We’ve all heard about coaching, and some of us might even think that coaching is a waste of time (gasp!). But it turns out that done right, coaching can be an incredibly effective method to improve job performance and satisfaction and it can help strengthen organizations.
Coaching doesn’t have to be hard and it doesn’t have to take hours of our time. It can be easy and it can be fun. These five titles will help you start building a coaching habit.
1. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
Coaching involves much more than just talking to people; it requires posing intelligent questions that inspire those you’re coaching to talk about their work and their personal concerns. Managers can use a proactive questioning process to learn what’s going on with their staff members and to help them upgrade their business skills.
Michael Bungay Stanier, the first person honored as Coach of the Year in Canada, teaches managers how to coach others effectively. His firm, Box of Crayons, has trained more than 10,000 managers in executive coaching skills. His manual can help all managers, aspiring business coaches and any practitioners who might welcome a refresher (and he slips in a word or two of advice for parents, too).
2. The Weekly Coaching conversation
Great coaches lead the most productive corporate work teams. These special managers guide their team members to superior performance by conducting regular “coaching conversations” and consistently providing developmental feedback.
Drawing from more than five years of research involving 2,000 managers and employees, performance improvement specialist Brian Souza teaches leaders how to engage in regular, constructive discussions with their team members. He believes managers can consistently get more out of their teams if they adopt the right approach. Souza uses a popular business book device – the fable – to create two entertaining, recognizable characters who convey his ideas in a readable, instructive way.
3. Mastering Coaching
This classic by Max Landsberg, the author of the bestseller The Tao of Coaching, shows his deep understanding of how coaches can help their clients or employees achieve their goals.
Landsberg shares his mastery of standard coaching tools and suggests numerous techniques and approaches that coaches can adopt and modify from other fields. His manual’s case histories bring its lessons alive for readers who lead others.
This short but in-depth guidebook is a must-read if you’re interested in getting better at your job.
4. The Tao of Coaching
Drawing on 30 years of experience, coaching expert Max Landsberg updated and expanded this third edition of his bestseller. He organizes his model – which shows how to conduct Socratic coaching by asking strategic questions – into concise chapters, each articulating a main concept.
Landsberg teaches the real, heavy lifting of building up people’s achievements in the workplace. He helps you exercise a psychological skill, one on one, without drifting into therapeutic counseling. Happily, his book is not burdensome; it’s highly readable and sliced into easily digested bites. He helps you exercise a psychological skill, one on one, without drifting into therapeutic counseling.
5. The Humble Inquiry
Retired MIT professor Edgar H. Schein makes a solid case for humility. He explores the way American culture prioritizes action, practicality and competition over courteousness and respect.
Schein encourages openness and curiosity about others in the form of “Humble Inquiry” – “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not already know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.”
If these books aren’t enough to get your coaching on, we have one bonus title for you. Here’s an article that explains what a coaching culture looks like:
6. Truth and Courage
Implementing a “coaching culture” can improve your business and work environment, explains Douglas Riddle, a senior fellow at the Center for Creative Leadership. He explores the forms coaching can take and lists practical steps for managers who seek to engender an atmosphere of “truth and courage” in which individuals help one another grow.