The Tao of Coaching: Boost your effectiveness at work by inspiring and developing those around you, by M Landsberg, 2002 edition, published by Profile Books Ltd

Landsberg demystifies coaching positions it firmly within the business context: it is a critical tool for helping others think and act for themselves, so that you don’t have to.
A practical guide and can be used as a ‘how to’ by trying out the suggestions in each chapter. Is deceptively short and simple but if managers put only a fraction of the content into practice, performance in organisations would rocket.

If telling others which direction to move in isn’t working, this book will save you time and energy. It will help you to help others think for themselves. But, don’t be fooled by this deceptively small, light and easy to read ‘how to’ book. Presented in short chapters, each sets the scene with a welcome ‘far side’ cartoon before briefing us on a specific element of coaching. In between these briefings, we also follow Alex as he learns to coach.

We learn why telling is less effective than asking questions; how to ask for and give useful feedback; how to structure a coaching conversation. Perhaps most useful is Chapter 9, ‘Coaching in a Hurry’, where we learn how to coach when we only have a few minutes to spare.

The ‘Will/Skill’ matrix, Chapter 10, has illuminated delegation for many leaders I’ve worked with. This simple quadrant helps you decide whom to delegate a task to and the most effective approach to ensure everyone gets the best outcome. There are also a number of useful tools in the Appendix: how to plan for a feedback meeting; helpful questions to use and adapt when coaching.

Don’t underestimate this book. If you only adopt 25% of what’s written here you will save yourself a huge chunk of time and people will love working with you.

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