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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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The Power of A Great CEO Coach

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Our Foundry Group CEO list lit up this morning with a question about CEO coaches and whether they were helpful.

My quick response was:

I think a great CEO coach can be awesome and not-great CEO coach can be very detrimental. Jerry Colonna is the best CEO coach I’ve ever met or worked with. There are others that I’m sure will emerge from this discussion but make sure you know what you are getting / looking for.

Like many of our CEO threads this one filled up quickly with great thoughts and suggestions. Then one just nailed it.

“The key for me is that it was a cross between coaching and therapy. You can talk about business issues *in the context* of how you feel about them. This is a crucial benefit, because no matter how good your relationship with board members, expressing those feelings necessarily affects the business conversation; and no matter how astute your spouse, he or she is likely not to put enough weight on the business considerations. Consequently, the normal mode for a CEO is to have all of it in your head; and sometimes it just rolls around in there and makes you crazy.

I suspect this is true no matter how “transparent” you are.

Consequently, the key for a CEO coach is that they be able to quickly understand the business issues AND the emotional issues, and tie them together.”

CEO coaches aren’t for everyone, but I’ve seen amazing impact when a CEO gets a match with a coach that fits well with what he/she needs. And I’ve also seen the opposite – total mismatches between coach and CEO that drove the CEO over a cliff. Make sure you know what you are looking for, and assess regularly what you are getting from the relationship. But don’t be afraid to try.

The Double Long Weekend Run

Comments (19)

A few years ago my running coach – Gary Ditsch of Endurance Base Camp – introduced me to the idea of a “double long run.” In this I do the typical weekend long run on a Saturday and then repeat it on Sunday. At first, I hated these, but they’ve grown on me and are now my favorite run.

Today I did a 16 mile run in San Francisco that followed a 14 mile run on Saturday. I did the same run (Market to Embarcadero to the Golden Gate bridge, over, and then back) but added on an extra mile on the bridge today just because I felt like it. I think this is the furthest double long I’ve done (30 miles) – I know I’ve done some in the low to mid 20′s, but I felt like I broke through to a new level today.

I also covered 45 miles this week. This is the first week I’ve done 45 miles in a decade and remarkably it was only on four days of running (I usually run five days a week, sometimes six). I had two early morning flights (to Kansas City on Tuesday, back home on Wednesday) and didn’t run either day. I also had a rest day on Friday. So, I’m closing in on 50 miles a week, which feels great.

I’m gearing up for back to back weekend marathons in October – Newport, Rhode Island on 10/16 and then St. Louis on 10/23. I was a little nervous about my ability to get these done, but my rapid recovery from the Bismarck marathon two weeks ago and the monster week I just did has me feeling good.

For all of you out there supporting my running, especially Amy, thank you!

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