Hi, I'm George


George Sudarkoff

Executive Coach

My official bio

As an executive coach, George helps exceptional and quirky executives lead with a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction. With primary focus on psychological flexibility, he helps his clients develop greater self-awareness, and master their emotional state. His clients learn to lead authentically, make better decisions, and create a lasting impact with his support.

Before starting his coaching practice in 2019, for over two decades George was an engineer, an engineering leader, and a serial entrepreneur.

He distills 30 years of his diverse experience to create a coaching method that has one end goal in mind for you: a fulfilling career and a greater sense of purpose and satisfaction in life.

George lives in San Francisco Bay Area with his wife Adi and their two kids Max and Sophie. In his free time he enjoys climbing rocks, sailing boats, and racing road bikes.

Wait! But who are you REALLY?

Hi, this is George speaking. I wanted to add a little more color to the above bio, and to introduce you to the human behind this business.

My origins

I was born in a tiny Siberian village in spring of 1973. My mom walked the last couple of 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 that 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 said hospital in 2011, and she decided I was lying. Cause that log cabin, according to her, could not have possibly been a hospital. She was born at Kaiser.

Early influences

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 acutely aware of how predictable and manipulatable human beings are. And how thin the line between influence and manipulation is.

You might wonder, if the mechanics are exactly the same, what's the difference between an influential leader and a manipulative one? For me 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 in service of the person doing the influencing.

My cult experience unfortunately also meant that I was very skeptical for a very long time. Only in the last 10 years I started to realize that skepticism is toxic, and that curiosity is a much 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, on the other hand, is open and allows the evidence to lead you wherever it will, even if the truth goes against your current beliefs.

Moving to US

I left Russia in 2000 and settled in San Francisco Bay Area. I met my wife Adi in 2010, we met rock climbing. A couple of years later I was belayed her up a steep climb and she mentioned this might be the last time she climbs 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 really 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.

I think my neurodivergence is what allows me to see the forest, and the trees, and every single 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.

I also hope it 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. Lots of new dots to connect! It helps problem-solving, creativity, and so on.

Honesty and authenticity as well. Though the relationship between masking, adhering to social norms, and authenticity is difficult to navigate!

What makes a good coach?

Somebody asked me recently what I thought made somebody a good coach. This was my answer.

I think 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, I think, is the ability to help a client navigate the territory you've never seen. Might never see, actually, because it's inside your client's head. And do so without bringing any of your own biases into the process.

I work with a lot of folks 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 with them.

Read what others had to say about working with me as their coach here.


My toolbox

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.

ACT Practitioner

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.

Public appearances

3 Easy Ways to Prioritize Your Activities

Red Beard Radio with Brian Keith

March 30, 2021

Brian Keith interviewed me about my values-based approach to prioritizing work.

Why Choose Curiosity Over Skepticism

Red Beard Radio with Brian Keith

February 16, 2021

I sat down with Brian Keith to chat about the pitfalls of skepticism and the power of curiosity.

Mindfulness and Curiosity

Manager as a Coach with Alex Martynov

September 7, 2020

Alex Martynov sat down with me to talk about the importance of mindfulness and curiosity for being a good coach.

Distributed Ops for Distributed Apps

Velocity 2016 - Amsterdam, The Netherlands

November 7, 2016

My talk on scaling technical operations of modern distributed applications, such as microservices.

Read Transcript

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