The title of this book is Learn to coach. If this is a suggestion to the training profession, then it is a sentiment I agree with and an instruction which can be fulfilled by reading the book. If the title were to be given a question mark, the material would still work as there is much here to suggest that time spent learning to coach would be worthwhile. I can also infer from the title that one needs to be adept at learning in order to coach and once again the book offers ideas in this context. Nicola Stevens has produced a solid, succinct treatment of coaching and presents it here in an accessible way.
The book is divided into five parts and begins with `What is Coaching?' This section provides the usual definitions and touches on the differences between coaching and mentoring, counselling and so on. This provides a good background to what follows.
In part 2, `Preparing yourself to be an Effective Coach' Stevens outlines some of the up to date thinking around the uses and usefulness of coaching competencies. This section also introduces us to Coaching homework; a series of self-complete exercises and reflective questions that help the reader translate ideas into practical steps.
The third part is entitled Creating the Foundation of the Coaching Relationship. At this point I feel the book becomes more relevant to the external coach than the internal. The main matters covered here concern establishing an effective coaching relationship from the outset and setting objectives both for issues that need resolving and for the coaching relationship itself.
A few well known coaching models are outlined in the fourth part, The Coaching Process. I like the way readers are encouraged to use the models as a starting point but not to follow them slavishly. There are too many practitioners out there who see GROW, etc. as full coaching models rather than just a questioning sequences within a deeper set of principles.
The final part is entitled Setting Yourself up as a Coach, and I found this the most useful part of the book. This part takes the reader from finding their own coaching style to introducing a series of tools and templates to use at various stages in a coaching relationship. I also liked the strong emphasis on establishing a set of ethics and a code of practice.
I see this book as the ideal starting point for the experienced training professional who wishes to move from a consulting role to operating more as a coach. There is ample material within these pages to get you started and provide good grounding for further study.