Unlocking Potential: 7 Coaching Skills That Transform Individuals, Teams, and Organizations by Michael Simpson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from 12 Books Group in exchange for this revies.
This book is about coaching. When most people think of coaching, they think of sports. This can be a useful analogy to what business coaching does. In sports, the coach draws up the plays, analyzes strengths and weaknesses of the other teams, and calls the plays from the sideline or bench. The coach also supervises workout drills, and helps players improve their strengths and fix their weaknesses. The coach can't actually do the workout, or run the plays; the coach has to rely on the players to do that.
The business coach does many of the same things. The coach can provide guidance, analyze strengths and weaknesses, and draw up a general plan for improvement. The business coach can't actually do what's on the plan, that's up to the individual or business being coached. The author says that the current generation of workers doesn't want to be micromanaged; I know I don't. They want to be given a project, given a deadline, and left alone to finish the job. This is similar to their experience in college. The professor gives the assignment, or schedules the exam, and leaves it to the student to figure out how to get it done. They can either plan it out over several weeks, or cram and finish it the night before. As long as the work is done on time, the professor doesn't care.
The author provides what he sees as the 4 principles of coaching: Trust, Potential, Commitment, and Execution. His 7 Coaching Skills, as mentioned in the subtitle, are these: Build Trust, Challenge Paradigms, Seek Strategic Clarity, Execute Flawlessly, Give Effective Feedback, Tap Into Talent, and Move the Middle. He goes into detail about what questions to ask, and uses examples from his own experience to illustrate them.
I've read other books like this, and they tend to devolve into what I call "corporatespeak", with all kinds of buzzwords that don't mean anything. Sometimes they're accompanied by diagrams, many of which don't make any sense. They also give a lot of ideals that are supposed to turn things around, but the procedures are almost impossible to implement. The author avoids this for the most part. He keeps the diagrams to a minimum, and explains things in real world terms. He makes it clear that it's up to the employees to make the change.
The one thing I would have appreciated is a website. He gives examples of various forms in the book. Many of these books have a website to download the forms for use in the organization. I didn't see that here.
All in all, a good book on coaching. In sports, if the team doesn't perform well, the coach is fired. The same can happen in business coaching.
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