Coachilla makes matches that can change lives
Not all who wander are lost – they just need a little nudge. Finnish Coachilla has created a platform to help the nudgers and nudgees find each other, so dreams can start happening.
Many of the people who are unhappy with their current job situation kind of know what they’d rather be doing. They just, for whatever reason, haven’t quite pursued it yet.
That was the situation for Eeppi Nieminen, co-founder and CEO of Coachilla, as he was working for a few different startups after finishing his studies. The startup world had always been his target, but he found himself lacking purpose.
“It was agonising to understand my work wasn’t bettering the world, really,” he recalls. “For example, bringing more stuff into the world didn’t feel like it was for the good of anyone, which made it seem meaningless.”
It was only when Nieminen met a few coaches that he began to realise how much he was in charge of things. He started to change his ways of thinking and acting, ranging from project management practices to how he defined passion in his career.
“I realised that I can’t get anything done unless I feel passionate about it,” he tells. “It’s really valuable to acknowledge that you have to believe in what you do, and that made me contemplate what makes me tick and what I could do for others to feel the same.”
Now, the answer is right here: Coachilla helps professionals to meet verified, professional career and life coaches to support them in seeking new directions and simultaneously provides coaches with a marketplace for their services.
Two questions, one answer
Coachilla has been a dream-come-true for Nieminen, who had always had a plan of eventually founding his own company. The idea was born when he met Niklas Kinnunen, his former friend from university, and told him about how much help he had received from different coaches. Kinnunen himself had been looking for one but struggled: a Google search for “career coach” brought up countless results.
Boom. The duo realised they had identified two problems, one from each side of the market, that could be solved at once.
Marko Malinen jumped on board as the third co-founder, and the first version of the service was tested with friends and other volunteers. This proved profitable: Coachilla landed its very first paying clients. Soon, some angel investors stepped in to up the game.
Now, a beta version is available, and an actual launch awaits in 2019. First, the efforts will focus on North America, where most of the registered coaches currently hail from. The long-term plans include new language versions of the platform, although coaching is already available in about a dozen languages.
Nieminen believes Coachilla is hitting the market at just the right time. All the talk about millennials keeps repeating how today’s young adults can no longer be motivated with mere money; meaning has grown more important. Mental wellbeing and self-development are both huge and continuously growing markets.
“Working life is changing rapidly and people need to reflect on the ways they are part of it,” Nieminen notes. “Many of us are looking for self-actualisation, so that we ourselves can define what’s important.”
Not everyone jumping at the opportunities in the industry are trained professionals, however, and some bad apples have affected the credibility of the career coaching scene in general. Coachilla ensures that all service providers have training that is verified by the International Coach Federation or a similar body. On top of providing them a marketplace, Coachilla offers marketing services.
The coaching itself happens on Coachilla’s platform, and the company charges a commission on the sales. Currently, Coachilla runs on the energy of five people, with all three founders included in the team.
In four to five years, Nieminen sees himself leading a company of over 50 people globally and Coachilla becoming the global go-to place for coaches and the people looking for them. He has got a good reason to believe in the success: after all, he’s a textbook example of what coaching can lead to. Although all jobs have bad days, now he’s much happier than he used to be.
“These days I’m more than satisfied with what I do for a living. The best thing about this job is that I get to see the changes that are taking place, people feeling empowered, finding their full potential and making dreams come true.”
Text: Anne Salomäki