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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the theory and guidance on practice you will need, 27 Jun 2010
This review is from: Group and Team Coaching: The Essential Guide (Essential Coaching Skills and Knowledge) (Paperback)
This book is simply superb! It is a rich mix of interesting explanation of group processes, vignettes of real life experiences and guidance on how best to set up and manage group coaching.

While the book is primarily aimed at coaches and people who facilitate learning groups, such as action learning sets, it will also be of practical use to a wider range of people, for example other kinds of facilitators, moderators of focus groups or managers of teams who want a deeper understanding of the dynamics of what is going on.

The differences between teams and groups, and between different kinds of groups, are made clear. The author illuminates "the secret life of groups" - the conscious and unconscious processes that are occurring beneath the surface, and she explains how to tackle problems when groups or individuals are behaving in dysfunctional ways. She looks at the group or team within the context of the organisation or system, and explores in detail the different processes of team coaching, learning group coaching and supervision groups.

The book draws on the author's extensive knowledge of theory and practice, and is very comprehensively referenced, while still being very easy to read. The final section points those who want to explore in more depth to other books and organisations. For those who do not, this book provides an in-depth understanding of group dynamics, with practical guidance on how to manage them to maximise learning and performance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book!, 15 July 2010
This review is from: Group and Team Coaching: The Essential Guide (Essential Coaching Skills and Knowledge) (Paperback)
The author's approach is accessible and readable. She draws on real life vignettes which are instantly recognisable to anyone working with groups. I found this book thoroughly readable and it is now covered with post it notes where I have identified ideas and practices. Well worth making space for this on your shelf, whether you are a new, or established, coach.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A remarkable book, 26 Jun 2011
Bought this book when it first came out, and repurchased the Kindle edition, because I want to have it with me all the time. A mix of theoretical background and practical cases from the author's extensive experience and wide-ranging knowledge make this a comprehensive overview of everything related to group-coaching and group interaction. Given the limpid writing and its largely jargon-free approach, I would recommend this book not just to coaches, but also to managers at all levels of the organisation who would like to adopt a more solutions-focused and forward-looking approach to dealing with their daily team and group challenges. A truly essential guide.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great resource and guide, 5 May 2011
This review is from: Group and Team Coaching: The Essential Guide (Essential Coaching Skills and Knowledge) (Paperback)
What a superb book! The author has gathered and presented complex group issues into an accessible, useful and practical resource. My work involves facilitating many different types of groups, nationalities and organisational cultures. What the book has given me is far greater insight and appreciation of what might be happening under the surface. The book has enabled me to be aware of and highlight deeper dynamics in a sensitive way that engages the team in developing their ability. Recently it was invaluable when working in the UAE with national women. The book helped me identify dynamics at work beyond our gender/cultural differences, which in turn enabled me to develop, rather than react, with strategies appropriate to the situation. Many, many thanks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complexity made easy, 17 Jan 2011
This review is from: Group and Team Coaching: The Essential Guide (Essential Coaching Skills and Knowledge) (Paperback)
This is a book I continue to dip in and out of finding deeper and deeper layers of meaning within a very straightforward structure. The clarity of structure and clear writing style helps lead you through some of the most complex issues about working with groups easily. Christine Thornton draws on her experience as a group analyst to introduce concepts that most faciliators and coaches will recognise when they read the book but may not have had the theoretical model to help them understand - for example, projection, transference and mirroring. The real insight for me and the reason I go back to find out more is what Christine calls 'the secret life of groups'. She says we speak very loosely about group dynamics but what exactly are they and how do you recognise them and work with them? Christine prefers the term 'the group matrix' explaining that this is made up of two layers - the dynamic matrix which is the group history and memory and the foundation matrix which is broader and includes our taken for granted cultural assumptions. She then breaks this down into the different processes within groups that create the matrix that is specific to that group. This made so much sense to me in terms of experiences I have had working with groups. The book uses this theoretical framework to suggests ways in which group and team coaches and facilitators could approach the key issues for the group.
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