Saturday, April 23, 2022


The book “Trillion Dollar Coach – The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell” is a moving tribute by the seasoned leaders Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle. It succinctly captures the learnings from the life of Bill Campbell (former CEO of Intuit but more widely regarded as Silicon Valley's greatest coach). I found it moving because Bill's protégés came together a wrote this book on learnings they gained from their association with Bill. An ultimate act of showing respect!

The book also brings to the fore the role of a coach. In sports, a coach's role is taken as given but it's not so much pervasive in the corporate world. In a way, the authors challenges that notion. A quote from the book- "Whereas mentors dole out words of wisdom, coaches roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. They don’t just believe in our potential. They hold up a mirror so we can see our blind spots and they hold us accountable for working through our sore spots. They take responsibility for making us better without taking credit for our accomplishments.”

One particular lesson that caught my attention is that Bill used to practice 'Free-form listening', which is about paying careful & undivided attention to the person you are dealing with, really listening carefully. Only then did he go into the details of issue. There was a particular order to it. Intent listening came first.

If one were to make a list of underrated professional skills, listening would find place somewhere closer to the top. Most understand that it is important but like building a muscle- rarely practice it. How does one practice mindful listening ?

I loved the thoughts shared by Prakash Iyer in his article here-  Have listed the key points below and in my #sketchnote

1 Don’t multi-task
2 Listen with your ears. & your eyes too
3 Don’t fill in the blanks
4 Don’t think about how to respond while you are #listening
5 If you disagree with what’s being said, try and understand the opposing point of view
6 Engage. Clarify. Repeat.
7 Don’t interrupt. Let them finish
8 Get comfortable with keeping your mouth shut

How do you practice #listening ? Do you think it is an important skill to master ?

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