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Book Review: Financial Times Guide to Business Coaching

Book Review: Financial Times Guide to Business Coaching
18 October 2013 John Moore

There are so many books about business coaching, it can be hard to choose one which one to read.

The Financial Times Guide to Business Coaching provides an easy read for the less experienced business coach or a great read as a refresher for the more experienced coach.

So what do you need to do to be a world-class business coach? Anne Scoular guides you through everything you need to know, from finding out if you have got what it takes, through the basic tools and models that really work, to the more advanced techniques that will help you get to the top of the coaching world.

The FT Guide to Business Coaching is a good introduction to successful business coaching. Based on a tried and trusted process developed specifically for senior business leaders, and used by many of Europe’s leading business coaches, CEOs, executives and consultants, this book will help you:

  • Decide if you have got what it takes to be an effective business coach
  • Develop a deeper understanding of what coaching is and what it does
  • Build powerful listening skills
  • Get to grips with a variety of useful coaching tools and techniques
  • Assess the most appropriate questions to use with clients
  • Determine if and how you can make a living as a business coach
  • Decide if, how and when to apply for accreditation as a coach

In short, the book tells you how, giving you a step-by-step guide to the tools, the market knowledge and the crucial new techniques from psychology you need. Here is a list of the chapter headings and contents.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: The business of coaching

Today’s market: scale, rate of growth, the forces powering that growth. The players: typically who uses it in business, at what stages of their careers/companies’ growth. How and why it is used, and when it shouldn’t be.

Chapter 2: The coaches

The suppliers – the different types of coaches, first, within organisations: coach as leader/manager; coach as HR/L&D leader; ‘specialist’ coaches. Then the externals, from slick coaching businesses, through tight to loose associations, to associate relationships and the ‘lone wolf’. The trade-offs/pros and cons of working in/as each.

Chapter 3: Do you have what it takes?

So we have a large, growing, and lucrative market (Chapter 1), that delivers a product that works and is additively powerful (Chapter 2). So the obvious next question is “how do l get there?” And the more reflective, “Can l?”

The three core requirements and psychometric profiles of successful business coaches.

Chapter 4: Developing your coaching: first steps

Step 1, experience terrific coaching for yourself: but how to find a great coach? (Tips including ‘chemistry sessions’ and being a ‘practice client’ for those training at good schools). Ways to ‘dip your toe in the water’. Table of training courses available in the UK, mainland Europe, US: strengths, scope, costs (data from independent research). Supervision: purpose, sourcing, how to tell a good one. Accreditation: pros and cons, Table of accreditation providers.

Chapter 5: Building coaching skills: the basics

The heart of business coaching: the simple but not easy ‘Big Five’: contracting; the GROW model; listening; questioning; non-directive.

Chapter 6: Building coaching skills: the different approaches

Exploring the many tools and approaches out there in the market: goal setting; Inner Game; Prochaska; Klingborg/psychodynamic; behavioural; solution-focused; ‘NLP’ and why supporters/antagonists are often so impassioned. Positive Psychology, with example of Flow Techniques from high-performance sports.

Chapter 7: Deepening coaching skills: working with individual difference

Two reasons for exploring individual difference: because we as coaches need to know ourselves better, to use our strengths in coaching/get out of clients’ way, and because raising self-awareness is often part of the coaching brief. Full range of techniques from the simple and free through to the high-tech/costly; assessment (the many traps!); 360 (ditto!); non-psychometric profiling; psychometrics (including personality; ability motivation; values; strengths, etc).

Chapter 8: Advanced coaching: team coaching and group dynamics

Power of business coaching to overcome thinking errors at group level: Kahneman’s Nobel prize research. ‘Groupthink’; a famous War Cabinet’s solution. Team-relevant psychometrics: Firo-B, Thomas-Kilman, Practicalities of working with teams: tips and traps.

Chapter 9: Advanced coaching: coaching and career transitions

Based on new Meyler Campbell research. Includes: the new longevity (Cambridge neuroscience research) and the vast new market for coaching to deal with it; difference between career management (unforced) and career transition (someone/something’s making me do this) coaching; traditional v. new (Ibarra) approach. The new market: ‘third stage’ career coaching.

Chapter 10: Advanced coaching: motivation and change

They can do it but will they?! Motivation is a core skill for leaders and coaches: very briefly outline traditional research; new Ryan & Deci tool. The three core areas for coach/leader to focus. Actually making change: Prochaska tool.

Chapter 11: Why it works

Surprisingly not yet published, other than in obscure journals. The considerable body of research on why it works (it isn’t the tools!). Including evidence-based research from sources including 15 years of Positive Psychology (somewhat known); adult development, (the first book on this in coaching came out in 2011) sports psychology etc.

Chapter 12: Building your freelance coaching business

How people earn their living with coaching, from CEO to freelance, and how much one can earn. Setting up in business as a coach: how much you need to do; overcoming the challenges; the marketing check-list.

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


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