Book review – Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes (25th anniversary edition)

Title Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes (25th anniversary edition) Author William Bridges Publisher Da Capo Press Inc. ISBN 978 07382 0904 3 Usefulness 4/5 Transitions is a classic text, offering context, comfort and support for people experiencing difficulties with change, and a source of insight and guidance for the coaches working with them. In particular, Bridges explains how apparently positive changes, such as marriage, the birth of children or significant promotion, themselves involve a loss or an ending of a previous self-image, which can be traumatic. Bridges defines transition in three stages: ending, beginning and emptiness and germination in-between […]

Book review – The FT Guide to Business Coaching

Title The FT Guide to Business Coaching Author Anne Scoular Publisher Financial Times/Prentice Hall ISBN 978 02737 3444 4 Usefulness 5/5 If you want to see exquisitely done networking, get yourself along to one of Meyler Campbell’s annual lectures. There you will meet many dozens of other coaches and hear an interesting speaker. You will also see the author of this book, Meyler Campbell’s MD, graciously introducing people (Scoular knows everyone’s name and has plenty to say about how wonderful each of us is), exuberantly promoting the delight of the occasion and displaying the disarming mixture of humility about herself […]

Book reviews – Volume 6, Issue 2

Title Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing your Career Author Herminia Ibarra Publisher Harvard Business School Press ISBN 978 15913 9413 6 Usefulness     4/5 Although published in 2004, Working Identity has stood the test of time. It addresses the question of how people change careers – a pressing concern for many in the current climate. Ibarra’s answer reveals that the conventional wisdom of change following intense structured self-reflection and planning is misplaced. Changing careers means changing identities: you cannot map it out in advance. Ibarra charges us to focus on “action rather than reflection, doing instead of planning”. This […]

Book reviews – Volume 6, Issue 1

Title More Time to Think: A Way of Being in the World Author Nancy Kline Publisher Fisher King Publishing ISBN 978 19063 7710 6 Usefulness     3/5 “Language matters. We live it and in it”, “Ask people who are never asked”, “How far can you go in your own thinking, before you need mine?” A sequel to Nancy Kline’s Time to Think, this book offers a no-nonsense refresher on the author’s way of being in the world. Kline recaps: listen, give full attention, be at ease and remember the appreciation-to-criticism ratio of 5:1. The tone of the book mixes global […]

Book reviews — Volume 5, Issue 6

Title The Happiness Project Author Gretchen Rubin Publisher HarperCollins ISBN 978 00615 8325 4 Usefulness 4/5 A collective noun needs to be invented for books on happiness. An ‘embarrassment’ (of riches), a ‘bowl’ (of cherries) or simply a ‘proliferation’? All these books purport to help the reader skip more lightly along their personal Yellow Brick Road. I blame Positive Psychology… But before I start to sound curmudgeonly, I must own up to liking this book, in a skippy way. Readers searching for the Holy Grail, or the answer to clients’ prayers, will not necessarily find it here, but there are […]

Book reviews — Volume 5, Issue 5

Title Leadership Coaching: Working with Leaders to Develop Elite Performance Editor Jonathan Passmore Publisher Kogan Page with Association for Coaching ISBN 978 0 7494 5532 3 Usefulness 4/5 I wanted a book that was a little bit different and had a practical tone. Leadership Coaching did not disappoint. I particularly liked the theoretical side, although there is a practical approach throughout. Each chapter begins with a specific well-researched leadership model, then describes how coaches might use it with clients. There are numerous visuals and case studies which I found particularly helpful when trying to understand the more detailed aspects. Authentic, […]

Book reviews — Volume 5, Issue 4

Title The Psychology of Executive Coaching: Theory and Application (2nd Ed) Author Bruce Peltier Publisher Routledge ISBN 978 0 415 99341 8 Usefulness 5/5 The first edition of this book rapidly became a must-read on many coach training school lists. This second edition is even more deserving of classic status. Additions include four chapters looking at the kinds of psychopathology an executive coach might encounter; an introduction and evaluation of emotional intelligence; adult developmental theory and leadership development theory. Other chapters look at assessment; the psychodynamic view; behavioural concepts; the person-centred approach; cognitive psychology and therapy; family therapy and systems […]

Book reviews — Volume 5, Issue 3

  Title Where Were all the Coaches When the Banks Went Down? Author John Blakey and Ian Day Publisher 121partners ISBN 978 1 445 21597 6 Usefulness 4/5 This book has its heart firmly in the right place: it wants to improve the practice of coaching. Its theme, in brief, is that coaching is changing as a response to the recession. That means it is time for coaches to pay much more attention to organisational needs rather than exclusively following an individual’s agenda. Money is tight and organisations expect explicit bangs for their bucks, not just a vague sense of […]

Book reviews – Volume 5, Issue 2

  Title Coaching with the Brain in Mind: Foundations for Practice Author David Rock and Linda J Page Publisher John Wiley & Sons ISBN 978 0470405680 Usefulness 4.5/5 I have been looking for some time for a book that provides evidence for the effectiveness of coaching. In Coaching with the Brain in Mind the authors seek to answer two key questions: Does coaching have solid theoretical and conceptual roots? How can we use our minds and brains to initiate and maintain changes we want to make? I was not disappointed in my search. Despite its size (544pp) the book is […]

Book reviews – Volume 5, Issue 1

  Title Further Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring Author David Megginson and David Clutterbuck Publisher Butterworth-Heinemann ISBN 978 1 856 174992 Usefulness 4/5 Produced as a companion to Techniques for Coaching and Mentoring, 2005, this new text incorporates frameworks that were once “considered at the fringe [but] are more now widely accepted and expected from practitioners”.When the authors use the word “fringe” I am curious as to which of the approaches they mean. For example, the three psychological approaches in the first three chapters, Behavioural, Gestalt and Ontological coaching, all have a long pedigree in coaching psychology. Likewise, the chapter […]