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Gena Gorlin

Founder Coaching

The primary service I offer is psychological coaching to startup founders (“startup” in the Grahamian sense). As a clinical psychologist specializing in founders, I focus on the deep psychological work that might fall outside the scope of traditional executive coaching, but with a founder-specific focus that might fall outside the scope of traditional psychotherapy.

I work with the whole range of founders, from pre-seed to IPO, from first-time founders to serial founders. My current coaching rates are $500/hour for pre-seed/seed stage and $600/hour for bootstrapped or Series A+ founders, usually paid from the company budget. Book a first session here, or reach out to me for more information. No “bulk” commitment is ever required, unless we jointly agree otherwise.

The central thesis of my coaching framework is that there is a distinct mindset—what I call the builder’s mindset—exemplified by the healthy builder. The builder accepts reality, but decidedly does not accept its present configuration. Nor does the builder have to do anything, including build. The builder chooses to build and fosters joy in the effort of building, even in the brutal cycles of founding and growing a startup.

Adopting the builder’s mindset means rejecting as confused such commonplaces as “work-life balance”, “intrinsic motivation”, “intellectual humility”, and more. It means, instead, embracing radical agency, first principles thinking, radical ambitiousness, and building yourself by building.

You can read more about my framework by perusing my writing and research, and especially my newsletter.

Sample testimonials

The 3 sessions I've had with Gena have been the 3 most important hours of my life.

The first session changed the way I approached every conversation. I had a deep-seeded anxiety that made me look at conversations as a test or performance. Gena gave me tangible tools to notice that and mitigate it. It's made me a better listener, a better entrepreneur, and a better friend.

In the second, I learned how my failures in pitching my business came from a lack of confidence in my expertise. Once that was in the light, I was able to recognize that I did know my stuff and that change propagated to how I communicated and carried myself. I closed my first investor cheque the very next day for $50K.

The third helped me see how little enjoyment in my life came outside of work and how that was costing me everywhere, including, ironically, in my work and productivity. After it was over, for about an hour I felt like I was standing in front of a jet engine with a cold wind blowing the skin off my face (in a good way 😅).

The goal of becoming the best version of myself is at the core of everything I do. 3 hours with Gena helped accelerate that journey for me by years. Where else you gettin’ ROI like that?

Keshev Kulkarni
Co-founder & CEO, Cheffer Technologies

I wholeheartedly recommend Dr. Gena Gorlin as an executive coach to the YC [and broader founder] community.

Gena has been pivotal in guiding us through some of the most critical learnings and decisions at [my company]. As an executive coach, she exudes positivity and genuinely supports the mission of the founders. She champions the virtues of building something meaningful and brings to the table a wide range of both technical and clinical experience.

Gena helped me evolve into a “growth machine,” assisting me in acquiring new skills rapidly, becoming a subject matter expert, and effectively delegating tasks.

Much of my journey as an entrepreneur, I believe, has been shaped by two main elements: the market propelling me and my business forward, and the internal conflicts within our team that held us back. Gena has been instrumental in helping me resolve these internal issues, enabling us to focus our energies on tackling external market challenges.

Prior to working with Gena, I felt like almost 90% of my energy was spent on internal problems. However, with her guidance, this has now reduced to less than 10%.

Founder & CEO, backed by YC and a16z (YC founders can access full review here on Bookface)

Having worked with various executive coaches before, I can confidently say Gena is in the top 1% globally.

You can go the hard way of spending money on coach after coach, or you can just talk to her. Her deep understanding of a founder’s experience, combined with her psychological and mental tools, sets her apart.

Our weekly sessions have been transformative, even in our short time together. Hard to quantify the exact ROI, but qualitatively all I can say is—man, I wish I found Gena 3 years ago when I formed my company...

If you’re on the fence about hiring Gena or have any questions about my experience, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn or ask her to connect us.

Ammanuel (Tom) Selameab
Founder & CEO,

I was privileged to be a part of Dr. Gorlin’s 8 week pilot seminar on the Builder’s Mindset... I believe that Builder’s Mindset has a place in startup canon, alongside concepts like lean startup, 0-1, product market fit and doing things that don’t scale.

David Liu, PhD
Founder & CEO, (2x Founder, ex-Google, ex-McKinsey)