Just finished “The Art of Coaching”, by Jenny Bird and Sara Gornall, that taught me a great deal so I thought I’d write down some thoughts and comments.
I honestly don’t remember putting this book into my basket and was quite surprised when it arrived among some other books in my package. Hence I read the book with very open mind and curiosity.
Confession time: I have no formal training as a coach, and still that is the most common name my roles have. But, as a friend of mine once said when my lack of formal training worried me:
Have you clients ever complained about your lack of formal training?
A great coaching question that moved me ahead in my thinking.
I’m leading with this story because this book is packed with stories like this. The reason the book is called “The art of coaching” is that it is packed with drawings that the authors made together with their clients. Packed - I tell you. One on every page.
And with each drawing follows a short story on a situation when a client (or the authors) found the drawing useful and revealing and how to use it, in coaching conversations of you might have.
The book ends with a short chapter on the elements the drawings are made of. Furthermore, it contains some tips on how to use drawings to amplify the shared understanding and reveal new perspectives in the coaching sessions.
I found the book very interesting and I learned quite a lot about coaching through the drawings that the authors went through.
One thing I particularly like was that the drawings are beautiful but simple. I felt like I could do them myself later. This was very encouraging.
Another thing was that the coaching mindset was prominent through the conversations and discussions. It put me in that same mindset. Things like “there is always potential in every client”, “focus on the good things”, “ask questions to let the client find their own answers” all resonates with how I approach my clients, which mostly are teams and organizations.
And that might be the thing that was not spot on for me; this book is mostly about one on one coaching for “life in general”. There are some pretty though topics about divorces, mental health problems etc. being used as examples. That’s not really what I do and I’m probably more of a mentor than a coach in that sense. But I’m also old enough to see beyond that and find plenty of good stuff to pick up from this book.
If you are doing any kind of coaching or improvement work this books should give you a lot of visualizations, tools, and thoughts that will prove useful for you.