More than a decade ago, I read a story in Fortune about Bill Campbell — Silicon Valley's Best-Kept Secret. He was a football coach turned salesperson. Somehow, Campbell became so influential that he had weekly Sunday walks with Steve Jobs. Google's founders said they would not have made it without him. He illustrates why coaches are better than mentors. Campbell's mentoring of some of the most successful modern entrepreneurs has created well over a trillion dollars in market value.
"Whereas mentors dole out words of wisdom, coaches roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty… they get in the arena to help us realize our potential." — Adam Grant
Campbell had an instrumental role in the growth of Google, Apple, and as the CEO of Intuit. He fostered deep relationships with Silicon Valley visionaries, including Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt. Also, he mentored dozens of other prominent leaders, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, educators, football players and many more: his legacy — growing companies, successful people, respect, friendship.
In college, Campbell played football at Columbia. He went ahead to become their head coach. However, he struggled through six straight losing seasons on the field. Campbell was a players' coach — cared about his players. Moreover, he focused on their well-being rather than winning. Campbell made his players succeed in their everyday life. When Coach Bill transitioned to business, his weakness in a zero-sum sport became to be a strength in many companies.
Coach Bill focused on building trusting relationships, fostering personal growth, inspiring courage, and finding and resolving simmering tensions that arise in fast-moving environments.
"Every sports team needs a coach, and the best coaches make good teams great. The same goes in business: any company that wants to succeed in a time where technology has suffused every industry and most aspects of consumer life, where speed and innovation are paramount, must have team coaching as part of its culture. Coaching is the best way to mould effective people into powerful teams." — Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle
Campbell Was Ahead Of His Time
To be an enlightened manager, you must be a great coach. The higher in an organization that you climb, the more your success depends on making other people successful. That is what coaches do. The Trillion Dollar Coach is a blueprint for forward-thinking leaders to create higher-performing teams, faster-moving cultures, and companies. Moreover, Coach Bill's approach is timeless.
Coaching Is In Vogue
Decades ago, only athletes and entertainers had coaches. However, now successful leaders take on executive coaches. They learn from speaking with coaches. We offer executive coaching. One of the essential behaviours we inspire is that it is best for you to coach your employees, your colleagues, and your boss.
Coaching is more critical than mentoring in our careers and our teams. Mentors dole out words of wisdom. However, a coach rolls up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They help us realize our potential. An accomplished coach holds up a mirror so we can see our blind spots.
Moreover, they hold us accountable for working through our sore spots. A coach takes responsibility for making us better. They do not take credit for our accomplishments. Coaches use analytics to help us improve. When coaching clients, we use our high-performance analytics to identify high potential, plan your journey and your measure progress.
Coach Bill's Principles
So, what is Coach Bill's secret sauce?
To be a great manager, you must be a great coach. The higher you climb in the corporate world, the more your success will depend on making other people successful. Coaches make people successful.
Specifically, Campbell was a great coach as he used these five distinguishing factors:
- Safety — People must know that their job is secure when they are trying something new, which may not end up being as successful as you hope. Your title might make you a manager. However, it is your people that will make you a leader.
- Clarity — Trust is the most crucial currency in any relationship. Make it visible to team members that you trust them. Moreover, establish trust and people will become more coachable and more honest and humbler. Make it clear you are a servant leader.
- Meaning — Engender a team above all ethos to achieve exceptional outcomes. It would be best if you built a capable team. If you get the team right, it does not matter what issue you face; the group will produce the correct answer. Therefore, build great teams.
- Dependability — Show your human side and to love the people on your team. It is essential to realize that warmth and competence correlate directly. So, let your people know you value them as human beings first, and they will do remarkable things.
- Impact — As counterintuitive as it may sound, it is often the highest-performing people who feel most alone. The most significant impact you can have as a coach is supplying emotional support for your people. Everyone needs a coach to perform at the highest level possible.
It became clear to me early in my career that everything great in an organization happens in groups. Interestingly, Google's , a study to identify the distinguishing characteristics of their most successful teams. We focus our analytics and development on building high-performance teams and best-fit staffing, as the fundamental building block of the organization.
Notably, the five fundamental dynamics setting successful teams apart are:
- Psychological safety: Can we take risks on this team without feeling insecure or embarrassed?
- Dependability: Can we count on each other to do high-quality work on time?
- Structure and clarity: Are goals, roles, and execution plans on our team clear?
- Meaning of work: Are we working on something personally crucial for each of us?
- Impact of work: Do we fundamentally believe that the work we are doing matters?
Coach Bill was an expert at setting up those conditions. Furthermore, Campbell went to extraordinary lengths to build psychological safety. In essence, people knew that if they took risks, their manager would have their back. Moreover, he set clear goals, each role was meaningful, and members were reliable and confident that the team's mission would make a difference.
We use analytics to build high-performance teams. The group needs to have collective strengths in all nine problem-solving traits. We examine the performance traits of each member to ensure this balance is in place, and that all members know the characteristics needed to be a Team Player. Moreover, successful teams have a:
- Change Agent
It is best if you work behind the scenes to make your people perform like a sports coach who lives to make his or her players shine on the sports field. Establish safety, clarity, meaning, dependability, and impact on each team you form and lead. It starts with the selection of the right people and the right teams and ensuring thought diversity.
Coaching brings out the best in others. You are simultaneously supportive and challenging. Moreover, you are giving more than lip service to the notion of putting people first. You bring your humanity to bear on what you do in business and the value of having a coach's input. So, learn more about team dynamics and how to coach the people you work alongside to do more and be more.
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