The Coaching Effect Blog

10 Takeaways from the "Trillion Dollar Coach"

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

June 19, 2019

“Because the world faces many challenges, and they can only be solved by teams. Those teams need coaches.” – "Trillion Dollar Coach"

Bill-Campbell-Thumbnail-compressor-1-1Our mission at the EcSell Institute is to create a world where everyone knows what great coaching feels like. The individuals that were fortunate enough to know and interact with Bill Campbell experienced a world like this. The Trillion Dollar Coach is a fantastic new book that focuses on the life and coaching secrets of Bill Campbell.

From his early days coaching football at Columbia, to his time spent at Google, through his later days mentoring and coaching some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, for free I might add, Bill positively impacted the lives of thousands of individuals and helped them become better people and professionals than they could have without him in their lives.

Book Cover

As I read this book I couldn’t help but selfishly think that Bill, if he were still alive, would have been a fan of EcSell’s new book The Coaching Effect. So many of his behaviors and mannerisms that are detailed in the stories told in the book are in complete lock step with the actions we see in studying the top 20% of coaches in organizations.

So many of Campbell’s behaviors were pragmatic and easy to understand, yet so rarely executed by people in leadership positions that it makes his relentless execution to the “easy stuff” extraordinary.  Below are a few examples in no specific order:

1) Create an environment of psychological safety with the team.

Without trust you will not get candid communication and your team will not feel comfortable taking risks.

2) Don’t assume executive leaders don’t need coaches.

The need to coach and challenge executives needs just as much attention as any other position in the company.

3) Pay close attention to one-to-ones and staff meetings.

If you get these two things right so many of your other business challenges will fall into place.

4) Coaching is an individual game.

To be effective you must coach to the individual; no sort of cookie-cutter approach will work. More on this topic in my recent blog about managing to mindset vs. skill set. 

5) Authenticity is key.

Bill Campbell led with love, was not afraid to give hugs and blow kisses, and was not afraid to curse. People can tell when you are not being yourself and this breeds distrust. 

6) Ask questions and allow your team members to self discover.

A coach’s job is not to tell people what to do, but to help them figure out solutions on their own.

7) Recognize that hierarchy exists for a reason.

If teamwork and collaboration have not determined a solution or decision, it is the leader’s job to break the tie. They get paid to make tough decisions.

8) Care about your people as human beings not simply employees.

As validated by EcSell’s own research, when employees feel their manger cares about them as a person, not just an employee, performance significantly increases.

9) Tell stories.

If you want to influence behavior, don’t tell people what to do. Instead, tell them stories about why they are doing it!

10 Tension is necessary to cultivate success, but it takes a great coach to ensure that the tension is healthy.

Often times the path to growth is through discomfort. Bill Campbell was always challenging his teams, but he did it with love and trust which made all the difference.

Everyone indeed deserves to live in a world where they know what great coaching feels like. Bill Campbell proved that one coach can most definitely change the world – a trillion times over. What is your coaching effect?

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