Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace
Author: Jackie Arnold
Publisher: How To Books
Price: £14.99 RRP (Paperback)
The merits of coaching are well known. After all, an employee who is well-supported, suitably guided, gently corrected if necessary and allowed to talk freely about important issues in a non-judgemental environment will naturally be a better employee who can contribute more to the collective effort. Implicit in this, of course, is the need for an excellent coach to make sure that it can all happen.
But how do you make an excellent coach?
Coaching Skills for Leaders in the Workplace is the answer to this question. Written by veteran coach Jackie Arnold, this book provides sound guidance and invaluable advice for the future workplace leader who has chosen to develop their coaching skills. Operating on the definition that “coaching is, to a great extent, a particular mindset and way of behaving”, the book includes a spectacular selection of illustrative case studies, working models and tried-and-tested techniques that allow the reader to gain an excellent perspective of the mindset and behaviour needed for success in coaching.
A great deal of thought is given both to the coach’s own mindset, approach and objectives so that they can fulfil their role as well as possible, and also what they need to cultivate in the coachee to get the best out of them in turn. Recognising the need to consider the coach as well in the coach/coachee relationship is well-judged – as Jackie Arnold puts it: “Unless we, as coaches, look (and learn from) our own inner wisdom and guidance, we, too, will not be effective in our own lives or when coaching others.” A reminder to consider the balance between the coach, the coachee and the wider culture of the organisation as a whole is also a valuable inclusion, and particular attention is paid to the split between internal and external coaches.
The aspiring coach will rapidly come to appreciate what this book has to offer. The case studies bring the principles under discussion to life and really help place them in context. The example coaching agreement will spare coaches and coachees alike a great many headaches and will make getting to the actual coaching that much easier. The information on controlling costs – always a concern in the current business climate – is similarly helpful and may allay a few fears along the way. Even the addition of a list of useful resources is a thoughtful touch. However, it should be remembered that this is a book for the informed reader rather than an absolute novice. Those training for Institute of Leadership and Management qualifications in coaching and mentoring at levels 5-7 will likely gain the most from this book.
Ultimately, the most important thing the aspiring coach will take away from this book is a sense of the fundamental feature of coaching – a realisation that it is “the job of the coach to recognise that the knowledge and solutions were inside the individual being coached.” While it is a very human temptation to want to solve everyone’s problems for them, Jackie Arnold instead persuades the reader that the true point is not to solve the problem but to help the coachee find their own solution. It can be no accident that the text highlights a Socrates quote:
“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.”