Saturday, 2 April 2011

"The Extraordinary Coach" by J Zenger & K Stinnett

Through work I recently had the chance to listen to Kathleen Stinnett talk about coaching so I thought I'd get hold of her book ( The Extraordinary Coach - How the best Leaders help Others Grow) and read it.

I'm glad I did.

In a foreward to the book Marshall Goldsmith writes "Read it, devour it, practice it, and you, too, will be an extraordinary coach!"  Having read the book this certainly feels credible.

They introduce some research that suggests there could be many benefits to leaders being better coaches including reduced employee attrition rates and greater engagement.   Given I'm a keen follower of BBC Radio 4's "More or Less" the authors get a bonus mark from me when they explicitly draw a distinction between correlation and causality at the start of Chapter 3 by saying "..the fact that things are correlated does not prove that one causes the other.  It only proves that there is some strong connection between them."

The core of the book is the introduction of the FUEL coaching framework -

  • Frame the conversation
  • Understand the current state
  • Explore the desired state
  • Lay out the success plan
In detailed chapters on each element they provide concrete examples of the sorts of questions the coach can ask to guide the conversation through each of the phases.

In a nice additional touch they provide access to some further resources including videos, at

The book is easy to read and has a very practical focus being full of ideas and suggestions that can easily be implemented.  It has already had a positive impact on some conversations I have had since reading it - I feel a long way short of the "Outstanding Coach" title but hopefully further down that route as a result of reading and reflecting on this book.