Slava Rubin on How an Executive Coach Helps Him Be a Better CEO

In Chapter 5 of 15 in his 2013 Capture Your Flag interview, Indiegogo CEO Slava Rubin answers "What Skills Are You Working on Right Now to Become Better at Your Job?" Rubin shares how working with an executive coach helps him be a better CEO by improving his decision making, listening, and management skills. He shares how the executive coaching relationship complements what he learns from his cofounders, board of directors, and investors. Slava Rubin is CEO and co-founder of Indiegogo, the world's largest crowdfunding platform. Indiegogo empowers anyone, anywhere, anytime to raise funds for any idea—creative, cause-related or entrepreneurial. Prior to Indiegogo, Rubin worked as a management consultant. He earned his BSE degree from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.


Erik Michielsen: What skills are you working on right now to become better at your job?

Slava Rubin: Definitely around how to lead, how to make decisions, how to listen, and how to focus on people.

Erik Michielsen: Where do you get that direction? Do you have a board of directors now?

Slava Rubin: We do have a board of directors. We’ve had a board of directors since we closed the seed round 2 years ago.

Erik Michielsen: And how do you receive guidance from the board of directors and how does that compare and contrast from the guidance that you receive from, say your co-founders?

Slava Rubin: Typically, in the board meeting, it is a little bit more functional for us, where we’re discussing “What are the challenges? What are the opportunities? How do the numbers look? What are we focusing on the next quarter or what do we do for the last quarter?” But I am in touch with the board and the other investors and advisors a lot throughout them, 3 months between board meetings, plus we’re constantly in touch as executive senior management of the team, and I also have an executive coach. So these are just things where we pull together different feedback, and listening, and keep on trying to improve.

Erik Michielsen: What have you found most helpful in the executive coaching relationship?

Slava Rubin: An executive coach is helpful from the standpoint of everybody has a little bit of bias sometimes in their relationship with you, so it’s hard to be completely open and be able to really have complete feedback as part of the process because an investor has their bias, a co-founder has their own bias, an employee has their own bias, so it’s good to speak to somebody who is a professional, who is just constantly speaking to your type of similar individuals. For me, the situation is founder or CEO, and being able to parallel that, to explain, “Hey, this is what I’ve seen. Are there people going through a similar situation? Maybe this is what you’re going through, and maybe have you thought about this?” So it’s helpful.