Five Strategy Questions to Ask Today


5 Lessons Learned From A $1,000,000,000 Coach

By May 3, 2019 No Comments

Silicon Valley legends Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Sheryl Sandberg have a few of obvious things in common…

Namely, they are smart, high-performing leaders of smart, high-profile companies.

Recently Schmidt (the former CEO of Google) revealed a less obvious, more counter-intuitive connection among them all: they were all coached by a guy named Bill Campbell.

In fact these three are just a few of the 100s of world-changing leaders who, as Schmidt describes in his new book, Trillion Dollar Coach, benefitted from Campbell’s wisdom, guidance and friendship.

As Schmidt shared in an interview:

“If you add up what Bill did, the valuations of Apple and Google, plus the other companies he coached are approaching $2 trillion of shareholder value. That’s never been done before in history. He is a truly unique individual and well worth studying.”

Here are a few “secrets” of that study…

5 Lessons Learned From The “Trillion Dollar” Coach

Coach Campbell passed away in 2016, but over the past three years Schmidt and his co-writers interviewed 80+ men and women who worked with him to identify, and share, over a dozen foundational principles of his coaching.

Below, I’ve selected five that can have a profound positive impact on any leader, or team:

  1. It’s The People: The top priority of any manager is the well-being and success of her people.
  2. Lead With Values. Every leader must define the immutable truths that serve as the foundation for the company and use them to guide decision-making.
  3. Be The Evangelist For Courage: Believe in people more than they believe in themselves, and push them to be more courageous.
  4. Work The Team, Then The Problem: When faced with a problem or opportunity, the first step is to ensure the right team is in place and working on it.
  5. Solve The Biggest Problem, First: Identify the “elephant in the room,” bring it front and center, and tackle it first.

Great Leaders Are Great Coaches

Today, more than ever before, all leaders must not only have a great coach, but they must be great coaches, as well.

For those who aspire to become more effective at coaching their team, Campbell offers more pointed advice: “Don’t Stick It In Their Ear.”

In other words, writes Schmidt, “don’t tell people what to do; offer stories and help guide them to the best decisions for them.”

Over a 40 year career, Campbell guided numerous high-profile leaders in their decision-making process.

Among them:

  • Brad Smith (Intuit)
  • John Donahoe (eBay)
  • Dick Costolo (Twitter)
  • Al Gore (former VP of the USA)
  • Lee Bollinger (President of Columbia University)
  • Bill Gurley (Benchmark Capital)
  • Sundar Pichai (CEO, Google)
  • John Hennessy (President, Stanford University)

What about you?

Could you, like these leaders, benefit from a coach like Campbell?

If so (or even if you’re not sure), click here to schedule a free consultation with me.

During the 45-minute call we’ll discuss both the challenges, and opportunities, in front of you and determine together if you are a good fit for executive coaching.

Critically, coaching is not for everyone.

You don’t have to have the title of CEO or SVP to have an executive coach but, in order to get the most out of coaching, you must be:

  • Fully-employed (currently working 40+ hours/week, or more)
  • A leader/manager of a business, business unit or team
  • Have a deep desire to help your team become the best it can be.

If that sounds like you, great.

Click here to schedule time to talk with me:

Coach Campbell’s Enduring Legacy

Coaching isn’t about solving people’s problems.

It’s about helping people to discover the solutions to their own problems, by first discovering more about themselves and the people around them.

As Schmidt observes, the genius in Campbell’s approach was his ability to connect the personal to the professional:

“Bill grasped that the things we all care about as people — love, family, money, attention, power, meaning, purpose — are factors in any business situation. [He understood] that positive human values create both highly effective teams, and positive business outcomes. This is a connection that too many business leaders ignore…it’s counterintuitive, but essential to success.”


Thanks, Coach Campbell, for showing us all the way.

– Ben

PS: Like Campbell, I work with entire teams, too. If you feel that your team could be working better together, click here to set up time to discuss what you are working on.

Ben Sands

Author Ben Sands

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