I was looking for a marketing agency recently and was surprised at the pushback when I asked for references. “Too much hassle for our clients.” “We’ve earned the right not to give references.” “Our work speaks for itself.” I didn’t hire them. No matter how great their portfolios looked their work did not speak for itself, which is why I wanted references.
It's a combination of "good founders don't need coaches" (untrue) and not knowing how to find a good coach (a real problem).
I like the reference to a coach or mentor. You never see a team go out on the field or rink without one. Why do so many business owners play without one?