In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Eric Schmidt,
CEO of Alphabet, the new Umbrella company for Google, claimed the best advice he ever got was “have a coach.”
The advice came from the famous venture capitalist, John Doerr who recommended a coach to Schmidt whilst he was CEO of Google in 2001. Schmidt confesses he initially resented the advice because he was CEO of one of the fastest growing firms on the planet and was “pretty experienced.”
“Why would I need a coach,” Schmidt said, “Am I doing something wrong?”
Schmidt’s initial thoughts on hiring a business coach were disintegrated when he took Doerr’s advice. His initial feelings to resist was because he did not really understand what a coach does.
“My argument was, how could a coach advise me if I’m the best person in the world at this? But that’s not what a coach does. A coach is somebody who looks at something with another set of eyes, describes it to you in his/her words, and discusses how to approach the problem.”
The role of a business coach
As Schmidt points out, the role of a business coach is to offer guidance and help CEO’s look at the business, the market and potential problems from a different perspective. We do not know your business as well as you do, but we can offer insights you don’t always see for yourself. As the old adage goes, you ‘cannot see the wood for the trees.’
The greatest benefit CEO’s will find in a business coach is having somebody from outside the company they can confide in and explore new ideas. You can get a customer’s perspective about your brand which people that work inside an organisation don’t necessarily see because they are too close to the product and services.
Having an executive coach you can brainstorm with and bounce ideas off can uncover issues and values of your company and projects that have been buried under the mountain of other things you have to think about as captain of the ship.
But a coach can have a more important role to play than talking about your business. We can help you find a work-life balance and improve your personal life, or if you feel you need to improve relationships with your work colleagues, we can help improve your methods of communication and help strengthen bonds at all levels. Working in a number of specialist areas we can be invaluable.
Share your burden
An executive coach is accountable for the thoughts and ideas we share with our clients, and even though you are ultimately responsible for making decisions, a coach will challenge your strategies and help you develop goals and delivery. This is particularly important when you are planning to introduce changes. Although every CEO knows the company has to evolve to keep up with emerging markets, new technologies and the change in consumer behaviour, your employees do not always have the same insight and typically resist change.
In his interview, Schmidt points out that once he was able to trust his business coach, he realised “this was a great idea.” I don’t think many CEO’s would disagree with him.
Remember also that all of our work with you is completely confidential!