Business Developers (Coaches)
Games coaches are business developers guiding teams through the incubation period.
Coach as Business Developer
While for specific topics, an incubator might need to call on an expert to instruct aspiring game developers short-term for a specific business aspect, the core work of the incubation process, i.e. the support in business development, is usually done by a staff member of the incubator. Their role is to follow the team closely and regularly, keeping track of their progress in order to assess their future training requirements.
A coach uses formal structures and models for coaching to help the team move forwards and to learn and understand the process of building a team and company. Within the incubator, a coach will be one of the central architects of the incubation concept and programme design.
Yet, for the teams a coach will adopt the support according to where they are both mentally and in the business building process. Emotional and mental support is an essential element of the coach’s role. Often the teams are young and inexperienced, fresh out of the comfort zone of university or the opposite, so-called “splinters” i.e. senior developers leaving to start new companies, with very strong preconceptions about the path to take.
A coach should have an overview (of at least most) of these issues
- the incubator programme
- the “standard” lifecycle and growth phases that a start-up moves through
- the local industry community, contacts, etc.
- the global industry situation, market trends, conferences, etc.
- the tools and tech of the industry.
A coach needs to be able to
- identify a team’s current “phase” and then drip-feed them only the pertinent information with respect to their business evolution
- provide tools, guidelines, templates specific to their immediate needs.
The person should have core “soft skills” as well such as:
- Community building
- Guiding and supporting others emotionally
Starting a company for the first time can be overwhelming. There is so much information. The coach helps the team to gradually acquire adequate knowledge, but also makes sure that they are not discouraged by the wealth of information. This is why the aforementioned soft skills are required, to understand where the team stands and how fast a pace they can effectively and productively manage.