The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools: Book Review
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Review of The Art Of Coaching.
Whilst we have been reviewing books for members we have decided to start public reviews of interesting and useful books in the organisational and human development arena.
In this first review we are looking at a recently published book about coaching by Jenny Bird and Sarah Gornall called “The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools”, published by Routledge (229 pages)
Both the authors are practising coaches and coaching supervisors, as well as being heavily involved in the training of coaches.
It is an ambitious book that aims to cover a wide range of practice and tools in a non-formal and accessible way. It deals with the methods and tools most coaches will be familiar with, from the basics of coaching through to useful and practical tools for more experienced coaches.
The book covers a lot of ground:
- Relationships and Communication
- Learning and Personal Growth
- Leading, Influencing and Motivating
- Analysis Choice and Change
- Supervision and Team Facilitation
- Developing Creativity
- References and Further Reading
Rather than being a text heavy academic book about coaching, this is firmly aimed at practitioners and is essentially a collection of coaching models, practices and tools for use during coaching sessions. It is not text heavy and comprises a mixture of nicely hand drawn diagrams, illustrations, charts and models that lighten the tone of the book, making it easy to grasp and very user friendly.
The issue with many books that try to cover a wide range of topics and tools is that either they go on forever and become an encyclopaedia or that, in order to contain the size of the book, they end up dealing with the topics in a more superficial manner.
This leads to the question, is The Art of Coaching too superficial?
Well, that depends. Clearly no book can be everything to everyone.
However as an executive coach myself, I found that this is a very useful and practical guide to the many tools and techniques of coaching. The format for each of the tools is to describe the tool with a brief ‘what it is’ section followed by a section on ‘how we use it’ and then a useful set of tips about how to put the tool into action in a coaching setting. I have found myself dipping into it to find new ideas for my own coaching sessions.
Not only can I imagine this book being a very useful aide to new and developing coaches, but also to supervisors and experienced coaches. It contains a handy set of references and further reading if you want to delve deeper. It is not an in depth book of coaching theory, but it is a reference that every coach should have around to dip into. The coaches I have shown it to have all found something of use for their practice.
If I have a criticism, it is that experienced coaches may find some of the book rather basic however that is going to be unavoidable for any book as far as experienced coaches are concerned. However that does not mean that they will not find anything of use. Because the book is essentially a ‘how to’ catalogue of models, tools and techniques it acts as a handy aide memoir and I suspect almost all coaches will find something new and useful in its pages.
Having said that I can really see this book being used in the many corporate coaching courses as a useful aide memoir and practical handbook for new and developing coaches. It will be especially useful for the many schemes that are developing ’the manager as coach’ for example, where the individuals concerned won’t be employed primarily as a coach.
The Art of Coaching is more like a practical dictionary/encyclopaedia and guide to the theories, tools and methods of coaching. It is well sourced and reference.
Who is it recommend this for?
All coaches, coaching supervisors and anyone in an organisational role that involves elements of coaching and even mentoring will find The Art of Coaching a useful addition to their resource library.
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Bird J. & Gornall S. (2016) The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools. Routledge: New York
Statement of ethics and transparency.
The reviewer has no connection either professionally, financially or commercially with the publishers or authors. We have not been paid for this review nor has there been any transaction of any type involved. The book was provided free by the publishers.
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