Book review: Coach Yourself to a New Career

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25th Aug 2010
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Nick Bailey, one of our members, has reviewed a new book published on coaching. Would this book be useful to you?

Book:          Coach Yourself to a New Career: 7 steps to Reinventing Your Professional Life
Author:       Talene Miedane
Publisher:    Mr Graw Hill, 2010
To a training and development professional, manager, coach or associate this will not be a hugely useful resource. It is however a useful tool for personal reflection that can be adapted for personal use or for use by clients.
Talene Miedaner is a true believer and trailblazing enthusiast for life coaching. Life coaching has a 'new age' air to it that will ring alarm bells in corporate circles, careful about their returns on investment in human resources development. Fortunately, corporate gate keepers are not the intended audience: this is aimed at individuals who seek a career change, want to discover more about themselves or anyone addicted to self-help.
I found the exercises insightful but not challenging in the same way that a fully-developed and well-practised personality inventory test is. The results are self-intuitive and reinforcing. What a book can't do is provide two-way communication and challenge assumptions like a live coach will. The outcome is therefore too comfortable and predictable. The book is not a substitute for a coach but it can provide an introduction to the benefits of coaching and will undoubtedly encourage many to seek coaching and will help with the endeavour required for successful careers and decisions.
 
"I found the exercises insightful but not challenging in the same way that a fully-developed and well-practised personality inventory test is."
The techniques used by Talene are practical and easily understood, the free online tests associated with her website provide good prompts and add to personal momentum. Some of the exercises have an air of parlour game about them and can be used for just that but in context can also provide good clues to underlying potential and wishes. The best example is the 'Envy Method' where you are required to list people you envy and to identify what you want that they have. I don't think that envy is a good starting point for positive development and contradicts many of the otherwise good messages.
Like many self-help guides there is a requirement to suspend natural scepticism and embrace the required naivety to proceed. For me, the dwindling personal commitment to the requirements of the book devalued the reading experience. The unfaltering enthusiasm of the author and her case study subjects adds little to the thrust of the book, but there is merit in the ideas and basic premise offered. This is a book for individual readers that clients could be referred to if interested in life coaching and personal development.
It is recommendable, depending on who asks.
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