John Hittler is a transformational business coach, specializing in scaling companies. 9x company founder and CEO, John coaches CEOs 1:1 with the goal of scaling their company for a liquidity event. Author of 3 books, including The Little Book of Big Scale, released in October of 2022. 

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Russ Alan Prince: Please describe Evoking Genius.

John Hittler: Evoking Genius is a business coaching firm in Silicon Valley, specializing in 1:1 and C-Suite team coaching. The idea is simple. People want to improve, grow, and succeed. Like elite athletes or stage performers, a coach simplifies and improves that process. We utilize customized frameworks, designed to address the specific objectives of the client.

With almost all clients, we start with a Genius Talent Discovery Process™, capturing the singular gift of genius talent that resides in each individual. Rather than following some mythical playbook, instead, we coach CEOs, entrepreneurs, and leaders to thrive in their roles by aligning with the incredible advantage provided by their genius talent. The end result is that work begins to feel much like play, and results are achieved faster with more passion. Their rapidly increased pace of growth follows naturally and improves culture and morale in the process. 

We only work on an ROI model, as CEOs understand that it’s never what you invest. It’s only what you achieve in verifiable returns that matter. If any coach is not creating value, then get a new coach!

Prince: Can you give us an example?

Hittler: A current client is looking to scale through acquisition, and the CEO has engaged in 1:1 coaching for almost a year, with an 11.4% increase in gross revenue and a 34.7% increase in net profit since the coaching began. The CEO’s objective all along was to prepare his company, especially the Board and the original team members—founded in 2006—for the prospect of acquisition. The company culture is best described as “scrappy,” as most of the early team members still work at the company, and they show great pride in the journey that has gotten them to almost $45 million in gross revenue.

All stakeholders are enthusiastic about the idea of acquiring a rival firm, larger in headcount and revenue. When the senior leadership team gathered initially for team coaching, it became clear that their product offerings and their growing market held plenty of opportunity. Their culture, however, is not at all welcoming to “outsiders.” In short, the team needs to begin a process of preparing individually and collectively for the prospect of teaming with other talented people from another larger and older firm. This task would be akin to a minor league baseball team taking over the New York Yankees, and then having the minor leaguers—the acquirers—call the shots with all-star veterans from the big leagues. 

The acquisition planning is in full swing, while we coach the senior leadership team over the course of the next year. Given the stakes, the return on investment is quite high, as they will be acquiring in a “buyers’ market”—in a down economy—with a big upside for growth. Their cultural integration risk is currently quite high. Should they fail on the integration of another team of talented people—more than 70% of mergers fail on their intended outcomes—then their return on investment will be sacrificed. We are partnering with the senior leadership team to prepare for cultural due diligence and seamless cultural integration when the merger occurs.

After one team session, each member of the senior leadership team and each team hold self-created learning objectives and have begun to address the culture blind spots needed to lower the acquisition risk. They will eventually be in a much better position to acquire this larger firm and also prepare themselves for subsequent mergers following–an incredibly high return on investment when completed.

Prince: Who best benefits from 1:1 or team coaching?

Hittler: LeBron James knows more about basketball than most human beings, and plays the game better than almost anyone else on the planet. He will most likely break every meaningful record before he retires from the game. 

Meanwhile, he has no less than 7 coaches on his private payroll for one reason. They help LeBron perform better in areas where he simply cannot see or assess his own blind spots—on the court and off.

Entrepreneurs, CEOs, and leaders are no different. My favorite people on the planet have the courage and vision to start companies all because they see a better way forward. Might they have blind spots too, despite being very good at what they do?

For most CEOs, 1:1 coaching creates the highest return on investment they can make in improving their own performance, which in turn improves the overall performance of their team. Most CEOs only need 1:1 coaching. When the leadership team also requests assistance, team coaching may then come into play.

Here’s the trick: Coaching only benefits people who look like this:

  • You want to get better

  • You hold an appetite for personal growth, continual improvement, and a willingness to learn

  • You engage an open mind or curiosity

Conversely, people who are sure that they have “most of it all figured out” tend to flounder in coaching.

For the rest of us, coaching offers the fastest and easiest path forward toward a much-improved future. For the record, I engage two coaches—one for business, and one for vitality, health, and nutrition.

RUSS ALAN PRINCE is the Executive Director of Private Wealth magazine ( and Chief Content Officer for High-Net-Worth Genius ( He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs, and select professionals.