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Masterclass at Judge as Google duo coach




Alan Eagle, left, is currently director of executive communications at Google. Jonathan Rosenberg, right, oversaw the design and development of the search engine, Gmail, the Android operating system and apps, and remains an adviser to Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Picture: Keith Heppell
Alan Eagle, left, is currently director of executive communications at Google. Jonathan Rosenberg, right, oversaw the design and development of the search engine, Gmail, the Android operating system and apps, and remains an adviser to Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge Judge Business School hosted an event titled ‘Excellence in entrepreneurship’, organized by the school’s Entrepreneurship Centre, that featured Google executives Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle.

Jonathan, former senior vice president of Google Products, oversaw the design and development of the internationally dominant search engine, as well as Gmail, the Android operating system, and apps. He remains an adviser to Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Alan Eagle is currently the director of executive communications at Google.

Jonathan and Alan, along with former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, have written a book, Trillion Dollar Coach, in honour of Bill Campbell, often described as the ultimate business tech coach. Mr Campbell created more than one trillion dollars in market value through his long experience mentoring some of the most famous tech entrepreneurs, including Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

The book highlights what Jonathan believes are the most valuable lessons in forward-thinking business and management. Their talk emphasised that coaching happens with team as well as individuals.

“Bill was a team coach,” said Jonathan. “He kind of invented something new, another Silicon Valley innovation, the idea of business coaching as coaching teams. You coach the entire team to keep everyone working together.”

The principles of effective coaching can be applied by companies big and small, with or without external coaches, Alan told the packed event at Cambridge Judge.

“You just need to marry the principles of coaching with the principles of management,” he said. “If you’re a young company you may not be able to bring in an external coach, but you can practise these principles anyway.”

Added Jonathan: “The principles of great coaching – trust, teamworking, building a sense of community and love – are things any manager can do. You just need to find someone who’s a good manager and who wants to understand your career goals and aspirations.”

Yet people need to be “coachable” to take advantage of good coaching, and that means a desire to get something tangible out of the experience, he added.

The May 15 event was introduced by Bruno Cotta, executive director of the Entrepreneurship Centre, and the discussion was moderated by Simon Hall, journalist, author and communications consultant.

Coaches nurture and praise, but sometimes need to practise tough love to bring out the full potential of others.

Jonathan quoted Tom Landry, who coached the Dallas Cowboys American football team for 29 years, who said: “A coach is someone who tells you what you don’t want to hear, who has you see what you don’t want to see, so you can be who you have always known you could be.”



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