“Everybody body needs a coach. Every famous athlete, every famous performer has somebody who is a coach … They can give them perspective. The one thing that people are never good at is seeing themselves as others see them. A coach really, really helps.” ~ Eric Schmidt, Chairman Google Inc.
I’ve worked in the tech sector my entire career. I started on the product side and transitioned to operations and did very well. After 10 years of being promoted for a job well done, I not only hit the glass ceiling but smashed into it. Up until that point in my career, being an assertive, smart and a go-getter were highly valued and promotable professional traits. As I tried to make the transition to leader, those traits very quickly turned into some serious baggage.
So, what’s a gal to do? I read every management, leadership and professional improvement book there was (I have the stack to prove it). I watched videos, I asked for feedback, I discussed it (ad nauseam) with friends and co-workers and I jumped at the opportunity to be mentored by the CEO. I told myself all of these efforts were sure to make a difference; I was “leaning in,” after all. Nothing happened. If anything, it got worse. I was frustrated, exhausted and felt I had no control.
Then the universe provided a gift: an all-expense paid trip to High Potential Leadership School at one of the best Ivy League institutions in the country. I say this with all sincerity: it was a mind-blowing experience — not because of the content, but because of the context within which the content was delivered. Let me be clear: there wasn’t much that was covered in the program that hadn’t been covered in every professional self-help book or business-how-to website. The difference was the one-on-one coaching. I liken it to the difference between going to the gym on your own versus having a personal trainer. One your own, you might muster up the strength to do 50 crunches. Under the watchful eye of a trainer, I bet you would gladly do 75 — if not 100 — and do them better, faster and with confidence.
My edification cost north of $35,000 and was, frankly, five years too late. This experience is what gave me the idea to start GGGrit. GGGrit is able to bring the benefits of one-on-one certified career coaching to market affordably, using an innovative online platform coupled with a powerful community and certified career coaches. Coaching is not a nice-to-have; it is a must-have. It shouldn’t matter how senior or not senior you are; it shouldn’t matter which industry you currently are a part of; and it shouldn’t matter if your company thinks that you are not worth investing in. You are worth it.
When Eric Schmidt was asked what the best advice he ever got during his tenure at Google was, he said it came from John Doerr in 2002: “My advice to you is to hire a coach.” Eric, we couldn’t agree more.