The Coach Approach with Crystal Henrickson

Blog March 25, 2020

Posted by Harrison Crerar

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Big things don’t happen overnight, it starts with a few small steps made at the right time. You’re going to want Crystal in your corner to help you take the right steps.

Our Startup programs are designed to help businesses who are ready to take their business to market through peer-to-peer engagements, one-on-one business coaching, and entrepreneurial training and resources with industry-expert mentors.

What makes our mentors so qualified? They’ve been there. They’ve lived the challenges, thrived in success and, most importantly, learned what leads to both of those outcomes.

We recently caught up with one of our mentors, Crystal Henrickson, to find out more about what makes her uniquely qualified.



Before I joined Accelerate Okanagan as a mentor, I was consulting with startup founders, new managers and leaders, and they were having a hard time executing on anything I was consulting on. Things were being implemented in a way that made no sense. I knew I needed to start a shift in how I was approaching my own consulting and advising, I needed to move more into coaching. During a real “f*ck it” moment, my business partner and I thought we could support startup companies in their people, development, and operations. So we started Talent Collective.


With Accelerate Okanagan, mentors aren’t the ones implementing the work, they help entrepreneurs figure out how to identify actions and establish accountability on implementations. It’s a behavioural shift with new skills to learn, I help guide them through it by being collaborative and taking a coach-approach to my advising. My job isn’t to be a shield, it’s to be a guide. I’m an explorer with a flashlight, shining it in those dark corners saying: “Hey, look at that! Look at that shadow. It’s the thing that’s keeping you up at night. Let’s deal with it together.”


Sometimes we see criticisms more easily in others than we do in ourselves. This is sometimes where we start with leaders. The whole position of a coach is to be non-judgemental. When telling a client about how I approached a situation, I never leave it there. Once they’ve heard my story, I want to know how they take that in, what inputs did they get? How does it alter their decision making? I try to force the undiscussable questions.


Everybody’s inside game runs their outside game. If my inside game is authentic to myself and the values I have, then my outside game will reflect that. However, if your inside game is a mess and you don’t have a lot of self-awareness, constantly blaming outside forces, then you’re not being yourself. I’m going to call you out when behaviours are sabotaging you from being your best self. I’m kind of hardwired to the root of those underlying problems.



When building OKRs for a business, I also encourage founders to create a set of OKRs for themselves. Lots of people don’t want to go there right away, just like people don’t want to correct issues in their business. They’d rather buy a shiny new tool. You’re hoping for a quick-fix, then I come in with the unpopular message of “no, we need to work on the inside stuff first”. I’m someone who is going to question underlying beliefs. If companies don’t want to do anything with my recommendations then I’m not going to stop them.


If I did my job really well, they don’t notice. The time it takes for changes in the inside game to translate to the outside game is so long that they may not even notice anything’s changed. They’ve taken full ownership of themselves and come into their own. People are less chaotic when running into a fire. People are working the same amount, the problems are no less complicated, but the weight that they’re caring for themselves has lightened.


At Yelp, I made all the classic mistakes of a new manager. It’s isolating. I wish I knew how valuable individual, confidential conversations with team members were back then. Now I try to be that for everyone I work with. How we hold relationships with ourselves and with others is something that we don’t explore enough. It’s easy to think you don’t have time for relationship management.


Connect with Crystal or meet our other Startup EiRs. Learn more about Accelerate Okanagan’s Startup program.

Looking for more from Crystal? Check out her Working From Home blogs:

Part 1: Mindset >>

Part 2: Etiquette >>

Hungry for more Startup success stories?

Victory Lap | Jetsitters >>

New Kids on the Block >>

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