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on 27 January 2003
This was the first title I read when I became a coach and I found it to be the best introduction one could hope for.
It provides a step by step guide to the founding principles of coaching and is intelligently simple.
The tale of Alex that runs through the book made it an enjoyable read but I found it to be a rather artificial (Anyone who behaved as ineptly as Alex in the company I work for would have been sacked years ago).
Overall this book is a great introduction to business coaching but does not go far enough to be of value to those with experience in the role. I would suggest reading it when you start to coach and then give it to someone who would like to start to coach.
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on 31 July 2000
This book covers all the important pointers to becoming a good workplace coach. It also acts as a great refresher for experienced coaches who want to check that they are still on track. Simple to read and easy to follow it will take only a very few hours of any busy person's time to gain some insight into the power of coaching. I particulaly liked the tips on overcoming coaching blocks - especially as they actually work! The summaries at the end of each chapter are a gift if you are a person who just likes to cut to the chase. The cartoons convey valuable coaching messages in an entertaining way. There are many other coaching books on the market - this one gets my vote.
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on 29 May 2002
This book, though first published in 1996 is apparently based on training sessions run by those well-known *consultants* McKinsey and co. way back in 1990.
Have we really learnt nothing new about coaching in the course of the last 12 years? To be blunt, if you put this little book up against *some* of the latest publications on the subject you might conclude that we'd learnt nothing at all in that time.
Unfortunately, for this author, "The Tao of Coaching" only stacks up well in comparison to the less significant entries in the coaching genre.
Compare it with the better books now available on Coaching, and this set of stage managed situations and mechanical solutions looks more like a book that has seriously LOST it's "Tao".
Whilst there are undoubtedly a few good ideas here, the majority of the book - especially the author's tedious creation "Alex" (whose cloddish behaviour is used to illustrate the book's main points) - is tired, mediocre and totally unrepresentative of coaching in the new millenium.
This *may* have been a welcome addition to the Coaching library when it was first published. Now it's just well past its sell-by date.
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on 3 July 2004
Hmm. To be honest, I found the book a bit facile; I came to this having had my one-time cynicism about 'life-coaching' well and truly eroded both by good books, and a series of excellent face-to-face coaching sessions.
But I do know that people don't necessarily respond like machines just because you push the right buttons, and (from bitter experience) people don't necessarily handle even the most skilful and careful encouragement and intervention, in the appreciative way they are supposed to do! This book makes it look so easy..... just change your approach and the world will run like a well-oiled machine.
Also, I had hoped we had got beyond categorising people as ISTJs, ENFPs etc... deal with people as people, for crying out loud, don't fit them in boxes just to make yourself feel more comfortable. It doesn't get you very far.
I'm thinking that many people would feel a bit patronised by being instructed to read this, while those who need to learn its lessons would never be convinced to read it anyway. But fundamentally it talks sense, so it gets _some_ stars from me.
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on 2 February 2002
The Tao of Coaching is probably one of the best "light-weight" introductions to "the fine art of coaching" and it provides valuable input to the development of your coaching skills that you may benefit from both in your professional life and beyond.
In the Tao of Coaching, Max Landsberg illustrates his points through the story of Alex who in the beginning wonders whether he will be elected to the Board of Directors and why it took a year longer than he expected to be promoted to a senior management position and how Alex in the beginning uses the stick rather than the carrot as his management philosophy. Gradually we follow Alex as he develops from an autocratic manager into a coaching leader and as he experiences the power of asking questions rather than giving orders.
Interspersed between the selected episodes of Alex's life, Max Landsberg introduces some basic coaching techniques and provides several valuable tools for self-assessment.
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on 23 March 2016
It's sort on commonsensical, but a bit light and written in this patronizing American style. It doesn't answer questions like: what are the different media for acquiring knowledge (verbal, visual, practical), how do you know pupil has understood, how do you get over pupils' conditioned reflex to seek approval. Read it in an hour or two and find something more detailed.
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on 5 September 2000
The book is written with an exciting case study running through it, to show a series of different coaching methods & models. Each has it's own place & purpose and is well explained. Plenty of details to go back through and use as a source of reference. Would suit either a new or experienced coach.
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on 14 April 2010
The Toa of Coaching - Boost your effectiveness at work by inspiring and developing those around you.

Max's follows his definition of coaching by tracking the adventures of a person called Alex, ending each short story with a summary of the lessons assimilated by Alex. The whole coaching element is very nice presented and each short story contains valuable lessons. The book gives an introduction to what coaching is and can be. It is a small book but densely packed with insights, techniques, and tips. Although I have read the book some years ago I still take it with me on business travels to refresh some of the knowledge offered.

Excellent as a basic introduction to coaching!

"Coaching aims to enhance the performance and learning ability of others. It involves giving feedback, but it also includes other techniques such as motivation and effective questioning. And for a manager-coach it includes recognizing the coachee's readiness to undertake a particular task, in terms of both their will and skill. Overall, the coach is aiming for the coachee to help her - or himself. And it is a dynamic interaction - it does not rely on a one-way flow of telling or instruction."

Alex's story
1 Contemplating coaching at work
2 Asking versus telling
3 Eliciting feedback
4 Correcting common coaching myths
5 Giving feedback
6 Structuring the coaching session
7 Diagnosing individuals' different styles
8 Find and avoiding your coaching blocks
9 Coaching in a hurry
10 Taking account of others' skill and will
11 Overcoming a reluctance to being coached
12 Motivating
13 Recognising cultural differences
14 Starting teams well
15 Coaching caveats
16 Giving feedback upwards
17 Mentoring
18 Reflecting on coaching - a summary

Max Landsberg offers 3 books actually called "The tools of leadership", "The tao of motivation" and "The tao of coaching". Each book follows a similar pattern of telling, explaining and even showing funny cartoons to illustrate the stories even further. Each sub story is lovely presented and packaged so you can easily digest the lessons. The 3 books are excellent as a first and basic introduction to leadership, coaching or motivating staff. Each of them is highly recommended!
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on 15 April 2016
I am a coach. I coach. It’s what I have trained and am qualified to do.

That said, coaching is far more than a profession, it really is a way of life. The questions I ask of my clients, I have asked and continue to ask myself on a daily basis. While I am tempted to say “I practise what I preach”, I cannot emphasise enough that what I do is as far from preaching as is possible. I ask questions, I challenge beliefs, I probe, I explore… and more.

But coming back to coaching as a process I go through, I always see the most progress in my clients when they take the methods I use with them, and try to apply these themselves to their work, rest and play. I take far more satisfaction from the client who requires only a few sessions, because they imitate and implement the practices I teach them, than the client whom I work with for months who sees the coaching as the only vehicle for progress. Coaching, and even more so with self-coaching, changes lives.

The Tao of Coaching alludes expertly to the multitude of facets coaching has. It gives the reader the very basics of a variety of tools for coaching yourself and others. It isn’t the easiest introduction to coaching, and many readers may have more questions than answers if they are completely new to the concept of coaching. For those willing to try fresh approaches however, they’ll find at least one or two approaches to take into their working lives.

Primarily The Tao of Coaching is aimed at those in a corporate environment. The subtitle tells us is it will boost our effectiveness of work by inspiring and developing those around us, but who reads subtitles? I have to admit and agree that assimilation of the coaching tools into an individual's arsenal will achieve this very claim.

The book follows the story of Alex, who through each chapter recalls his learning of a new coaching tool. The author, Landsberg, gives Alex the challenges many of us in the coaching world are familiar with, which Alex swiftly overcomes with a new coaching tool. One can’t help feeling Landsberg over simplifies the corporate environment as every obstacle is only ever one coaching tool away from the perfect solution. Busy business people will be left thinking “that wouldn’t work in my company” and professional coaches will be left thinking “it would require a little more input than that”. Readers should not dismiss any of the techniques on that basis though. Landsberg is highlighting the benefits of a coaching approach in the workplace. Anyone who has received coaching will know that he doesn’t exaggerate the payoffs, merely leaves the obstacles for the reader to discover… Like a good teacher, allowing pupils to make their own mistakes.

Do you like make mistakes? I have no hesitations in recommending this book. Those open minded, willing for change, or just desperate to enforce a new culture in their company will all find effective, proven methods for doing so. Those who don’t like making their own mistakes will be put off early by the seemingly naivety of Alex and his black and white progress through the world of coaching. Most people reading a book review of a coaching book written by a coach are far enough down their own coaching journey to get so much from this book, full of brilliant tools, tips and tactics. So buy it, read it and share it with colleagues. You’re going to need allies and converts to boost the effectiveness of those around you. Indeed, there are ideas within this book to get others on board. If they don’t work however, and you have more questions than answers… employ a professional coach.
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on 10 November 2013
Of all the books about coaching I have read, this is definitely the best introduction there is. If you like this book, then coaching is for you. The approach of writing a story involving and about coaching and the positives one can achieve is simply brilliant.
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