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How it all began...

Updated: Apr 16

I’m sitting in front of my laptop; the video call window opens, and Carolin Ehrensberger, the founder of Coach-Wave, joins the call. Her broad and generous smile immediately fills my screen. I've requested an interview with her for this blog post, aiming to discuss her journey to founding Coach-Wave.

"Who I am? That's not really important," Caro laughs and begins to tell her story.

After graduating from high school in Düsseldorf, she studied business administration and found her way into the tech industry at a young software company after completing her bachelor's degree. She grew alongside the company, experiencing highs and lows, eventually becoming part of the leadership team. However, it was primarily her passion for strategy and product development that she discovered there, and she found her "entrepreneurial spirit," which became her guiding force from then on.

As we delve into the conversation, it quickly becomes clear how influential Caro's first professional experience was for her future path. Her curious, open, and professional demeanor allowed her to quickly adapt and tackle complex tasks. 

Driven by the desire to continue developing, she participated in an online training course on product management. In this webinar, she encountered a Product Coach who inspired her. She promptly reached out and arranged her first "career" coaching session. Together, they discussed Caro's professional requirements, expectations, and goals, and worked on enhancing her professional skills and strengths. After a couple of sessions, a change in Caro's professional life became evident. She felt more mentally structured, had more trust in her strengths, and was motivated to take the next steps in her career. She considered her first coaching experience a "complete success."

Subsequently, Caro also identified areas for improvement within the leadership team that could be addressed through coaching. Together with the team, she considered engaging in group coaching. The goal was to improve collaboration, work processes, and communication within the team. However, not everyone was enthusiastic about the proposal: "Some colleagues struggled with prejudices against coaching and hesitated to potentially show vulnerability," Caro recalls.

For Caro, openness always presents an opportunity for further development: "Ultimately, you can always learn something," she says. After successful persuasion, the team decided to participate in a two-day strategy workshop followed by specific coaching sessions. The conclusion: Discussing weaknesses, strengths, problems, and potentials openly with colleagues is challenging but rewarding. Facing this challenge as a team provided an opportunity not only to understand oneself better but also to strengthen and deepen interpersonal relationships.

"Understanding myself somehow fascinates me," Caro replies with a broad grin when asked about her interest in psychological topics. Since she can remember, she has been driven to ask the bigger questions about the "why," "how," and "what." Open communication has always been ingrained in her. To get to know herself better, it is important for her to speak openly with family, friends, and even strangers. As she grew older, her desire to help other people get to know themselves better grew as well. With the aim of learning the necessary skills to found something herself that helps people unleash their full potential, she decided to pursue a master's in "Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurial Leadership."

The first idea of what such a platform could look like came to her and her classmates one day when they were asked to go out onto the street and interview strangers about their failures. "We were surprised how openly people talked to us. It was totally crazy," she recalls. The realization that people often feel alone in their failures prompted the idea of developing software that connects people facing challenges with those who can help them. The question of what such a platform could look like accompanied Caro from then on.

The desire to pave her own way grew larger throughout her studies, parallel to her career. Additionally, she wanted to continue developing personally. Due to her previous positive coaching experiences, she decided to look for a coach again this time. "For me, it was important to find someone who helps me sort out and structure my thoughts," Caro explains. The question now was, "Where do I find someone like that?"

Caro was fortunate; her mother is a coach herself and could, therefore, access a broad network of renowned coaches. A session was quickly arranged. However, at the beginning of the coaching, Caro noticed that there was no interpersonal connection. Nevertheless, she completed the coaching session; after all, she had already paid dearly for it. Looking back, Caro says, "It felt more like I took three steps back than one forward."

Usually, a free introductory conversation is common "to see if the chemistry is right, if you feel comfortable telling this person about your problems and concerns," Caro realized afterward. "I still believe that the coach wasn't inherently bad. Her coaching style, which may work great for others, just wasn't right for me at that time," she adds. The thought that this mismatch could have been avoided fueled her idea for her own coaching platform.

Through a recommendation, Caro finally found a suitable coach who offered a free introductory session. "I immediately liked her in the introductory conversation. We could determine there if she could help me with my issues and devise a plan for how we would work on them. That gave me a good feeling." Caro decided to arrange another session to start the coaching.

In her one-on-one coaching, Caro dealt with questions like, "What do I want to have achieved by the end of my life? What would I be proud of? What kind of life do I want to live?" Together, they went through her options: changing jobs, starting a business, or doing something completely different. They did a practical exercise; Caro was supposed to write down the options and lay the pieces of paper with the individual possibilities on the floor. "I practically had to visit the options and tell how my life would look," Caro remembers. It quickly became apparent that the piece of paper labeled "Starting a business" attracted her like magic and felt right. "It felt as if the encounters during my master's, as well as the professional successes, led me here," she says. After coaching, it was clear to her: "I have to try to build my own thing."

Caro thus made a decision; she wanted to start a business. The topics that inspired her were mental health, interpersonal exchange, and personal development. She believed that it should be easier to find professionals/coaches when you feel alone with a certain issue, need help, and want to unleash your potential. Caro explained that she started asking around. She spoke with coaches and learned about their challenges in finding clients. In conversation with her friends, the desire to talk about topics, to want to develop further, emerged, but nobody really knew how and where to find someone like that, Caro recalls. Long story short: "There seem to be problems on both sides. Coaches want to coach more but cannot find their clients. The people who want coaching cannot find their coaches. The whole process is completely opaque; the qualifications of the coaches are unclear, free initial consultations are sometimes standard, sometimes not, and finding a suitable coach can sometimes take forever…” Caro was sure that there should be technology for this! She could help in this area!

"And here we are today," Caro concludes with a smile. I thank her for the interview and hang up. I am impressed by her courage to challenge herself, both professionally and personally, and believe that we can all learn something from Caro's story. Her decision, her "entrepreneurial spirit," and her convictions ultimately led to the founding of Coach-Wave. A platform that aims to support mental well-being and personal development. Coach-Wave makes it easy and transparent to find a suitable and qualified coach who can help you unleash your full potential and overcome any crises. In the end, it's about showing that we all struggle with our weaknesses, but we are not alone on the journey to our strengths.

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