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Ayranne Oade

Oxford: How to books, 2009.
130 pages. Paperback. £12.99.


Reviewed by Sarah McCarthy

As the title indicates, this book is an informative guide of how to start and run a coaching business. The book is presented in a concise and intuitive way; laid out with clear headings and succinctly broken down into relevant chapters. It asks the reader to adopt a self reflective approach, by often posing questions to the reader around various elements of starting and running a coaching business. However, it also assumes a pragmatic style, by offering tips and experience from the author.

Throughout the guide the author details various potential scenarios, in order to illustrate practical situations to the reader. I personally did not find these very helpful, but others may find them thought provoking all the same. The book does not profess to provide a detailed account of each area of starting and running a business, but does provide an overview of the important aspects, which is accompanied by references to useful websites.

I found the slightly tedious introduction the only real downside of this book, but fortunately this short read soon gains tempo. The first chapter encourages the reader to reflect on why they want to own their own coaching business. This section persuades the reader to set aside some of the romanticism of working for one’s self and instead presents a balanced view on life as a Coach.

This initial chapter may feel slightly redundant to individuals who have already spent serious time considering starting a coaching business, or those who are running a business, but this book is aimed at a wide audience, targeting also those individuals who have paid little serious thought to starting their business. Nevertheless, this book may still be helpful to individuals with an established coaching practice who want to reconsider their offering. Fortunately many of the exercises in this book can be revisited, which may be helpful for readers to monitor their progress.

Continuing with its reflective approach, Chapter 2 asks readers to consider their own niche in this ever competitive market. Moreover, it also pays consideration to how a Coach might structure their coaching sessions.

Chapter 3 highlights the importance of effective time management and the value of the Coach investing time in their own development. In the practical style of the book, the author offers helpful experience and tips in how to organise responsibilities such as rewards and holidays.

Chapter 4 continues the earlier theme of how Coaches present their offering, but this time with a direct focus on how individuals will sell and market themselves. Beginning by asking the reader to consider the prospect of carrying out these functions, this section next offers advice about how these tasks can be carried out in the most effective way. Further topics included in this chapter are the etiquette for gaining references, creating a mission statement and working as an Associate. This chapter is completed with a consideration of fees and the structuring of these.

Chapter 5 focuses on the relationship between the Coach and Coachee. Firstly it discusses how the meeting with the Coachee can be structured in order to build a fruitful relationship with the individual, and how to continue to nurture this relationship in an ethical way. This section also draws attention to the power of coaching qualifications. The next chapter presents a strong case for the benefits of supervision and the potential risks of not choosing to be supervised.

Chapter 7 continues to offer advice on important issues when starting and running a coaching business, focussing specifically on those matters which may have previously been taken care of by an employer. Talking frankly the author outlines responsibilities that now lie squarely with the Coach. Discussing firstly why ongoing professional development is valuable, it then turns to offer guidance on how to plan and budget for this. Further topics covered include how to gain feedback from clients.

Chapter 8 highlights the comprehensive nature of this guide, by providing some expert advice on maintaining relationships with other Coaches. The author provides some cautionary words of warning, as well as offering guidance on how these relationships can be advantageous to the Coaches involved.

As should probably be expected from a book of this nature, the next chapter includes information on confidentiality and ethics. Looking firstly at setting and adhering to confidentiality agreements, the book next turns its attention to other confidentiality issues, such as preserving the necessary boundaries between Coach and Coachee, whilst effectively addressing their needs. Chapter 9 also prompts the reader to consider, not only the ethical issues that a Coach would adhere to as part of their affiliation with professional groups, but their own personal code of ethics.

The final chapter provides an overview of important financial considerations when starting a coaching business, and whilst not claiming to be comprehensive, it is a useful starting point and contains helpful pointers, such as tips on organising business documents. This book is concluded with a repository of useful contacts, including details of the major accredited coaching groups.

Whilst reading this book I sensed the author was pouring onto paper their own hard-earned expertise. The result is a book which is a joy to read and could easily become a revisited bible for coaching entrepreneurs. It is hard to feel that all its readers would not take at least something valuable from it. Particularly as it not only covers a comprehensive range of topics, but in adopting a reflective style the onus is placed on the individual to consider what their coaching business will mean to them.


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