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A Coaching Story

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The Book

Last Christmas, I received the book Trillion Dollar Coach by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle, as gift from my older brother. The book is about stories of the legendary, Silicon Valley coach Bill Campbell and his approach to coaching. However, as helpful as I found the book, what stands out to me most is the following story, edited for dramatic effect. 🙂 

The Introductory Meeting

CEO and Venture Capitalist

A venture capitalist and the newly appointed CEO of a Silicon Valley startup, are finishing their introductory meeting. 

As the CEO is heading for the door, the Venture Capitalist hands him a business card.

“Here’s the name and number of a professional coach. Call him,” said the Venture Capitalist. The CEO pauses and thinks to himself, ‘Seriously? Does this guy know who I am?’ 

The Venture Capitalist just smiles as if hearing the new CEO’s inside voice. To which the CEO replies, “Thank you. I’d be glad to call the coach.” 

The CEO Wrote

Less than a year later the CEO wrote: “Bill Campbell has been very helpful in coaching all of us. In hindsight, the role was needed from the beginning. I should have encouraged the structure sooner, ideally the moment I started at Google.”  Eric Schmidt, former CEO and chairman of Google. 

The Venture Capitalist? John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins.

Coaching CEO

Moral of the Story

The moral of the story for me, is that if coaching is embraced by people this accomplished in their careers, perhaps it could be effective for me as well. Of course I don’t aspire to be perfect, nor is it likely I’ll ever be a billionaire like Schmidt and Doerr. However, forward to the present day: Coaching has had such I positive impact on my leadership abilities in the last couple of years, I too wish I had done it sooner. Better late than never!