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.

SOAR – Powerful Questions That Will Transform Your Life by J. Sweetman

Reviewed by Colm McGratten

This book is a very practical and useful book.  I came across it in the context of my desire to develop a bank of inspiring questions which I could use to cover many coaching situations.  The book is written as a self-help life/ wellbeing coaching book, but it contains many tools which could be used by a person in a coach and client session.

The book commences by introducing the power and importance of questions and by providing some helpful context on how the mind works and explaining why questions are so powerful.  The remainder of the book is divided into 11 chapters covering designing your life, knowing what you want, overcoming self-limiting beliefs, generating more positive emotions, improving relationships, revolutionise your career, improving finances, improving health and fitness, having more fun, fulfilment and purpose in life and finally building and maintaining momentum.   Each chapter provides powerful questions which could be used when coaching in that area.

The theoretical content of the book compliments the material covered on the Advanced Diploma coaching course very well and it is nice to see a slightly different presentation of familiar topics. In particular the book explains the role of the Reticular Activation System very well and how this can be a huge barrier to taking action (i.e. identifying evidence of one’s self-limiting beliefs) or a really powerful pull towards a well-formed goal and action plan.

The book contains very many powerful and inspiring questions and I will gather, record and use these as appropriate.  The book also contains a really powerful question set to identify self-limiting beliefs.  The final thing I will take from the book is the insight and action programme it identifies to ensure people actually make the changes necessary to achieve their goal.  It throws a good light on the reasons why people do not actually achieve long standing goals namely, limiting beliefs, lack of motivation, lack of priority, and fear of failure.

The section on the role the comfort zone plays is very interesting.  It highlights that the need to be in a comfort zone is so powerful that it can lead to someone actually sabotaging their own actions towards a goal as the feeling of being in their comfort zone is creates a pull towards no action i.e. the dream of the solution from within the comfort zone is better in the short term than the action of addressing the problem and stepping out of the comfort zone.  James Sweetman strongly advocates incorporating stepping out of one’s comfort zone on an ongoing basis so as to cultivate doing so as a habit.  He makes a powerful observation on the need to step out of the comfort zone to achieve change i.e. ‘if the problem is within your comfort zone the solution lies outside It’.