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.

Coaching for performance: Growing human potential and purpose by J. Whitmore

Reviewed by SarahJane Gunn

Whitmore explains in very clear language and convincingly the power of coaching in leadership.  He is strong on the ROI (Return on Investment) in relation to coaching highlighting its benefits and places a strong emphasis on his GROW model. This is all very useful when trying to sell your service or idea for organisational change to an organisation.

Although Whitmore suggests …’there is no one right way to coach’… he provides tools towards best practice while encouraging his readers to ’embark on a personal journey’ and so create ’the conditions for learning and growing’ for both the coach and the organisation.

Whitmore believes that psychological optimism is essential if we are to fully embrace coaching as the leadership style of the future, the importance of team member’s self-belief and self-worth to the organisation is expressed and Whitmore says that this is ...built when someone is seen to be worthy of making choices.  Promotion without genuine empowerment and the opportunity to express potential is counterproductive.’

‘Coaching is adult learning in practice and is both what leaders need and the direction in which leadership style needs to travel.’

Coaching is expressed as the enabler and the coaching culture creates the conditions for high performance.  Whitmore sees emotional intelligence as a life skill that can be taught and claims it to be an essential skill of leaders.  Through coaching one can develop a level of awareness, and awareness in oneself and of the behaviours of others – seeing the person behind the performance.

‘’Successful leaders of the future will lead in a coaching style rather than command and control”. Examples of how to create this style are given in the book and samples of coaching dialogue that display both good coaching and not so good coaching.  Examples are explained and analysed, this is very useful. Whitmore uses his GROW model to display best practice.  Many examples of powerful questions are given and a coaching question tool kit is provided at the back of the book.  I will use these in my practice.  Whitmore believes…‘A team of self-actualizing individuals would quickly attain the dizzy heights of co-creation and outstanding results in the inter-dependent stage.’

In summary ‘Coaching for Performance’ is a powerful publication with a wealth of knowledge and experience shared.  This book is most convincing and will effect change in any leader that takes the time to read it.