George Sudarkoff is an Executive Coach for profoundly gifted leaders with ADHD. He has a postgraduate degree in Systems Engineering with a minor in Psychology and Education.
George’s professional journey, rooted in over thirty years in engineering and entrepreneurship, laid the foundation for his coaching practice that he established in 2019. Diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 47, he understands what it’s like to experience a late diagnosis after a life of struggle and self-doubt.
George spends most of his time supporting leaders around the world, helping them build strong organizations, foster authentic leadership, and find a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction in their lives.
He lives in Campbell, California, with his wife, Adi. They have two children, Max and Sophie, and a cuddly Labradoodle named Rosie.
When I quit my last W2 job in 2019 to start a tech company, three things became immediately apparent to me:
- I had an undiagnosed and untreated ADHD that was 20% a blessing and 80% a liability. And I didn’t know how to change that balance.
- I lost the structure and the external accountability that my W2 job provided.
- My co-founders, as incredible as they were, were too close to the problem to offer an insight into my circumstances.
Unsurprisingly, I was struggling, and the company ultimately failed. However, I learned a lot from that experience and vowed to support other leaders who might feel alone in their struggles.
Now, as an Executive Coach, I specialize in helping profoundly gifted and quirky leaders with ADHD and on the Autism spectrum lead authentically, build a fulfilling career, and find a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction in their lives.
No leader, be they neurodivergent or neurotypical, should ever feel alone and unsupported.
I was born in a tiny Siberian village in the spring of 1973. My mom walked the last few miles to the hospital through the literal snow (probably uphill, too). Because the tractor she rode got stuck in the slush of snow and mud. When she finally got to the hospital, she discovered the power was out. So, I was born with candlelight. That's why I'm such a romantic!
I took my wife Adi to visit the said hospital in 2011, and she decided I was lying. Because that log cabin, according to her, could not have possibly been a hospital. She was born at Kaiser.
In my teens, I was a competitive ballroom dancer. I was reasonably good and even made a podium once. But it didn't last; I got distracted by music.
I'm a classically trained musician, and for over a decade in my 20s, I fronted what today we'd call a prog metal band. Lead guitar and vocals. I listen to all kinds of music nowadays, but prog will always have a special place in my heart.
I've also been in a cult for about a year in my 20s. That experience made me aware of how predictable and manipulatable human beings are. And how thin the line between influence and manipulation is.
If the mechanics are exactly the same, what's the difference between an influential leader and a manipulative one? It comes down to whether the intent is to add clarity and meaning or to obscure it. Whether it's in service of the individual being influenced (i.e., servant leadership) or the person doing the influencing.
Unfortunately, My cult experience also meant that I was very skeptical for a long time. Only in the last ten years did I realize that skepticism is toxic and curiosity is a better mindset.
Skepticism is arrogant; it says, "I know better." Curiosity says, "Tell me more!"
Skepticism has an agenda. If you go looking for signs that whatever you're skeptical about is false, of course, you'll find them. It's hard to be objective with a skeptical mind. You're constantly up against the human nature. You have to dodge the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon—the type of cognitive bias your mind creates when you learn some obscure new piece of information, and suddenly you see it everywhere, and the confirmation bias.
Curiosity, however, is open and allows the evidence to lead you wherever it will, even if the truth goes against your current beliefs.
Moving to the US
I left Russia in 2000 and settled in the San Francisco Bay Area. I met my wife Adi in 2010; we met rock climbing. A couple of years later, I belayed her up a steep climb, and she mentioned this might be the last time she climbed for a few months. The next day, she went into labor and gave birth to our son Max. Then, a couple of years later, she gave birth to our daughter Sophie.
Nowadays, In my spare time, I race road bikes (I say "race," but it's just a few overly enthusiastic middle-aged friends unable to simply enjoy a leisurely ride). I rock climb on occasion. And I sometimes sail.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I also meet all the diagnostic criteria for ASD but haven't bothered with an official diagnosis. Getting diagnosed explained a lot of my life to me and has been incredibly healing.
My neurodivergence allows me to see the forest, trees, and every blade of grass around me. I've always been good at spotting somebody sitting in a corner of the room, having a different experience from the rest of the group. Drawing them into the conversation has always been illuminating.
It also makes me more open to the range of experiences people from all ends of all spectrums might have.
There's also this fascinating interplay between distractability and hyperfocus. It's like pointing a telescope at a blank patch of the sky and discovering galaxies upon galaxies there. There are lots of new dots to connect! It helps problem-solving, creativity, and so on.
Honesty and authenticity as well. However, the relationship between masking, adhering to social norms, and authenticity is difficult to navigate!
What makes someone a good coach?
Somebody asked me recently what I thought made somebody a good coach. This was my answer.
Hands down, what makes somebody a good coach is having done the work on themselves. As the trite but true saying goes, you can't take a client further than you've been willing to go yourself.
As for the skills, the main one is the ability to help a client navigate the territory you've never seen. You might never see it because it's inside your client's head. And do so without bringing any of your own biases into the process.
I work with many folks who are underrepresented in tech leadership. As a white middle-aged man, 90% of the time, I've no idea what they are going through. The best I can do is keep my opinions out of the process and learn from them.
Read what others had to say about working with me as their coach here.
The primary focus of my practice is on helping you, my client, increase your psychological flexibility.
Psychological flexibility refers to the ability to adapt and adjust your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in response to changing situations while staying aligned with your values and goals.
A number of studies have found that psychological flexibility enables leaders to:
- navigate uncertainty,
- increase resilience in the face of adversity,
- reduce stress and burnout,
- foster collaboration,
- improve employee engagement and satisfaction, and
- make effective decisions.
Tiny Habits Coach
Tiny Habits® is a breakthrough behavior change method developed by BJ Fogg, Director of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) stems from traditional behavior therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. You will learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with your inner emotions and, instead, accept that these feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations that should not prevent you from moving forward.
Discover Your Values
George's custom-tailored method to help you discover your individual core values, and integrate them into your professional and personal life.
Mindfulness Meditation Coach
Mindfulness meditation is unique in that it helps you become aware of what is already true moment by moment. It teaches you to be unconditionally present with whatever is happening, no matter what it is.
Why work with us?
- We only take on clients we can meaningfully support in any given week.
- This allows us to develop a deep understanding of our clients’ unique challenges and gifts. And offer support tailored to their needs.
- Similarly, we can offer our clients unlimited coaching via Slack between sessions for continuous, seamless support.
- We don’t stop at insights. We're there for our clients at every turn, challenging their thinking, helping them develop expertise in new areas, and supporting them as they create new habits and practices.