Coaching Skills: A Handbook

Coaching Skills: A Handbook

Coaching Skills: A Handbook

Coaching Skills: A Handbook


"I have just read my first - and probably last - whole book on coaching. It is my last because it has done the job, giving me the most comprehensive examination of the art." David Amos, former Deputy Director of HR at the DoH, writing in the Health Service Journal. What is coaching and how is it different from therapy or counselling? What techniques and approaches does an effective coach use? What distinguishes a 'good enough' coach from an outstanding one? Coaching Skillshelps readers to acquire the skills that are essential for becoming an outstanding coach. The book addresses key issues such as: Creating the trust that encourages a client to learn Keeping yourself and your own agenda out of the way without diminishing your presence Managing your own anxiety, especially if you are inexperienced. This practical and readable book is enlivened by many case studies to accompany the theory. Based on many years' experience of what coaches actually struggle with in practice, it is a must for the growing band of executive and life coaches, as well as managers who want to learn how to adapt coaching as an approach to leadership.


Like many others who now earn their living as coaches, coaching found me. More than a decade ago, I was newly back in the BBC, running its management development programmes. Soon, I began to get tentative phone calls: 'I've done all the courses, but now I'm in a new job and I need to get to grips with this or that issue – can you help?' Or, 'I've got this editor in my team. He's too senior for a course but he urgently needs help with his leadership style. Anything you could do?' Some of these queries had the air of 'Psst! I need help – but don't tell anyone!' Others just assumed that it was only right and proper that tailored and time-effective help was going to be available for some of the most senior people in the organization.

Significantly, there was no accepted word then for the process that people were requesting. I believe we referred to it as 'one-to-one sessions', in a fuzzy fumbling for a word or phrase that would accurately describe what would happen. This process was, of course, coaching, an activity that must be as old as human society but which has only recently emerged as a proper discipline in its own right.

This book represents the material I wish had been available to me then. Knowing then what I know now would have saved so much time and spared clients so many of my well-intentioned but clumsy early attempts at coaching.

I have written the book with a number of different readerships in mind, but they are all united by one thing: a wish to understand what coaching is, how it works and how to do it. This could mean that you are in a quite different job or role but are wondering what this coaching stuff is and whether you could make a living at it. You could be working in a professional role, such as training, that looks a bit like coaching, and may even think you probably already do it informally. You could be a trainee coach, already resolutely committed to the idea of improving your practice. You might be a therapist or counsellor, considering turning your existing skills to a different kind of clientele and wondering what that would mean for you in practice. You could be a much more experienced coaching practitioner looking for a benchmark to affirm what you already know.

Reading the book is no substitute for training and supervision as a coach, though my sincere hope is that it will support and boost the training that you do undertake. Only through training will you get to identify your own quirks, habits, strengths and weaknesses because the only real way to discover how to . . .

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