Food for thought…

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Book Thoughts – The Financial Times Guide to Business Coaching by Anne Scoular

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. Cartoon cogs with handThat’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:

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What if… coaches didn’t know best?

How often in conversation with another coach do you find the subject moving to coachees who don’t do what they know they ought to do? It’s happened to me quite often. In a previous post I considered the proposition “What if… coachees were coaches?” and in some ways what I’m going to say today continues on that theme. We all know we’re supposed to believe that coachees have within themselves the answers to their problems, but somehow our keeping hold of that insight gets swamped by ‘interference’…

What do I mean?

two mannequin heads in a poolCoaching is in many ways more about how a coach deals with his or her own baggage than it is about the coachee. One function of a coach is to hold up that mirror to coachees which helps them perceive themselves in perspective. But what if the coach isn’t really holding up a mirror at all? What if the coach has unwittingly substituted his or her own image?

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6 good reasons to use coaching

I’ve said a lot elsewhere on this blog about coaching. But the first question really ought to be: “Why use it?”

Head and arrowsAs coaches, we need to have thought this through. Our own enthusiasm for our profession isn’t really enough. If we haven’t thought it through, and we haven’t identified key benefits to individual and organisational performance associated with coaching interventions, we’re very unlikely to be able to convince anyone else to invest time, effort and money into what even now might easily be dismissed as ‘just another fad’.

So let’s take a look. As a coach active within a large organisation, this time I’ll be discussing  6  reasons why putting time, effort and money into coaching and establishing a coaching culture would be more than a good idea.

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A coaching summer…

Even coaches need to take it easy sometimes….

flower garden and treesWhy do I say this? Because here in the UK we’ve had the most wonderfully warm and sunny weekend, full of blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud, the heat-drenched scent of roses, and not a little ice-cream (at least as far as I’m concerned)! Those of you who haven’t had the dubious pleasure of a wet British summer will probably not understand the full significance of being able to enjoy what for us is a perfect June weekend – but I hope you’ll be able to join me in feeling relaxed and happy to be alive…

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Insight into coachee context in action – the case of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)

Remember we looked at benefits and potential drawbacks to coaches having insight into coachee context? Well, now we’re going to go one step further by checking out an actual coachee context to gain some practical understanding of how ‘background issues’ might influence the experience of coachees working within it…

I’m an internal coach in one of the largest Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the UK.university mortar board hat So let’s briefly explore some wider ‘background issues’ currently affecting UK universities to gain deeper insight into a ‘context’. We’ll then be able to suggest ways these issues might affect employee experience in the sector, as well as understand how insight into them might help coaches in their professional work.

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