There are many titles on the market which deal with Coaching and related topics. Part of the course study with Kingstown College involves choosing some of those titles to review. We have gathered a selection of book reviews to help you on the way to choose your next read.

‘Co-Active Coaching – Changing Business, Transforming Lives ’ by H. Kimsey-House, K . Kinsey-House, P. Sandahl and L. Whitworth

Reviewed by Paul Barratt

This coaching book is an ideal book for someone seeking an accessible and comprehensive overview of coaching. It provides an invaluable resource for developing an understanding of the meaning of coaching, coaching models and techniques, and the core principles inherent to coaching.

The book is clearly structured, easy to read and informative and serves as an appropriate resource manual for those embarking on coaching.

It outlines clearly the five cornerstones of coaching. It stresses the critical skill of listening as a coach. It references the different levels of listening and the value and efficacy of each level. It emphasises the role of intuition and curiosity and the importance of moving the client forward.

The authors’ defining of the coach as a ‘change agent’ is appropriate as the ability to make change in work and life is a measure of the strength of the coaching relationship. The building of rapport, developing different levels of listening and the power of good questioning are highlighted and handily referenced in practical examples of dialogue for the reader.

A theme running through the book and emphasised by the authors is the positive nature of coaching. The inherent goodness of the client, the building of trust and the importance of effective goal-setting are examined through the lens of positivity.  The authors present coaching as a forward orientated process through interactions based on trust between client and coach with an improvement as the intended outcome. With this in mind, clear reference is made to strategies and coaching techniques to assist the coach such as, ‘Wheel of Life’, ‘Dancing in the Moment’ and ‘Championing the Client’ by acknowledging achievement of the coachee.

Two particular aspects of coaching on which the authors focus in chapters 5 and 7 are curiosity and self-management. These are thought provoking and challenging for the newcomer to coaching. The importance of curiosity and asking ‘curiosity questions’, leading the client ‘along the path of ‘additional looking’ for the sake of the client’s self- discovery and decision-making is particularly interesting. It underscores the authors’ assertion that leading the client inside looking for their own answers, trying to understand the world and the way in which they operate and what stirs them or stops them is of the essence of coaching.

The authors’ are interesting in their admonishments in terms of self-management and provide useful signposts to the ability of the coach to ‘dance in the moment’ and to be wary of being ‘hooked’ by one’s own prejudices and how to approach ‘forbidden territory with the coachee.

This book is a very good reference book and a very useful guide as the learner-coach approaches their coaching sessions and build on their competencies as a coach.