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Michael Terrell

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Michael is an executive coach who specializes in working with passionate leaders and teams. 

He has worked with leaders in industry-leading non-profits, family business, and tech. For the past five years, he has focused his coaching work on helping startups in the San Francisco Bay Area.

 

Michael is a senior facilitator for one of the most popular courses at the Stanford GSB called Interpersonal Dynamics, and he frequently guest lectures on team dynamics in the Stanford School of Engineering. 

 

He is the co-author of The Inside-Out Effect — a book that helps leaders transform themselves as the necessary first step to increasing their impact — and is the a former co-host of a cheeky-yet-insightful podcast called Meanwhile. 

 

Michael holds a degree in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University where he first honed his startup chops as a Mayfield Fellow.

Playful

Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding

The ocean and I have had a special bond since I was a kid. In 2015, that connection came to include wind, harnesses, boards, and massive sails overhead as I took up kiteboarding alongside my brother and dad. In the years since, we've been lucky enough to spend countless days playing on sun-soaked surf learning to fly together. 

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Charlie

Charlie

Charlie is my furry son and sidekick. He often joins me at the office and is a favorite of clients and co-workers alike. When he's not putting in a long day at the office, you can find him chasing frisbees, large sticks, and pigeons in Golden Gate Park. Click "View Pics" below to see more of this good-lookin' guy.

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Spotify Playlist

Spotify Playlist

I've more than once told people that I wish life had a soundtrack. Before that movie-esque technology arrives, I settle for curating Spotify playlists for my down-time, my commute, and for our Fort Light retreats and offsites. Click this big orange button to groove to one I call "Celebrate":

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On His Bookshelf

Immunity to Change

Immunity to Change

In Immunity to Change, authors Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey show how our individual beliefs—along with the collective mind-sets in our organizations—combine to create a natural but powerful immunity to change. By revealing how this mechanism holds us back, Kegan and Lahey give us the keys to unlock our potential and finally move forward. And by pinpointing and uprooting our own immunities to change, we can bring our organizations forward with us.

This persuasive and practical book, filled with hands-on diagnostics and compelling case studies, delivers the tools you need to overcome the forces of inertia and transform your life and your work.

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The Course of Love

The Course of Love

We all know the headiness and excitement of the early days of love. But what comes after? In Edinburgh, a couple, Rabih and Kirsten, fall in love. They get married, they have children—but no long-term relationship is as simple as “happily ever after.” The Course of Love is a novel that explores what happens after the birth of love, what it takes to maintain love, and what happens to our original ideals under the pressures of an average existence. You experience, along with Rabih and Kirsten, the first flush of infatuation, the effortlessness of falling into romantic love, and the course of life thereafter. Interwoven with their story and its challenges is an overlay of philosophy—an annotation and a guide to what we are reading.

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Between the World and Me

Between the World and Me

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son.

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CLIENT

LOVE

Luca

Jeff

Lucia

CLIENT LOVE

 

Scott Zimmerman

Founder & CEO, Xola

"When Michael and I first spoke about company culture, I was struck by how thoughtfully he spoke about the nuances of effective communication and how company culture is defined as much by what we do not do, as it is defined by what we do..."

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Caterina Rizzi

Co-Founder, Breather

"The first time that I spoke to Michael, I left feeling like something impactful had happened. Someone who finally had insights for me, who got through to me. He helped me develop actionable goals and held me accountable to my goals instead of simply talking at a high level about my thoughts and concerns..."

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Ben Congleton

Co-Founder & CEO, Olark

"In the multiple years I've worked with Michael as my coach, he has consistently listened, reflected, and helped me take action in meaningful ways. He is fantastic at asking the right questions that lead me to new insights and help me grow. His biggest impact has been helping me look beyond individual conversations to build systems that..."

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Emmy Yardley

Chief Product Officer, ChowNow

"Michael and I clicked immediately from our first conversation. He’s humble, inquisitive, and passionate about helping me achieve my goals. He helped me navigate and take action on many complex situations, and was my biggest advocate..."

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Brad Henrickson

VP of Engineering, Earnest

"I've experienced tremendous value working with Michael.  His client-led coaching approach has helped me develop much deeper insight into how I show up in critical conversations and how I relate to my wider executive team..."

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Lucia Guillory

Head of People, Patreon

"I began coaching as an inveterate skeptic. Over the past 6 months of working with Michael, I’ve become convinced that it really works! Michael’s helped me unpack the deeply rooted beliefs that drive some of the behaviors I’ve tried and failed to change in the past..."

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Chetan Jhaveri

Co-Founder & COO, Sophia

"Michael has the rare gift of allowing the client to steer the conversation and develop insights, and yet he very much adds value and amplifies insights along the way. Many times I bring up things with him in the course of conversation that I am not necessarily expecting to be a centerpiece of an interesting conversation..."

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Chris Tsai

Co-Founder & CEO, Celery

"Michael is a gifted coach with uncanny skills in leadership development. I attended a T-Group intensive weekend that Michael facilitated and was blown away by his ability to influence, teach, and embody an aspirational model of interpersonal dynamics..."

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