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 Inclusion:  innovating with more points of view
  • Sustaining Resilience:  integrating work and well-being

Examples of Past Coaching Engagements

  • CTO at PE-backed AI co. with unicorn clients:  leading change, incl. reorgs, to scale and integrate Machine Learning into global Engineering
  • Director in UX:  building strategic relationships to be more effective on xfn product review meetings with partners in Eng, Product, PM, and Marketing
  • Sr. Group Medical Director:  leading team of MDs and influencing executives
  • General Counsel at VC-backed biotech:  widening into enterprise responsibilities, taking business risks vs. avoiding legal risks
  • VP in R&D:  needing a sounding board as a woman of color, negotiating where to fit in and where to be differentiated on values

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

Wai is also 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.

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 Advance Coaching
  • Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching
  • NVW: Certified in Integral Coaching
  • 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!