Is Your Coach a Trillion Dollar Coach?

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Is Your Coach a Trillion Dollar Coach? 1

Bill Campbell’s posthumous book release got us thinking about the importance of coaches in our own lives. Leadership is a difficult skill to master, which makes leadership coaching an art in itself. That’s why we were so excited to find out about Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell. A leadership legend behind some of the world’s most successful companies, Campbell was widely trusted as a coach and mentor to countless high-powered CEOs and executives.

After his passing, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle took on the challenging task of compiling eighty interviews on his life and work. The end result is a detailed biography, a touching eulogy, and an informative guide for leaders and coaches alike.

For Schmidt, his greatest lesson from Bill Campbell was: “If you get the team right, you’ll get the issue right.” A piece of advice that Schmidt himself has famously said for years and reiterates in his book is that “Everyone needs a coach.” I wholeheartedly agree, which is precisely why I started Sounding Board. Everyone can benefit from having a coach — especially new leaders — and I hear almost daily from people who wish they would have had a coach earlier in their career because it helped them grow faster and see things they wouldn’t otherwise observe.

The book got me thinking about the value of leadership coaches in general and of my own coach (and now co-founder) in particular. When I was a first promoted to management at my last startup, I had the honor of working with Lori Mazan to help me develop the leadership skills that I needed in order to thrive in my new role. Lori came along at a time when I was feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of my role and all the responsibilities that came with it, and she helped me figure out how to focus on what mattered and lead my team in a thoughtful and strategic way.

One of the things Lori really helped me better understand was how to evolve my communication style. She gave me simple strategies such as “headlining” information to share with our CEO and executives, instead of my standard approach of wanting to give all of the details and backstory. Just this simple shift had a tremendous impact on how I was viewed by the team – suddenly I was viewed as strategic even when I was saying the same things! This is just one simple example, but I think it’s an important one to show how a “little” really goes a long way in terms of leadership development. Over time, the constant iteration of new mindsets and behaviors affects how you are viewed within the organization, which increases your ability to lead teams.

Lori’s coaching gave me strategies and support I needed at a critical juncture of my career, and for that I will always be grateful.

We want to hear from you. What has your coach done for you, and how important have they been in your career? If your coach has been nearly as impactful for your career as Lori was for mine, we’d ask that you tag them on Twitter or LinkedIn with a personalized note and the hashtags #mysoundingboard #trilliondollarcoach #thankyoucoach.

A few weeks ago was Teacher Appreciation Week. Let’s make this Coach Appreciation Week and all give your coaches some love!

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Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & Chief Coaching Officer

Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.

Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

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