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Leverage Your Best, Ditch the Rest : The Coaching Secrets Top Executives Depend On Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 25, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
The authors, founders of coaching.com, have created a plan that incorporates the strategies used by coaches when assisting their clients. Blanchard (son of renowned business consultant, Ken Blanchard) and Homan start by raising three key questions: How do you see yourself? How do others see you? How do you want to be seen? People must be able to answer these points to improve their daily work routines as well as to be happier in general. The authors walk readers through a series of exercises that offer a perspective on their office situation and in what specific areas they need guidance. In some cases, by learning how others see them, readers may be able to make easy "fixes" to a troubling professional problem, but others may find they need to change their careers. The authors clearly explain the steps readers need to take to make these changes. For example, readers are encouraged to understand their personal and professional needs, by identifying them, setting goals and looking toward friends or family who can help. Then they're asked to consider a specific incident that was unsettling and ask themselves what needs were not being met, what they might have done differently and whom they might have spoken to for advice at the time. This is an upbeat book, filled with practical advice, real life examples and numerous exercises. It is almost as good as having one-on-one sessions with an executive coach.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Scott Blanchard is a founder of Coaching.com, a Web-enabled leadership development coaching service. He is currently executive director of Service Delivery for The Ken Blanchard Companies, an internationally recognized management and leadership training and consulting firm based in San Diego, California. Scott lives on top of Bernardo Mountain in beautiful Escondido, California.
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Top customer reviews
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I think the key to weaknesses is to do just enough to minimize them. But spending a lot of time trying to be good at something you are weak at only gives you some stronger weaknesses.
The book is written as a workbook. Lots of exercises. The exercises reinforce everything I know like have goals (written and specific of course), have good success habits etc.
I loved the chapter on Name and Claim Your Standards. Standards can be great. But they can also be a limit. More people fail from perfection than fail from speed. I know in my own life, my standards have often caused me undue stress.
I loved the chapter on Eliminate Your Tolerations. Basically - what are those things you "put up with". One way I know a book is good is if it actually causes me to take action. One thing I have tolerated is messy bookshelves. I am inspired to tidy them today. So the book must be a success.
Now off to organize my bookshelves.
It is important to understand that Blanchard and Homan are explaining a very specific type of coaching, what could be called "mainstream" coaching, identified in many minds with the original CoachU under the leadership of Thomas Leonard. If you hire a graduate of another coach school, or an independent coach, you may get a whole different experience.
Even more important, Blanchard and Homan seem to be exceptional as people and as coaches. They share a a fairly sophisticated understanding of business. Many -- some would say most -- coaches do not resemble them. Going to coach school doesn't automatically create a business, career or relationship expert.
For example, I really liked the section on managing one's strengths, a topic that is rarely discussed. The authors describe what happens when young lawyers begin to do well, intimidating the partners. As coaches, they helped their clients overcome these obstacles to success. But not every coach has the political savvy to address those challenges. Blanchard and Homan didn't learn these skills in coach school.
Readers who identify with the chapter topics will find helpful guidance. But as a certified grinch, I believe the authors left out a key question: "What are the challenges that this type of coaching is uniquely suited to addressing? And what assumptions do mainstream coaches make about human behavior?"
The authors write that coaching is "an art of the soul and coaches are artists of the soul." And the "goal of coaching is to help clients objectively see where they are .. and where they need to be ... and then develop a plan to get them there with as little effort and as much fun as the law will allow."
These definitions are appealing but vague. I've seen many concepts of "soul." There are hundreds of ways to help people get from here to there. In reality, I've found that mainstream coaches often assume their clients have the answers. They need help with confidence, accountability and "backward plans."
Blanchard and Homan are probably wise enough to avoid applying these techniques universally to any client who shows up on their doorstep. But they need to articulate their understanding to help readers choose their own coaches. Not everyone wants a cheerleader and some people actually function most effectively with what psychologists call "defensive pessimism."
So I think this book would be even more helpful with a section discussing not just what a coach might do, but when and why this type of coaching works. Every theory has limits of applicability; even gravity works only under certain atmospheric conditions. There's no universal solution for "everyone."
By making explicit the assumptions and limits of coaching, the authors would avoid some sources of confusion. For instance, they describe a client who felt she had to "come clean" with her coach about smoking. The coach responded, "I don't care if you smoke." Although coaching is supposed to be a partnership, this example suggests some kind of power imbalance. And indeed some coaches say openly, "I give my clients permission to..." Permission implies power.
As a minor glitch, the book jacket makes mention of a 25-item self-survey, but I found a 46-item "scrubdown." Perhaps they can make a correction in the next edition.
Bottom Line: If you're lucky to work with someone of the caliber of these authors, you'll probably benefit. But it's up to you to decide if you're benefiting from their intelligence and business expertise or from application the coaching tools they present in their chapters.