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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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Developing Mental Toughness: Clough & Strycharczyk; Kogan Page 2012

Developing Mental Toughness

 

Subtitled “Improving performance, well-being and positive behaviour in others”, this is a useful book that will offer new insights for HR managers and line managers alike. Based on over 15 years’ of academic and practitioner research, the editors take readers on a journey of discovery about an aspect of psychometrics that is increasingly relevant in a turbulent and fast-moving world.

The book has three main parts: the first (chapters 1-9) is a description of the development of and basis for the Mental Toughness tool (MTQ48). The second part focuses on its application in a number of sectors and organisational environments. The book ends (chapters 19-27) with a review of mental toughness as it relates to coaching, fatigue, positive thinking, visualisation, relaxation, attentional control, goal-setting and research.

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Mindful Leadership Coaching: Manfred FR Kets de Vries (Palgrave Macmillan; 2014)

Mindful Leadership Coaching Manfred Kets de Vries

 

In a world where coaching seems to be on an ever-increasing popularity curve, it is a real pleasure to read a book that tackles the subject in such depth. The author – an INSEAD Professor with an awesome academic track record – confronts head-on some thorny issues on the subject: the sub-title ‘Journeys into the Interior’ indicates the book’s intended direction of travel and it does not disappoint.

It is a book of two halves: the first deals with a number of psychotherapeutic themes as they might relate to leadership coaching; the second covers a number of topics directly associated with the coaching experience. Lest this might sound a little ‘heavy’, allow me to reassure you that this is a remarkably readable book, punctuated frequently with anecdotes and case-studies. Indeed, the introduction contains a great story about Freud’s coaching of the composer Mahler which serves to summarise succinctly what the book is really about.

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41 Hits

The Team Formula: Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn (MX Publishing; 2013)

The Team Formula A Leadership Tale of a Team who found their Way Little Book of Big Success Mandy Flint

 

This is a ‘leadership tale of a team who found their way’, to quote the sub-title of this very readable book. Following in the footsteps of a number of eminent authors and organisational scientists who have used modern-day fables to bring home some valuable lessons for self-development, this book tracks the fortunes of Stephen and his colleagues in the global Insurance sector. The merger – or was it a takeover? – between Tightrope and Black Sparrow (the latter quickly nicknamed BS) gives Stephen the opportunity to test his team-building skills; and initially, he is found wanting.

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41 Hits

The Leader’s Guide to Managing People: Mike Brent & Fiona Dent (FT Publishing; 2014)

The Leaders Guide to Managing People Mike Brent

Introduced by a quote from Jack Welch (“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others”), this is a valuable reference book for people in, or aspiring to be in, an organisational leadership role. Leaving aside the substantial debate about whether leadership is a ‘role’ or an attitude, the authors define and explain the leadership skills-portfolio comprehensively in this book.

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Know what you don’t know: Michael A Roberto (Pearson Education, 2009)

Know What You Dont Know How Great Leaders Prevent Problems Before They Happen Michael A Roberto

Decision-making, problem-solving and creative thinking are significant and current challenges in management practice and so Roberto’s book has some apparent relevance. Sub-titled “How Great Leaders prevent problems before they happen”, this is a book that blends structure with case studies in an easy-read style.

In order to draw the reader in, Roberto explains how organisational breakdowns and crises form from a number of small problems; how often-unrelated issues collide to bring about a unique set of corrosive circumstances. He furthermore points to a common leadership imperative not to be confronted by surprises: leaders prefer the ‘bad news’ upfront. Roberto argues that the most effective leaders are those that seek out the issues before they spiral out of control. This book, then, is about how leaders can develop an acute sense of interrogation. And, it deals with how we should develop a perception of problems as lessons for future improvement. This last message is somewhat counter-cultural: after all, we know that leaders generally dislike the “bad news” story and dirty linen is best aired behind closed doors in the corporate world.

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39 Hits