Book Review: The Coaching Bible

I’ve had this book sitting around for a while, but I thought I should get around to reading it. The snow in London and the cold weather gives me a perfect reason to get through a little bit more reading. The Coaching Bible: The essential handbook focuses on some of the skills an effective coach requires, and introduces a few tools that a coach can use.

The Coaching Bible

The book is largely domain agnostic, although the coaching examples they use tend to be focused on a business context (i.e. not life coaching, sports coaching or agile coaching). I think that makes it quite accessible to any person interested in developing coaching skills, but aren’t necessarily looking to be a full-time coach themselves.

They introduce this “Multi-modal” coaching model made up of four different perspectives a coach can focus on:

  • Logical levels – Beliefs (why), Environment (where, when), Behaviours (what), Capability (how), Identity (who). A good point is that an effective coach considers which logical level to focus on and where their efforts might have the most impact. Doing so at the wrong logical level leads to frustration and an ineffective coaching relationship
  • Remedial versus Generative Continuum – Coaching falls along a spectrum, of whether or not it needs to be targeted at a specific instance (remedial) or outcome, or help with exploring options (generative). Once again, consider what is most appropriate for the situation.
  • Systemic Context – With a strong nod to one of my favourite books on systems thinking, The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization: Second edition, the idea here is that coaches are working with people who are working in a larger environment that drives their behaviour. It’s useful to step back and view this larger context, and explore it as part of the coaching conversations
  • Interpersonal-intra psychic continuum – Lastly, and the one I understood the least, is the idea of trying to not simply focus on external relationships/observations but also to think about exploring the inner beliefs and internal drivers of the coachee.

I agree with quite a number of the other chapters in the book and I think they offer quite a number of practical examples and advice on items a coach focuses on, such as “Building the Alliance” with a client (agree on how/when to meet, develop an agenda, establish goals and how to measure progress) and the importance of identifying the “Mind-Body-State” necessary for both you as a coach, and the coachee to have a healthy conversation.

One of the most useful resources for a new coach is also found in the appendix, referring to core competencies outlined by the International Coach Federation.

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