from their loyalty to their leader. So train your managers, train your leaders to be great coaches and leaders of their people. Also, it has to do with meaningful work. And so make sure that they’re doing at least some projects, which are not just rote, but they’re really stretching them in a positive and productive way. And then number three, Having them see the impact of their work. So that means giving them meaningful things to do, and also helps them showcase their progress by understanding the muck and mire of the day-to-day.

When you’re like buried in the stretch in the spreadsheet. You’re not thinking like you’re making any progress, also in a startup and small businesses all over the place. It’s like bad things happen more often than not. And so it’s important for you to showcase to your employees how much progress they have made, how much progress the company has made that is by it’s, by research-proven that the most motivating thing for people is to see the progress of their work. So if you activate those things around, you’ll do a better job retaining your people. Now, if you think about going out to get people right, to attract the right talent, you’ve got to have strong talent because people want to play with A players. You want to showcase that you would environment, which is again, doing all these things for your employees. And you want to, , really think about when you bring employees on how you can get them off to a strong start, because that is one of the really important predictors of whether or not they’ll stay with your company and add tremendous value.

Gene Hammett: You mentioned that the word A-player. And I think a lot of people have different perspectives of, should we hire A-player? Should we develop A-player? Of where are you come down on this with, with the clients you work with?

Alisa Cohn: I think a lot about it’s, first of all, is like, what are the jobs to be done? So we can sort of talk about an A-player., but if they’re an A-player. In, let’s say marketing and you didn’t A-player. In let’s say sales, or even more like an engineering. Then they still might not be the right fit. So you’ve got to really identify what are the specific jobs to be done by this person. And are they excellent? You have, and you’ve evidenced that they are either excellent having done that, or they have drawn capacity to be able to stretch and do those things. So that’s kind of, first of all, and then second of all, I think it’s really important to make sure that you’re hiring people who both have skills and experience. And also, hopefully, especially in the companies that we work with some passion and some drive. And also they’re going to fit into the culture. I worked with one entrepreneur. He told me that he hired the smartest people he could find all PhDs from Stanford and that’s amazing. But when I got there, we sort of talked about, are they working together? They’re not working together because he hired super smart people who are all individual contributors. So they all wanted to kind of do their own work. So what he told me was I have the best growing team in the world, but they are rowing in a different direction.

Gene Hammett: No, you’re talking about this fit to culture. One of the questions I ask on the show quite often with founders is what’s the biggest mistake. And I think it’s close to 50% where they will come back and say, you know, I used to believe that it was really a skill fit and making sure someone was talented, but I realized culture fit was much more important, but I know there’s some other data out there that says culture fit isn’t the most important. What do you see in your work?

Alisa Cohn: I think culture fit is essential. I mean, listen, the truth is that if you have a strong product and a strong product-market fit, you probably going to win. That’s good. However, you’re going to do it the easy way or the hard way. , you know, somebody came to me just last year, who was actually a two-time founder. Starting his third business. And he said to me, in the past, I have been successful, despite my lack of leadership skills. Now I want to be successful. And I think I’ll have a better outcome if I develop the right leadership skills. And that includes very much building the right culture, which he had always dismissed as like, not that important. So the point about culture is that it gets people together. It helps shape expectations it helps everybody work faster and better and more efficiently, even if you’re not there. So I think that culture is not the only, it’s not like of the deciding factor, but I think it’s a major factor in terms of whether or not you’re going to win.

Gene Hammett: Aligned with all this talk of culture. We can’t miss this without talking about values and we haven’t really looked at it yet. I find that a lot of the clients I have, could do a better job with it. But when I talk to someone who’s really a high-flying company, they will say that they live and die by these values. , some people think they’re a little bit soft and squishy to be able to say, you know, that’s who we are. That’s what defines us. We hire by values. What are you seeing with your clients as it relates to values?

Alisa Cohn: Well, I, I see with my clients that actually values are having kind of a bit, a bit of a comeback. And I see this with my clients or very focused on making sure they write down and codified the values they want to bring into their company. And then, even companies who are later stage. I feel like they, at times they say what they, what they needed, they say is a values refresh to make sure they’re recommitted to the values. Even though they’ve kind of grown also, I’ve just started my own podcast, also called “From Start-Up to Grown-Up” and inside of all those founders, I’ve talked to, they’ve all mentioned how early on they’re very successful founders early on. In their sort of tour of duty as, you know, early on this startup journey, they actually just spontaneously decided to write down the things that were important to them. So I think there’s a strong connection between having your values, clarifying your values, and company success. , you know, Jim, has done a number of some research on this. And what’s interesting to me is the findings are actually from large companies, is that if a company clarifies their values, even if employees. Don’t share those same values, just the result of clarifying the values, help people do better, work more efficiently, and also are more sticky to the company. So I think there’s like a very hard case to be made for the so-called soft point about value.

Gene Hammett: I agree, and it’s part of the next book I’m writing. It’s funny as I was asking because it’s just such a simple thing that’s missing in a lot of these organizations of how to use them day in and day out. One thing that I was really. I’m not surprised to hear, but you were talking about in the Tim Ferris interview that a lot of leaders don’t give feedback and, and you didn’t mention it in the things you know, about an attractive company in retaining leaders. But here’s the thing I usually say. It’s absolutely free to tell someone you’re doing a good job. And then I listened to the script and you’re like, and you can use that to say, and here’s some things I want you to work on to be even more. It’s all of it seen as positive because they’re like, oh, that’s my next step.

When you think about, I know you have some thoughts on how leaders are, you know, fighting with themselves about giving feedback, but tell us about your perspective.

Alisa Cohn: Well, I don’t think leaders are fighting with themselves to give feedback. I think leaders are just like, not giving feedback for various reasons. I think, first of all, it’s hard to remember to stop yourself in the middle of your, you know, a hundred things to do to give feedback. I definitely know. I mean, we agree, I think violently on this point, positive feedback is free. It’s easy and it’s enormously motivating. Right? See, prior comment about making progress at work. Think about that for yourself. If you’ve ever gotten positive feedback from somebody who you admired, right. Or what a leader of yours, of course, it was motivating. So I say that to all of you leaders, please remember that it is a very important part of your job to give us positive feedback. When you do that over and over again, you create an environment where it’s obvious that you care about them when, and that you want their success in your ally. When you have an environment where you’re an ally and you want for their success and you care about them, that earns you the right to then have a more difficult conversation, which starts with, I love what you’re doing and also do more, or I love what you’re doing and do it a little bit differently. And then that moves towards listening.

We really have a problem. I’ve already showcased how much I care about you. I’ve already showcased how much of an ally I am for you. The reason I’m telling you is that we have a problem and that you have a problem that you need to fix. Is because I really want you to make these changes because I believe in you, I want the best for you and your career, and making these changes is going to help you thrive here longer. So if you frame the whole thing like that, then it becomes a very different experience. I think that leaders shy away from the more difficult, more negative so-called constructive conversations because they like many people are squeamish. And I would just say, I don’t think that that’s a good enough reason.

Commentary: Alisa just talked about recognition. Now, this is one place where we’re absolutely alignment around. It’s not enough. CEOs are actually recognizing the people in front of them. Maybe it’s because no, one’s recognizing you for all the hard work and sacrifice that you’ve made and all of the challenges you’ve overcome, but you want to make sure that your job is to see those opportunities, to have small little conversations with people that allow you to recognize them for the value they create for the creativity and innovation, maybe it’s for their leadership prowess, or maybe it’s just for them working through some tough challenges that you know they have been working on one way to do that is to select a value that someone is demonstrating and they’re living that value and use the recognition to tie into, because our value is blank. You have done this, and it really has been a powerful way to demonstrate that you understand this value that you are living it. I’m being a little bit, undisruptive here, but I think you probably can pick up. This formula of tying the recognition to a value that the company has because that will give them a reason for doing that over and over and over. And then we’ll also share that with others, they will be able to get others to follow that same value because they know that it’s important to you. Recognition is something. Absolutely free. And it’s very powerful when you use it well. Back to Alisa,

Gene Hammett: I agree, you know, we, we haven’t left much room for this, but I want to move into the third section of your book. We’ve been talking about, , “From Start-Up to Grown-Up”, with Alisa, the author, you have the section on managing the company. What are the things that you see is the biggest mistakes people making right now in managing the company?

Alisa Cohn: Yeah there, you know, new founders and I would even say more experienced. Actually. I talked about this recently with one of my clients. Who’s a second-time founder of the first time he founded the company. He was the co-founder and chief product officer. And now he is the co-founder and CEO and, , He told me recently about an interaction that he had with his board and his board was a little upset that he had missed two forecasts in a row, right. Two quarters in a row. And they were wanting to have a little more, , frequent interaction with him in order to help him get back on track to make the budget. And he told me this, like, as in huffy, like, can you believe it? And I was thinking, waiting for the problem. And it turned out that was the whole story, but he missed the forecast and the boards want a little more, you know, focused with him. And more frequent interactions. So I think what people make mistakes on is sort of forgetting that their responsibility is actually not just to develop beautiful products and not just to actually create a beautiful culture inside of your company, but ultimately to achieve results.

And so. It sounds strange, but in the, in the sort of fog of war, it’s actually easy to lose sight of that. Now, here are some tools to help you achieve results. Number one, the dashboard number two, or RACI chart, RACI, just if is a fancy term for just standing for who’s responsible, who’s accountable who needs to be consulted and who needs to be informed because what happens is you and product or whatever, like your, your, your product, people are doing their thing, and they’re not consulting with marketing. And then they’re mad when marketing gets mad. But if you clarify, who needs to be consulted in the process, you’re going to prevent those kinds of mistakes. Then the last thing is even just clarifying roles and responsibilities will help everyone get a handle on what are we trying to get done? Who’s responsible for doing it. What are the inputs and outputs? And then you helped you move along the path.

Gene Hammett: You mentioned the board there, and I think a lot of leaders, when, when everything’s going well, everybody’s happy, right? But there are times when we hit the pandemic and there are people that are behind in this. And, and there’s this whole concept of, well, I’ve got to do what the board says because they’re the board and the board recommends that you let someone go and the Lord has all these kinds of thoughts. What is your feedback with a CEO of a company that is having a tough time with their board? Is it, is it managing up and, and really trying to do that more effectively? Or is there another approach you recommend?

Alisa Cohn: Well, in my book, I have a whole chapter, chapter 10 on managing your board, and my thesis is this. You’re thinking about your board as another direct report. Now I know that the board is kind of your boss, but if you flip the script and you think about how you manage your board, you’ll have a whole different relationship with your board. So number one, you’re responsible for making sure the bill, the board themselves together have cohesion. And there’s a culture inside of your board. Number two, you’re responsible for making sure that you have strong relationships, one-on-one with people. So when the chips are down, they’re going to stick with you. And not only that, when the chips are down and you can have a direct conversation with them, And then number three, it’s very important to, you know, to have in board meetings, some dialogue and create the context for having open and honest. And at times, even, you know, sort of con conflict in your dialogue, because that means that they could say what they want to say. And by the way, they could be helpful of course, helpful at times because they have their experience. But at the end of the day, they recognize that no matter what they say and the difference between opinions.

You, the CEO are responsible for driving the company forward. I also want to say that boards don’t always themselves understand their roles. And in my book, I talk about like all these different board characters. One is the general fighting the last battle. And I promise you that you have people on your board who are kind of leading to your company, like a company. They were on the board of two years ago. So you have to help them see that you have to lead them to an understanding of the way you see your company. And that is through constructive conversation and building relationships.

Gene Hammett: You know, we keep talking about the power of communication and most CEOs think they’re pretty good at communication. But when I do the 360 feedbacks, and I know you’ve kind of got started in your coaching career by doing this with Marshall Goldsmith, , , when you look at the 360 feedback, what are you getting? You know, the data comes back that surprises the CEO.

Alisa Cohn: Well, first of all, it’s not, I don’t experience that. All of my CEOs think they’re good communicators. So first of all, like they often know they’re not good communicators. Right. And they’re not sure what that means. I did work with a CEO one time and there was a whole discussion we had about culture and her expectations. And I said, well, have you made these expectations clear to your people? And she said, well, I sent them a slack, right. Which is kind of not sufficient. Let’s say to make sure that, you know, these things are being, you know, focused on in the company. But I guess I would say that, , the biggest surprises with people, with CEOs I work with, are number one, they don’t realize the impact that they’re having. Exactly.

Because they sort of think of themselves as just be, and especially just me from, you know, the first days I was starting the company, it was just me and 8 employees. , they don’t realize that their suggestions are orders, their inklings, are orders, their brainstorms are orders. Right? So they don’t sort of seeing the impact of their work of, of their, of their voice and of their communication. And I think that they also don’t always see. How the sort of other things that are going on around them, how maybe they play favorites and they don’t realize it. Maybe they gravitate, gravitate to a certain decision-making style that may let other people leave other people out. So those are the kinds of things I encounter in my 360 feedback.

Gene Hammett: Alisa, we’ve had a great conversation about your book. I really do appreciate you sharing that with the world. I know it’s not easy for your book to come out specifically no book is easy. What have I forgotten that you’d really want to make sure we put a spotlight on as we finish up today’s interview.

Alisa Cohn: Thank you for asking me that. First of all, it’s been a great discussion. I appreciate it. And I would just maybe add that I do have 14 scripts in the appendix of my book to help you with delicate conversations, with a difficult conversations. And I think that what I, the reason I put them in is because I was writing my book and it was going great. And, suddenly I remembered that I have these conversations with my CEOs all the time, and those will count will finally come to the point where they’re going to have that conversation with somebody and it’s still or delicate or difficult. He was about layering someone. Maybe it’s about giving difficult feedback and they’ll say, but I don’t know what to say. And then I’ll say, well, why don’t you just say, and then I’ll land what I think they should just say, or they’re furiously writing notes and you don’t have to say it again. So I realized, oh, that’s certainly valuable for people.

I’m going to codify some of them and write some of them up again to help people, the, him, this book, and to help people get their mouth around the words of difficult or delicate conversations.

Gene Hammett: Fantastic. That’s a good place to end. That’s a call to action. , that will be very clear about this great book. Thank you for sharing. From Start-Up to Grown-Up. Ah, there it is on the video. If you’re watching the video, we know most of you listened through audio, but that’s okay. Hopefully, you’re going to take this information and do something with it. Cause that’s really the key. If we go back to this, leaving yourself and then take some action behind it. Alisa, really thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Alisa Cohn: Thank you so much, Gene. It was great to be here.

Gene Hammett: Incredible interview. I love to be able to have my peers on the show before. I don’t often have a lot of coaches, but this one was quite special. Alisa is a powerhouse. I really do believe that she has insight and she has such deep experience that this interview had to be something that we would talk about. She works with a lot of startup companies. And so that’s one reason why I wanted to have her on the show. I am enjoying this book, From Start-Up to Grown-Up and it really is a powerful read. One of the things I wanted to really invite you to this moment. If you are considering how to use a coach or how to hire a coach or select a coach, one of the things you want to make sure is that there’s a personality fit.

The personality could be, you may think Alisa is great for you and what you’re doing. And I know her she’s in very much demand and you know, the new book coming out. Yeah, maybe you want to wait for that, or maybe you want to find a coach that’s in your industry that really will help you understand some of the difficulties inside the industry that you’re focused on, or maybe you want to upgrade your leadership. That’s my focus is on helping you be an extraordinary leader. As you move forward, helping you grow your business without spending more time and adding more stress to what you’re doing. That’s my specialty inside of this world of executive coaching. But you want to make sure that you choose a coach that is the best fit for you and the coach. That doesn’t challenge you. The coach that doesn’t support you in the way that you need to be supported. Isn’t going to be the one that gives you, what you really need. Now. I will say that most coaches are pretty good at these things. I would not say that, you know, in an executive coaching world there are not many bad coaches.

Now that makes it harder for you because you want to make sure that you are finding the right one for you too. To really whoever you’re investing time is, will get the most out of that time. So all that being said, I want to help you. If you want to have a conversation with me, I would love to help you figure out what that exact thing is missing in your path to be an extraordinary leader, to aligning your people, to inspiring ownership across the team, and about leading powerfully. That’s my job. I want to help you do that. All you have to do is go to and schedule your call inside that call we’ll have a conversation that you’re not having with anyone else, your board, your executive team, your, your significant other, or even the investors that you have because you want to show up differently for those conversations.

And my job is to help you show up as powerfully as you can, be clear and really understand what the focus of those conversations. I have these all the time with my clients. And this is what I love to do most is helping you figure out how you want to show up as a leader. In those difficult moments as you move forward, lead through all the chaos.

So this is just go to and schedule a call. Look forward to talking to you.

When you think of growth and you think of leadership, think of Growth Think Tank. As always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.




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