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Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart : A Systems Approach to Engaging Leaders with Their Challenges Hardcover – January, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0787950163 ISBN-10: 0787950165 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (January 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787950165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787950163
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Executives are tough customers with high expectations. This direct and pragmatic book reveals the importance of the coach's immediacy and self-awareness in the successful coaching of top leaders." --Brian Clewes, senior vice president, human resources, TransAlta Corporation

"O'Neill writes in a way that allows you to see this experienced coach in action. What a wonderful way to learn!" --Geoff Bellman, consultant and author, The Consultant's Calling

"This is an important book. Executive coaches will find in Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart a sensible and sensitive process that leads to guaranteed results." --Carla J. Murray, general manager, The Westin Seattle

"In this book, O'Neill brings form and structure to the art of executive coaching. Novices are provided a path while seasoned practitioners will find affirmation." --Daryl R. Conner, CEO/President, ODR-USA, Inc.

"Effective leaders require courage, compassion, and initiative. O'Neill's systems-based coaching serves as a guide for both coaches and executives to better enable good decisions and good decision-makers." --Paul D. Purcell, president, Beacon Development Group

From the Inside Flap

Coaching high-powered executives requires something special, something extra. Executive coaches must be more than instructors; they must become partners whose emotional investment in business outcomes equals that of their clients. They must have the strength and courage to face an organizational leader in a time of crisis and speak the unvarnished truth. They have to be a force to be reckoned with. They have to have backbone and heart.Mary Beth O'Neill has backbone and heart, and she's used it to help executives become better leaders and make better business decisions for more than twenty years. In this book, she shares the secrets of her success as she details the techniques she's developed over the course of her exceptional career.O'Neill knows first-hand that executive coaching is about self-management, about learning how to be with leaders so you can seize those critical moments when they are most open to learning. She focuses on the need for coaches to build their own signature presence with clients and outlines four conditions that promote such a presence.The author also teaches coaches how to deal with clients in terms of the "force fields" they create and react to; that is, the political and emotional climates within organizations that can ensnare both executive and coach and make for faulty decision making. In so doing, O'Neill introduces an important new systems approach to executive coaching.O'Neill reinforces her observations on coach self-management and her systems perspective with a sound four-phase methodology for implementing both, a methodology that covers contracting, planning, live action intervening, and debriefing. She also addresses special applications such as how to guide conversations that establish coaching relationships and how a coach can help executives coach others.

Customer Reviews

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If you coach executives, or leaders at any level in organizations, this is a must resource.
Donna J. Dickinson
There are a number of coaching books that describe coaching skills, but O'Neill's book provides a solid theoretical framework for applying these skills.
Sabrina Schleicher
While it is well written and gives the illusion of simplicity, the concepts and specifics inside are subtler than that.
Roberta Hill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 65 people found the following review helpful By Roberta Hill on June 25, 2001
Format: Hardcover
It seems quite awhile since I have found a book in my own field that I can completely recommend to almost anyone. This is a terrific book for coaches, consultants and leaders at all levels. Finally here is a book that explains the role of coaching as an Organization Development intervention. As well it clearly alginates the differences between calling yourself an executive coach and the competencies required to actually be one. In fact I would have to say that this is a must read for any executive or corporate coach.
One reviewer said this book was easy to read. While it is well written and gives the illusion of simplicity, the concepts and specifics inside are subtler than that. I am a quick reader and it took me some time to properly digest what O'Neill was really saying. And this is not a big book. When I first picked it up, I remember thinking: "Oh brother another expensive book without much meat." I was completely wrong. There doesn't appear to be a lot of theory, but it is clear that theory is the underpinning of the author's work and it is there front and centre. However, you do not notice it because of how it is presented.  
This one of the few books that I have read where the short case studies really added value to the book. In the cases typical situations and examples of how she expertly handled them were reviewed, as well as some warnings about how the coach can also get triggered by what is happening. Another great part is that this book as a "go back to" reference. The three Appendix contain a personal assessment, questions to ask clients and issues on how to combine consulting with coaching or vice versa.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Donna J. Dickinson on March 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mary Beth O'niell writes with great clarity and her book is very engaging--almost like watching her in action. O'Neill's four-phased, systems-based methology provides a structure for coaching that encourages individuality. In fact, O'Neill stresses the importance of a coach's self-awareness and developemnt of ones signature presence. She uses many relevant examples to illustrate her approach. I especially value suggestions made throughout the book for how to effectively engage clients. O'Neill has the ability to explain complex sustems theory and interpersonal dynamics in a way that aides understanding. In a recent conversation with a potential coaching client I found myself using, in the moment, the useful information O'Neill offers. If you coach executives, or leaders at any level in organizations, this is a must resource.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By John M. McConnell on June 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In a field crowded with many new titles this book is unique and very empowering. While most coaching books focus on "technique," Mary Beth O'Neill shines the light on how we use OURSELVES to catalyze change. The author helped me better understand emotional systems thinking and how I can use these principles in my coaching practice. Another unusual perspective I found in this book is the author's focus on coaching in the context of bottom line results. Highly recommended!
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on October 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mary Beth O'Neill describes how executive coaches need to work with executives as partners to help them become better leaders. Coaches need the strength to share the truth with clients in times of crisis, she explains. She discusses the core principles that underlie coaching and the four essential phases of the coaching process: contracting, planning, live-action intervening and debriefing. The book is primarily directed to coaches, including consultants and internal or external trainers, who facilitate processes and projects in organizations. While it has its share of fuzzy and jargon-laden patches, the book is generally clear and to the point. It includes a mix of examples, charts, and step-by-step techniques, plus useful chapter highlights. We [...] recommend this book to coaches, to executives who are coaching employees and to executives who are being coached.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Susie Leonard Weller, Director of Tools for Transformation on September 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I predict that "Executive Coaching With Backbone and Heart" will become a classic textbook within the field of organizational development! As a new coach, I found Mary Beth O'Neill's writing to be clear, informative, honest and thought provoking. She balances theory with practical examples to illustrate her points and provides highlights at the end of each chapter for easy reference and review. Her willingness to share her mistakes and how she's learned from them added to her credibility and models her own integration of backbone with heart.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Susie Leonard Weller, Director of Tools for Transformation on September 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I predict that "Executive Coaching With Backbone and Heart" will become a classic text book within the field of organizational development. As a new coach, I found Mary Beth O'Neill's writing to be clear, informative, honest and thought provoking. She balances theory with practical examples to illustrate her points with a summary of the highlights at the end of each chapter for easy review and reference. I also appreciated her willingness to share her own mistakes and how she's learned from them. I found her honesty refreshing and it added to the credibility of her book. Her writing models her own integration of backbone with heart.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Lewis R. Stern, Ph.D. on March 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mary Beth O'Neill is an experienced executive coach who provides a useful perspective and helpful guidelines and examples of what coaches can do to help executives. Her systems perspective and four-step approach is helpful with case examples and additional insights into how leaders can be coached to coach and how coaching can be combined with consulting to have a greater impact on the organization. There are several key elements of professional coaching that are missing in the book: First- The four-step approach does not include a thorough assessment of the executive and his/her organization using reliable historical, normative, and 360-degree data. Instead, the major focus is on asking the executive what they think they need or want to work on. Second- There is a lack of focus on involving and partnering with the executive's boss, board, key constituents, HR professionals and others to truly understand the executive and the organization from multiple perspectives and to have the potential impact on the whole system. And third- there could be greater emphasis on what happens after the coaching is completed; how to transition for continued learning, application, and improvement.
For more information about the principles and practice of executive coaching that incorporates Ms. O'Neill's useful approaches along with the additional components described above, you may want to go to the following website for the free Handbook of Executive Coaching along with other free information and tools for executives, coaches, and HR professionals: [...]
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