Startup Coaches

Untitled-7The Training of Trainers course participants share their thoughts on the course, on various topics taught there as well as other broader innovation related topics in this regular blog post series. In this blog post Lan from NATEC writes about the need of having coaches in Vietnam startup ecosystem.


There are a few media pages that Vietnamese startups are quite familiar with such as,, Blogcongnghe on Facebook, However, when I started to explore the startup media scene, I found that there were hardly any writing about experience of startup coaches and trainers.

Perhaps the terminologies such as “startup coaches” or “startup trainers” are still quite novel in Vietnam. While the act of bringing successful entrepreneurs to incubation/acceleration programs as guest speakers to share their experiences with startups is quite common, the sharing are often one-off activities. The long term relationship between coaches/trainers and startups hasn’t take off yet.

I was lucky enough to join the first batch of IPP’s Training of trainer (TOT) program starting June 2015 to become a startup trainer in the future. 3 weeks into the course, I have realized the importance of professional coaching and the role of startup coaches in Vietnam.

What is coaching?

This is the definition I learned from class and can’t find any better one: “coaching equals teaching and training for groups or individuals in an effort to achieve specific personal, professional, or organizational goals.”

Unlike mentoring which focuses on personal and career goal, coaching focuses on job and overall performance. It is not a kind of one-off activities but happens on regular basis. It targets very specific needs and goals of startups. In other words, coaches together with startups solve startup problems.

Do Vietnam startups need coaches?

Everywhere in the world, startups are those most vulnerable in their early stage of growth. In Vietnam, the situation seems to be worse where people can rarely get access to entrepreneurship training. Moreover, startups too often fall in love with the technicality of their products and tend to forget about the importance of running a real business.

I have seen many startups being barely in existence for 2-5 years, winning myriads of startup competitions and appearing in many startup media channels but still getting no revenue and now being lost on where to go next.

With critical help of coaches along the way, startups will be able to reduce their risks and move faster to achieve their goals or just simply realize that their business is getting nowhere and make a rightful decision to stop.

How to create generation of startup coaches in Vietnam?

We need to first start with a seed group. IPP TOT program is planning its seed right now with the first 12 innovation champions being trained intensively for 8 months to become future coachers. During this time, we will also create a curriculum that later future coaches can use as reference to deliver their services to startups.

My goal as a startup coach?

Coming from the Ministry of Science and Technology, my specific career task is to help build and develop a strong national-level startup ecosystem in Vietnam. Though that includes many things people often say our ecosystem desperately needs such as more funding or better legal framework, I believe it all needs to start with boosting startup quality.

I want to first become a good startup coach to really understand how to help startup from the grass root level, then the macro level policies and initiatives will start making sense….


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