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Leadership Coaching: Working with Leaders to Develop Elite Performance

Jonathan Passmore (Ed.)

London: KoganPage, 2010
336 pages, paperback. ISBN: 978-0-749-45532-3. £25.95

Reviewed by Vicky Ellam-Dyson

A recent addition to the Association for Coaching series, this is a practitioner focused book providing details of various models and tools for structuring coaching with leaders. The aim of the book is to inform coaches of tried and tested methods that they can use with their clients to assist in improving leadership style and performance. The material has been provided by a wide range of experienced and well known coaches/coaching psychologists.

The purpose of the models and their appropriateness to different contexts are discussed, such as how a model can assist coach and coachee in recognising the organisational drivers and personal drivers behind a specific leadership style. Further discussions include models that help in mapping what is actually happening versus what needs to be happening, and tools for raising awareness and understanding of the risks and consequences of a particular leadership style.

Most chapters offer details of the research underpinning the use of a model / tool discussed, offering a level of credibility and confidence in knowing that the suggested approach has been tried and tested in context, with the target population. The relevance of some of the approaches is further backed up by case studies to demonstrate how a particular approach has worked in practice. This allows the reader to potentially draw parallels to situations they have been involved in and gain some clarity about the relevance of an approach to their clients. I found these two aspects of the chapters (research and case studies) particularly valuable, though I would like to have seen these details included in every chapter.

The content also covers coaching for many leadership contexts; different styles of leadership (authentic, transformational), particular leadership responsibilities (strategy), drawing on approaches from / for different cultures (African, Asian), approaches and tools (emotional intelligence, systems model) and specific leadership environments (politicians, top teams). Hence it offers insight for many different situations and client types.

In summary, this is a useful practical guide for coaching leaders. The case studies and the variety of situations discussed are helpful in understanding the use of the models in context, though it could benefit from more case studies, with more depth to some of them. The reference to research is enough to give it credibility without making it a heavy read, making it a practical handbook rather than a textbook.

Vicky Ellam-Dyson


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