Wai Poc, Executive Coach

Leadership Coach Coaching Career Consult Executive

Wai@UnleashedLeaders.com • 650-438-4633

Wai Poc is an Executive Coach with +20 years of leadership experience from Fortune 500 companies to C-levels at start-ups.  For the last ~10 years of executive coaching, Wai has specialized in being a sounding board to help his clients build strategic relationships.

Wai’s sectors of expertise are high tech and biotech.  He loves engineers, technologists (scientific, medical, and operational), and all those in G&A functions due to having coached out of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.

In his last in-house role at Genentech for +10 years, Wai consulted – before, during, and after – reorgs with VP clients and their leadership teams in Engineering, Product, Research, Sales & Marketing, and G&A. Not only has Wai been ‘at the table’ on key business decisions, but also he got into coaching as a result of facilitating succession planning up to and including the SVP and CMO levels.

Innovation comes from the mixing of a wide range of ideas.  Wai values diversity, having recruited at the National Black MBA Association and at Out and Equal.  As the male co-lead for a gender diversity strategy for +2000, he presented on Gender Diversity at the National Institutes of Health.

Born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong and Miami, Wai identifies as Chino-Latino.  Crossing cultural bridges from his earliest years, Wai has traveled to +60 countries. A sabbatical field expedition to Madagascar led Wai to MacArthur Fellow and primatologist Patricia C. Wright, with whom he is now writing a book on power and politics in the workplace. Their goal is to decode the primate roots of human competition and collaboration with Unleashed:  A Field Guide to Power and Politics at Work.


Focus Areas

  • Strategic Influence:  building cross functional allies
  • Power and Politics:  navigating up, down, and across
  • Leading Change:  scaling by leading leaders and senior teams
  • Diversity and Global View:  innovating with different ideas
  • Well Being at the Executive Levels:  rebalancing for resilience

Examples of Past Coaching Engagements

  • CTO at PE-backed AI company with unicorn clients:  Leading change, incl. reorgs, to scale and integrate Machine Learning into global Engineering
  • Executive Director in Professional Services:  Lifting up from what pays today to form a go-to market strategic vision for what pays tomorrow
  • Sr. Group Medical Director:  Leading team of MDs and influencing executive decision-making
  • General Counsel at VC-backed biotech:  Widening into enterprise responsibilities, from avoiding legal risks to taking business risks
  • VP in R&D:  Partnering with a woman of color on owning her full power at the executive level

Stanford’s Graduate School of Business

Wai is currently engaged in one of the following per academic quarter:

  • OB 374:  Mentor / Facilitator in Interpersonal Dynamics, a Top 3 course for MBAs
  • OB 372:  TA for David Bradford of “Influence without Authority”
  • Leadership Coach for mid-career (35-45 years old) MSx Fellows
  • Facilitator for groups in Executive Education with Directors and VPs
  • Executive Coach with global CFOs through Executive Education 

Specialist in 360 Assessments

For several years until 2020, Wai was 1 of 5 global coaches delivering 360 assessments to all Directors at Google across the Americas, APAC and EMEA regions and enterprise-wide in Engineering / AI / Cloud, Product, Sales & Marketing, and Business & Strategic Partnerships.

Partial List of Clients 

  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • AnswerLabs
  • Jumio
  • Mozilla
  • Zynga
  • Nintendo
  • Oracle
  • Oliver Wyman
  • Russell Reynolds
  • Federal Reserve Bank
  • Stanford University Graduate School of Business
  • Stanford University School of Law
  • Stanford University Management Academy
  • Mercy Housing for Seniors
  • San Francisco’s Dept. of Public Health
  • Centre ValBio, international wildlife conservation
  • Imerys, industrial French multinational
  • Weill Cornell Medical Center
  • Sutter Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Blue Shield
  • Revance Therapeutics
  • Theravance
  • BioMarin
  • McKesson
  • Gilead
  • Vaxcyte
  • Genentech

Globally Virtually

Wai has coached clients in Germany, UK, Belgium, Spain, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, PRC / HK, India, New Zealand.

Coaching Affiliations

Korn Ferry, CoachSource, 7 Paths Forward, Stanford Graduate School of Business Coaches Consortium, Growth Axis, Mariposa Leadership

Education / Assessments / Certifications

Wai’s approach is personalized and not one-size-fits-all, meaning he integrates a wide continuing education into his executive coaching and selects for his clients what’s practical.

  • David Peterson’s 7 Paths Forward for Advanced Coaching
  • Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching
  • NVW: Certified in Integral Coaching
  • ICF:  Professional Certified Coach
  • Stanford University: BA
  • GGU (while working full-time): MBA
  • Columbia University: Certified in OD
  • UC Berkeley: Certified in HR
  • Wharton: Certified in Strategic Decision-Making
  • Caltech: Certified in Innovation Mgmt
  • Grove Consulting’s Team Performance Indicator
  • Glenn Parker Team Player Survey
  • 5 Dysfunctions of Teams
  • Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode for Negotiation
  • Stephen Drotter’s Leadership Pipeline (from GE)
  • Stanford LEAP 360
  • Korn Ferry VOICES 360
  • Design Thinking through IDEO
  • Lominger’s Career Architect from Center for Creative Leadership
  • MBTI / Myers-Briggs
  • Enneagram
  • Insights Discovery
  • StrengthFinders
  • Crucial Conversations
  • Social Styles at Work
  • Situational Leadership
  • SPIN
  • Barry Rhein’s Selling Through Curiosity
  • Miller Heiman’s Large Account Mgmt
  • Certified ScrumMaster in Agile and Lean Work Environments

To relax, Wai practices a therapeutic form of martial arts, occasionally conducts culinary experiments at home to his other half’s chagrin, loves nature but is leaving too many plants unattended, has a wishlist to learn the guitar to play Latin music, and makes up for spending too much time at work by providing snore-inducing massages to his dog Teddy Roosevelt and cat Geo.

It has taken +40 years.  Wai loves coaching his clients:  To build allies, access support, and get big things done!