Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Tao of Coaching - Max Landsberg

It's a slim little book at 101 pages but packed with great insights. Max Landsberg shares many powerful insights through a story - of one Mr. Alex - who wants to be productive, manage his team well and be a good leader. How Alex learns the ropes of coaching and motivates and ensures that his executives perform, unfolds through little incidents at his workplace. The idea is summarised and ended with an exercise for us to practice. I believe it would help all executives to have a copy of this book.
Profile Books, 101 p

Right up front we understand that managers and leaders can get better results if they look at themselves as coaches who can guide their wards along. Coaching does not need great effort or investment of time (sometimes as little as 5 minutes) if the parameters are laid out. Right upfront one must also understand that coaching will free up time for the coach, helps achieve better results and helps him learn more about interpersonal skills and performance delivery issues.

The way great coaching works is through asking questions and letting the coachee think through their own solutions. Lazy coaching is telling them and moving on. Another aspect is the art of eliciting feedback which is crucial to all growth or correction. One must know how to get and give feedback.

Structuring coaching sessions, diagnosing individual styles, taking account of skill and will, overcoming reluctance of being coached, motivating coachees, recognising cultural differences, starting teams, coaching caveats and mentoring are covered in short chapters. There are chapters on finding and avoiding coaching blocks, coaching in a hurry etc which would help coaches in being more aware of the process.

The book validated some of my own ideas of coaching - of asking, of feedback, and gave good insights into the how of things such as structuring sessions etc. It's a book well worth reading if you're dealing with people.

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