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Who is your trillion dollar coach?

Business impact • Jun 26, 2023 7:30:00 AM • Written by: Anette Tandberg

Some of the worlds most successful companies such as Google and Apple etc. share one thing. The company leader had a coach by his side for many years. A coach who helped create trillions of dollars in market value, yes you read that right. Trillions, not millions. So, who was this coach?

His name was Bill Campbell and he was Sheryl Sandberg's, Eric Schmidt's, Jonathan Rosenberg's and Steve Jobs' coach for many years. He was the person who listened, asked challenging questions and gave them new perspectives. He lovingly supported them to achieve progress and success, not only for the individual but for the team and ultimately the organization.

He did it by getting straight to the point, without hesitation. At the same time he also wasn't afraid to show that he really cared. Many testify to his teddy bear hugs, which he was more than happy to hand out left and right. Bill was genuine and he always told what he heard and saw, and he asked questions. He was exactly like an elite athlete's coach. Observing, listening, reflective and challenging. Always for the good of the individual and the team, for them to grow and achieve success. Bill demanded honesty and commitment and he only coached those who wanted to be coached. Whoever said yes got all his attention.

Today, unfortunately, Bill Campbell is no longer alive, but he lives on in the memories of many of his coachees. Leaders who even today ask themselves "what would Bill have asked and done" when faced with challenges. I have read about Bill and got a little insight into how he worked as a coach in the book "Trillion Dollar Coach, The Leadership Handbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell". A book where some of Bill's coachees talk about his greatness and what he has meant to them. Bill was a fascinating man who I wish I had met.

I welcome the strong and growing trend that leaders get themselves a coach, exactly as an elite athlete do. And why not? Regardless of elite effort, in sports or business, the coach is there to lovingly ensure that you are your best self by boosting you when needed, challenging you when you lose focus and giving you honest feedback. Not by sticking with you through thick and thin, but by coaching you with your goal in mind by challenging you and supporting you in achieving everything you desire. You will become even better and braver, for yourself, for the team and the organization you lead. So my question to you is;

Who is your Bill Campbell?

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Anette Tandberg

Anette Tandberg has spent over 15 years working in senior positions as a manager and CEO. Ever since she was young, she has had the drive to see others grow and her ability to build strong, long-term relationships that create value has been an important tool in her work.