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Review: The Performance Coach – Seeking Coaching Excellence


Jacket - Performance CoachTitle: The Performance Coach - Seeking coaching excellence
Author: Dixon, Tony and Valentine, Hazel
Publisher: Gower Publishing Limited
ISBN: 0 566 08513 5
Price: £325.00
Reviewer: Nigel Harris

As you might expect for the price, this is a whole lot more than a book. It is a comprehensive training package enabling organisations to train up managers to become accredited performance coaches. All the training materials are contained in the huge A4 loose-leaf binder, including facilitator and participator materials, workshop manual and OHP slides. Much of this material is also provided on a CD-ROM.

The course is based on a three-day intensive coaching workshop followed by six monthly Action Support Groups where trainees can share and reflect on their coaching experiences and practice further coaching skills. Again, full notes for these Groups are included in the binder. Techniques such as John Whitmore's widely-used GROW model (Goal, Reality, Options and Will) and transactional analysis are introduced. The latter receives perhaps more emphasis than other coaching courses, and trainers may feel the intensive three days could be better used in a more general introduction to a wider range of skills.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own coaching issues with them, to receive skilled coaching and develop effective coaching skills themselves. The workshop is indeed intensive and covers a huge amount of material. Thankfully, the authors provide a minutely detailed timetable for each day so facilitators effectively have the whole programme given to them on a plate!

Course facilitators may or may not be happy with the particular range of techniques that the authors have chosen to cover in the three-day course, but these could be added to in the course of the Support Action Groups. The contant of the three days appears balanced and should provide a sound foundation for ongoing, on the job training in coaching. The bibliography usually gives a clue as to where the authors are coming from. The course reading list includes many of the popular writers on coaching, although there is a noticeable bias against from those using primarily Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques.

Having completed the course, trainees have the option of putting together a personal portfolio and a work-based project which are submitted to the Professional Development Foundation for assessment. Successful candidates are awarded the Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Development (Performance Coaching) by Middlesex University. This accreditation costs an additional £200 per candidate.

Further details and sample pages are available at


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