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Book Recommendations

What Makes a Great Coach

October 2022
— Reading Time: 2 minutes


What makes a Great Coach? Top 10 practices of the world’s best coaches.

Freshly landed is What Makes a Great Coach? by Emma Doyle with Natalie Ashdown. What is so unputdownable about this book is the succinct style, clear layout, and informative, accessible wisdom. I read it in a gulp – excited to discover the gold within – but fully intend to return for a leisurely and thoughtful re-read. I particularly look forward to completing the reflections which conclude each Practice section. Having these questions to ponder, is not only personally rewarding, but also adds to my stockpile of great questions to adapt and use in my future coaching sessions.

This book, I know, will also become a closely consulted guide for the many coaching situations in which I find myself wondering, what should I ask here? Indeed, the answer may well be not to ask anything, to pause (wonderful insight from Damian ‘Damo’ Carmody-Stephens quoted within). The research for this book encompasses over 500 coaches and those named within it are listed alphabetically with their three-word answers to ‘What makes a great coach’? It is fabulous fun to see the famous – and the not so famous – among the listing and notice the congruence among them regarding the top qualities they value in great coaches, and of course to measure these up against oneself, for self-congratulations when claimed and to stretch when not yet reached.

The 10 practices are so compelling, presented as they are embedded within the context of Emma’s own narrative, thus giving the distilled wisdom of great coaches in her own authentic words as she grew from a young inexperienced coach to the heights she has attained today as coach, mentor, and highly sought-after keynote speaker. Natalie accompanies Emma on her journey as an accomplished Master Certified Coach (MCC), adding perceptive comments and asking laser questions at key points, as is her practice.

All the 10 practices have resonance for us at my manifesto. If we were to attempt to single one out, it would be Practice #7: Listening. The power of listening is so underrated. In the coaching context, and to be honest, in all our relationships, listening, really listening, is integral to all authentic interactions; from it all else flows.

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