Ever heard of the ‘inner Chimp’? If you have, it’s because of the incredible success enjoyed by Prof Steve Peters’ The Chimp Paradox. The Mind Management Programme for Confidence, Success and Happiness, which first appeared in 2012. Even those who know nothing more than that phrase have been known to change their approach to life because through its graphic simplicity they have recognised there are things going on inside an individual which may have less to do with human logic than emotional reaction.
Not all phenomenally successful books classed as ‘self-help and personal development’ are equally worth taking seriously. I tend to check carefully the background of the author in order to see how firmly based her or his ideas are in what is accepted as being scientifically sound. Peters is a consultant psychiatrist who has worked in the UK NHS for many years, been Clinical Director of Mental Health Services, and serves as a Senior Clinical Lecturer of Medicine at the University of Sheffield. This man should know what he’s talking about, and to find a specialist using such approachable images and metaphors is refreshing. They may not appeal to everyone, but the fact that just about anyone can work with them is a huge plus.
Why review a book covering meetings on a blog about coaching? Two reasons really.
Firstly, if you’re coaching in an organisational context, much of your coachees’ precious time will be spent in meetings. When run badly, meetings can seem to be a waste of that irreplaceable resource, and cause a great deal of disillusionment.
Secondly, the book in question is so much more than a simple rehash of meeting tips and tricks. In How to Manage Meetings, Alan Barker packs within a surprisingly few pages insights into significant features of meetings we don’t normally think enough about.
Although the title of The Financial Times Guide to Business Coaching (published 2011) seems to imply this book’s remit is purely related to coaching in the world of business, to my mind it’s a rare gem which gives a comprehensive yet entertaining whistle-stop tour round all things coaching for anyone seriously interested in the subject. That’s not to suggest it’s shallow, for shallow it certainly isn’t. It’s to say that if any coach reads this volume carefully, she or he will have more than a thorough introduction to many practical coaching-related subjects, as well as the pleasure of being entertained along the way.
At just over 230 pages, this is not a big read. However, given the amount of ground it covers and the amount of attention many of its sections warrant, it’s not an inconsiderable read either. What sugars the pill is Anne’s authorial voice – one of wit, candour and mischievousness. This is a refreshing combination, and one I think we could do with more of.
Topics covered include:
Richard E. Nisbett’s The Geography of Thought. How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why isn’t a book about coaching. So why discuss it on a coaching-orientated blog?
The clue is in the subtitle – How Asians and Westerners Think Differently… and Why. As a coach, I’m profoundly interested in how people think. I spend my time in coaching sessions listening, absorbing non-verbal communication, reflecting back my understandings, identifying limiting self-beliefs, challenging… To be effective, all this needs to be based on understanding the coachee’s ‘world’ from the coachee’s point of view. If there’s firm evidence that people from different cultures and areas of the world really do think and see things differently, then I want to know about it…
It’s only when you’ve started reading Pete Mosley’s The Art of Shouting Quietly. A Guide to Self-Promotion for Introverts and other Quiet Souls that you begin to appreciate fully the point of the book’s subtitle. ‘Self-promotion’ is typically what people with loud voices and larger-than-life personalities are thought to ‘do’. Pete takes us into a different world – the world of the ‘Quiet Soul’.
The Quiet Soul may avoid self-promotion like the plague, and may also appear to be unobtrusive, even unremarkable. Yet such a soul can have much more to offer than meets the eye, with a depth and subtlety which is drowned out in a world that values noise above substance. Recognising this, Pete has quietly challenged many (often in the arts and crafts) to find the inner confidence to believe in the value they can bring to society by pursuing their dreams, and by turning those dreams into successful businesses.