August 31, 2023

My journey from founder to coach

For nearly a decade, I have been coaching a few other successful entrepreneurs consistently one on one. But in Summer 2022, the feedback I got for my coaching sessions changed. While earlier it was “super helpful”, now several people used the word “life-changing”.

As the founder of Qype, I worked at the highest speed and efficiency in my career. Yet, I was under immense pressure and had no one to really turn to. The VCs were extremely demanding, we had just our second child, and I was functioning above my limits.

The chairman we brought in was fantastic, but he also could not help me to defend myself at various demands from shareholders, employees, and family members. In the end, I suffered a real burnout. The internal pressure had built up so much that I couldn’t write anymore. Quite literally, I did not have the ability to fill in forms or put a legible signature on paper. So high was the pressure in my body. I can’t even begin to imagine what my wife went through in that phase.

That was more than a decade ago. Since then, I have continued to evolve. As a business person and as a human being. I learned to have better boards. I learned to look after myself in many ways. I had help from coaches and mentors but also quite some learnings regarding whom to avoid. I also mentored several hundred of entrepreneurs through different organisations.

For nearly a decade, I have been coaching a few other successful entrepreneurs consistently one on one. But in Summer 2022, the feedback I got for my coaching sessions changed. While earlier it was “super helpful”, now several people used the word “life-changing”.

Entrepreneurs come to me, for example, for a business pivot or to discuss their future organisation for scaling up. But as we engage on a journey to the deeply personal, to the emotional, to core beliefs, we create change. This journey is never easy, but I can honestly say that the results I have observed people make are mind-blowing. Entrepreneurs have changed their lives, improved their level of happiness, and changed their organisations for the better.

So for me, this is where I currently see much more impact than merely supporting another early-stage startup with some cash. I want to be the person to turn to that I did not have when things were tough at Qype.

I don’t hold back anymore with my emotional side.

Stephan Uhrenbacher

Coach for entrepreneurs, founder, speaker and author

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