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Powerful leadership learning and current thinking on coaching

Welcome to our book reviews

Take a look at the books that have stood the test of time in leadership and coaching.  

You'll find reviews and author interview clips below.

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Bob Hughes, Forton Group CEO & Creator of the Leadership Book Club

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Book Reviews

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Conversational Intelligence by Judith E Glaser

ThConversational Intelligencee concept of multiple types of intelligence was pioneered by Howard Gardner in the 1980s. It has always appealed to me and it is increasingly apparent in the new world of work that we reside in that intellectual intelligence alone is not sufficient.

In an hierarchical organisation during the Industrial Revolution, commands flowed down from the top and people were told to make more widgets and they did. The outputs required from most workplaces have shifted in the last two centuries but the organisational structures and the leadership styles have not changed at the same pace.

There is a desperate need for leaders to be more flexible in their styles and for organisations to change structures. Judith's book makes a great contribution to this need. She focuses on the skills required to conduct conversations that build trust and partnership. By analysing both the structure of our conversation and the impact that we have on the brain, drawing on new insights from neuroscience, she provides a mechanism for leaders to be more effective in transforming their teams and organisations

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5607 Hits

Speaking the Language of Leadership By Colin Luthardt

It’s often said that today’s world of leadership is more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous – and that we need to develop leaders better able to survive and thrive in this environment.  The holy grail of people working in the field of senior leadership development is to create an integrated model.  A model that deals with these realities of the complex world of leadership in the 21st century.

So Luthardt’s work is impressive in that he’s thought hard about keeping things simple; making his models understandable and, most importantly, he focuses not only on what the leader does – but what s/he says and how s/he shapes attitudes and motivates the people around them.

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3806 Hits

The Velvet Revolution at Work by John Smythe

The Velvet RevolutionThe revolution that John refers to in this book is a revolution in leadership style, from a command and control to a more inclusive approach. In addition, he makes a compelling social case for employee engagement alongside the more traditional business case. The book is full of stories, case studies, well-honed arguments and tips.

He explores the topics in three main parts; explaining the Velvet Revolution, looking through the lens of the people and then the lens of the leaders to show how to achieve this.

There’s a useful discussion on the distinction between outcomes and drivers, or causes, of engagement; a distinction not always made so clearly in comparable literature. John makes the valid point that complex organisations inevitably have many drivers of engagement and hence lists key levers and enablers which he believes will make the biggest impact and are therefore the most valuable areas to focus on.

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3268 Hits

The Vital Edge, by Louis Collins

Forton Leadership Book Club September 2014 The Vital Edge People often draw parallels between the world of leadership and the sporting world.

So what is different about this book?

Well, I enjoyed the greater depth that Louis has provided around the role of the brain.  I liked his focus on emotional intelligence, as well as some of the new learning from neuroscience.

I also found the discussion about the differences between team and individual sports an interesting angle.  The sporting anecdotes that he uses are both entertaining and relevant.

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6523 Hits

The Myths of Creativity, By David Burkus


The Forton Group Leadership Book Club, Myths of CreativityI was attracted to ‘The Myths of Creativity’ by David Burkus, because I enjoy personal creativity and hadn’t thought about how it might be a solution to one of the biggest challenges of our age – complexity. 

People around me can always tell when I’m engaged in a good book that supports leadership development and coaching:  I grab all the yellow sticky notes I can get my hands on and fill the book with them. 

 I ran out at the airport, so I invested in some rather colourful ‘sticky arrows’ to get me through to the book’s end. 

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8563 Hits