Bravely Co-Founder and President, Sarah Sheehan on VatorNews podcast

Kristin Karaoglu · September 17, 2021 · Short URL:

A bottoms-up approach to giving every employee a voice upon which employers can act on

Bambi Francisco Roizen interviews Sarah Sheehan, Co-Founder and President of Bravely. Bravely connects people with professional coaches for confidential conversations about whatever they're facing at work.

Takeaways --

-- Bravely is reimagining what coaching can be for all professionals, not just upper-level executives. Traditional coaching platforms mostly target managers. Bravely has a bottoms-up approach to give a voice to the individual.

-- While employees can share their anxieties (stress before meeting with a manager, or feeling discriminated against), they can also talk to coaches about learning new skills, like being a better manager or learning how to communicate. 

-- ROI for employers? Anecdotally, 92% of employees say they feel positive after having a Bravely session. 

-- Employers pay per employee, per month (not per usage). One benefit is that Bravely provides quarterly reviews aggregating insights from anonymized employee sessions. The sessions are triggered by employees, not the company. Traditionally, companies get manager feedback or send out surveys. This is top-down driven and may not capture the sentiment across a company. Through this process, Bravely can surface up what those struggles and issues are that employees are feeling. Bravely can aggregate that data and turn it into actionable insights.  

-- What concerns are people having? Besides Covid, there’s social unrest. Bravely can surface up “if people of color are raising concerns” of bias toward them. If enough data is collected, a company can be compelled to offer more bias-awareness training.  People right now are feeling anxiety because the new normal is sitting at home; there are feelings of isolation, translating to “renewal of imposter syndrome” [imposter syndrome is doubting one’s abilities].  

-- Bravely doesn’t disclose the number of companies it works with, but it sees 25-35% engagement and utilization. 

-- Bravely doesn’t disclose how many coaches are on staff or their compensation. But coaches are 1099 employees and get paid per hour (45 minute session, 10-15 survey to collect data about the session). The upshot of working with Bravely is the platform model whereby Bravely handles the administration and marketing. 

-- How does Bravely compete? Other companies may provide coaching to employees, but Bravely's superpower is surfacing up sentiment across all employees. Bravely has the ability to support people on the individual level and take in their personal individual circumstances. 

-- Bravely’s coaches are aligned with an interest-based or Momentum-based methodology. This approach encourages people to see a situation from the perspective of the other person or the organization at large. We tend to go inward and think about how something impacts us vs the big picture. Helping people open their eyes to everything.  

-- Bravely is also starting to focus on DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging) and matching people with identities (e.g. a black woman matched with another black woman).

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Kristin Karaoglu

Woman of many skills: Database System Engineer; SplashX event producer; Author of Startup Teams

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