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David L. Dotlich and Peter C. Cairo discuss how to use action coaching to improve individual effectiveness and boost your overall organization. Their approach begins with fostering self-awareness and then uses this awareness to motivate change that the organization needs. Action coaching involves a series of steps and some specific coaching tools. While this book provides a fairly well-organized and well-written introduction to the concept, it covers familiar training and development ground. If you are a beginner in this area, the repetition of steps and processes will come in handy. Experienced trainers will find the coaching tools quite familiar and the assessment questions fairly obvious. Thus, we at recommend this book for those who are new to training and development, or for employees who are considering getting coached.
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on September 6, 2000
Dotlich and Cairo have put together a fine and practical book that really helps focus coaching skills towards results. They give a very specific approach to developing an action plan to produce results from coaching. In fact they address four kinds of results - self-awareness results, performance improvement results, performance breakthroughs and finally full-blown transformations. Maybe most important for modern organizations is the anal;ysis of coaching skills in the context of the organizational needs, not just individual developmental needs. We develop and support people because our organization needs their current compliment of skills enhanced with other skills or it needs to rehabilitate a counterproductive approach. Although much of their work is not necesarily new, I believe they have packaged it to be more usable and accesible. I would highly recommend this book for someone looking for a chance to evaluate their own coaching skills, develop an improvement action plan and maintain high levels of motivation to improve their performance. Who know, maybe even transform their performance!
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on January 26, 2006
The need to cope with change, inside and outside of the organization, and the employee's need for personal development should be brought into alignment, say these founding partners of CDR International, a consulting firm that specializes in executive coaching. Action coaching is a process that fosters self-awareness, and guides personal development so that an employee's personal development goals are congruent with the goals of the organization.

Action coaching differs from traditional coaching in three ways:

1. The employee's relationship to the coach is a business relationship rather than a therapist-patient relationship.

2. Action coaches tailor their strategies to the individual and the strategies are geared towards performance breakthroughs, where traditional coaching tends to be unfocused and generalized.

3. Where traditional coaching focuses on personal insights, Action coaching translates insights into actions with organizational results.

There are eight steps to implementing Action coaching in your organization:

1. Determine what needs to happen and in what context.

2. Establish trust and mutual expectations. Make sure the employee understands the purpose of the coaching as well as the steps in the process.

3. Contract with the employee for results. There should be a formal written and oral agreement with the employee about the purpose of the coaching and specific goals to achieve.

4. Collect and communicate feedback.

5. Translate talk into action. Use your feedback to enact change. Review and revise goals when needed. Make sure the goals are still in alignment with the business needs of the organization. Set deadlines.

6. Support the employee in taking big steps.

7. Foster reflection about actions.

8. Evaluate both individual and organizational progress.
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on October 11, 2005
I have more than thirty years of successful experience using models of leadership, management, and supervision in training classrooms, and I have passionately absorbed the ideas and content in approximately 400 leadership-related texts during the last 20 years.

Action Coaching is to coaching effectiveness what The Supervisor's Survival Kit by Elwood Chapman is to first-line/project lead effectiveness. I've used and advocated the latter book for thirty five years.

Action Coaching, and I haven't finished it yet, "begins with the end in mind". The authors define Action Coaching as "a process that fosters self-awareness, resulting in the motivation and the guidance to change in ways that meet organizational needs." The approach is directly linked to organizational goals and an action plan (both of which are dynamic). There are processes to involve the executive's boss in the process. (Good luck, you say, with getting executives to devote time to such a process!?) Feedback on progress toward important goals and leadership development is valued and seen by the CEO.

The book is loaded with tips, tools, exhibits, questions, processes, and ideas for helping a manager become a more effective coach, even without the support of the organization. The authors of Action Coaching offer forty helpful, easy- to- understand exhibits that: serve as diagnostic tools, offer suggestions on handling difficult situations, provide checklists of to-do's, feature evaluation and role-playing tools, etc.

Wouldn't it be helpful to have a resource where the processes and approach had been successfully field tested in corporations with real executives, with real CEO's who had extremely important strategic challenges ahead of them, and where traditionalist leadership paradigms and behaviors made it impossible to accomplish the articulated goals? That is precisely what these authors did in developing and refining their processes and approaches?

What the Action Coaching is not is a lock-step guide, prescribing every important step and nuance along the way toward helping executive leaders grow. It is a particularly interesting, believable, and seemingly sound approach based on the experiences that they have had with major organizations. The process with individuals and with organizations is one that enables both to help themselves, becoming less dependent upon the external coaches, while building coaching expertise internally.

This is the best book of coaching I have ever read, and I've read quite a few.

Bill Parker

Bill Parker Associates

A Leadership Development Resource

Richmond, VA

PS This is the fourth book I have read by David Dotlich and his colleagues within the past six months. I'd recommend every one of them: Action Learning (1998), Unnatural Leadership (2004), and Leadership Passages (2004). Put together, the series represents a longitudinal action-research case study. Readers of Unnatural Leadership can appreciate the need for the ten new leadership instincts when they remember that they grew from strategic goals and leadership development experiences with corporate clients/partners.
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