Thursday, February 5, 2009

Review - Coaching for Excellence

I just finished reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Coaching for Excellence" by Jane Creswell, MCC. I've been hearing the term "coaching" used more often, in a variety of settings: life coaches, executive coaches, and coaching in ministry. I was looing to find out more about what coaching was, how it differered from other teaching/training approaches, and whether is it was something I should learn more about as a small business executive and a ministry leader. In short, it is - coaching provides a lot of value in a variety of settings. I've had the chance to meet the author, Jane Creswell, and she is definitely a person passionate about coaching and bringing out the best in others. Below is a review I'm also posting on Amazon...

Coaching for Excellence by Jane Creswell provides a solid and accessible introduction to the benefits and techniques of coaching. What's impressive about the book is the breadth of topics covered in such a short and easy-to-read guide. Creswell starts with an overview of coaching, what it is (and is not), what it means to coach for excellence, and how it differs from other approaches like mentoring. She then discusses what it means to have or build a coaching culture within an organization. Next are presented the basics of coaching - techniques, who can be a coach, and who to coach. Coaching groups and coaching within a team setting are welcome topics as well.

Another excellent feature of the book is that it looks at coaching in a variety of situations. Although Creswell worked for IBM for 17 years and founded the IBM Coaches Network, coaching is definitely applicable in organizations of every size and type - and in several different roles. The book has discussions on coaching for sales, marketing, communications, HR, service providers and support personnel. The specific challenges faced by small businesses, big business, non-profits and government organizations, and even faith-based organizations.

As the VP of R&D in a small business myself, I was encouraged to see how coaching might be utilized in our company to improve employee performance (and my own), and provide measureable business results. The mindset behind coaching for excellence is also one that fits well with small businesses and modern organizations: coaching values people, seeks to tap hidden potential, and seeks to bring out the best in others. Fortunately, it is able to deliver on these challenges in a way that is of great benefit both to the organization and to the person being coached.

The book will probably leave some readers with a lot of questions, wanting to know more about coaching and perhaps seek additional training. But it does an excellent job of meeting its goal and providing what you expect from this series of books - introducing and demystifying the discipline of coaching, giving insight into the characteristics needed to be an effective coach, and providing encouragement and some tools for starting right away with coaching peers and employees. The approach provides many examples - readers wanting to see coaching in action and learn by example are likely to enjoy the book, others wanting a in-depth exposition of the principles and methods of coaching will want to read other books in addition. Overall, I think this book will be of broad interest to leaders and team members in a variety of roles and organizations.
Coaching for Excellence is available at Amazon and other book retailers.

No comments: