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Chris Baker, Leadership Coach

Clydesdale Group, LLC is a leadership coaching and executive consulting firm run by CTI  certified coach and SCC Catalyst Member, Chris Baker. Chris partners with clients who have typically made their way up through the ranks of a given profession or trade.  His clients often find themselves in transition; new to leadership, promoted, in development for leadership, filling a new role, making a career change, have discovered blind-spots, or simply want to improve.

SCC: How did you become a coach?

CB: Cancer brought me to coaching, towards the end of a long career. I was having success,
in the traditional way of thinking about it. But it was not happy or fulfilling. I went to my first CTI class in November of 2016 and was diagnosed three months later, which led to me retiring and starting to call myself a coach. People who have cancer often say it was the best thing that happened to them. I would say that, too. It sucked, but it was a catalyst to bring me where I am today.

SCC: What is your niche?

CB: Leadership. I was a leader, so I think of myself as a mentor coach in the leadership area. More specifically, I love to work with people who are making the transition from expert to leader. Some people make it fine, but so many have incomplete model of leadership. I can help these people, no matter what trade or industry.

Many of my clients started out working with their hands, and now they’re the boss. What’s fascinating is that there’s a common set of challenges, all the way from a first transition into leadership to the C-suite. 

SCC: How has your coaching evolved in the four years you’ve been practicing?

CB: I have developed a deeper understanding of my niche. When I first started, it was almost too easy. I had the network and connections from my previous life, and I found myself going down paths that didn’t fulfill me. I tried some consulting, worked with clients who weren’t right for me. Now I’m learning to say no and to reach out to people who are ready for this process.

I’ve also refined my marketing strategy to connect with decision makers at companies that have between 10 and 500 employers and need help growing leaders. It was a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious) that CEOs are the ones with the resources to hire a coach for their frontline leaders, middle managers, etc.

SCC: What motivated you to join SCC as a Catalyst Member?

CB: I was born and raised in Santa Cruz. I’m steeped in business coaching, which tends to mean much of my business is over the hill. Santa Cruz Coaches provides a chance to get out in the community more and connect with others who do what we do. It’s also great for networking. I’ve connected two coaches with nonprofits just by having a list of coaches to offer. That’s a great thing about SCC.