StartUp Advisor vs Founder Coach

A startup advisor is a professional who provides guidance and support to early-stage companies on a range of topics, including business strategy, technical issues, sales, and scaling. Advisors are often compensated with equity in the company and may have a specific area of expertise or focus. They may serve as part of an advisory board or advisory program, and their role is typically more long term in nature.

A founder coach, on the other hand, is a professional who provides one-on-one support and guidance to a company’s founder or executive leadership team. Founder coaches may help founders to develop their leadership skills and navigate the challenges of building and scaling a startup. They are generally paid an hourly rate for their services, and there is generally no formal contractual obligation for either party to continue the relationship.

In the early stages of a company, it can make sense for the same person to play both the role of advisor and coach. As the company grows and develops a more formalized board and executive team, it may be beneficial to separate these roles.

Both advisors and coaches can bring valuable insights and expertise to a startup. The right advisor or coach can help founders to think critically about their business, provide perspective and guidance on key decisions, and help to identify areas of potential risk or opportunity. Ultimately, the right advisor or coach can be a valuable asset for any startup, helping to accelerate growth and increase the chances of success.

Advisor: A more formal role, either as part of an advisory board or advisory program that is more long term in nature, often remunerated with equity where the advisor is working for the company.
An advisor will general see an equity position in the company (0.5 – 2.5%) vested over time so if the founder or advisor are looking to end the relationship, the advisor has only earned based on the time provided. Generally there are other programmatic protections to ensure claw back of equity provided to an advisor if the relationship ends within a certain period or on failure to deliver on the agreed outputs.

Coach: This is more of a 1-1 role generally directly with the company founder or executive leadership team working on and talking through challenges, approach, and providing insights and guidance to grow the leader in his or her role.
A coach will generally be paid an hourly rate based on either blocks (8 hours a month) or based on scheduled calls, there is no contractual obligation of either party to continue the relationship at any time.

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