Book Review – Action Learning For Change By Lynne Butler and Nigel Leach

Action Learning For managersAction learning has been an approach I admired for a long time and three years ago I trained to become an action learning practitioner and even got to use it as part of a leadership development programme. Action Learning For Change, which I first read about four years ago and I’m now reading again is one of those books that inspired me to take on action learning. The reason being, the book describes a simple approach to implementing action learning which almost anyone can understand and I like simple. In my opinion Lynee and Nigel have done a brilliant job to make action learning an accessible practice.

About the book, though it covers 220 pages you can read it in a couple of hours and even though the entire book is written in black and white, it’s very visually appealing. It uses a good balance of quotes, bullet points, case studies, tables, diagrams and images. Each chapter is broken into small sections which are easy to digest so reading it won’t feel like a chore. Continue reading

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Book Review – Effective Coaching by Myle Downey

Effective Coaching by Myle DowneyIntroduction
I have read a couple of books on coaching, to understand some of them you will need to have gone through year 1 of a university Psychology degree, this is not one of them. So far I will say this is the simplest book on coaching I have read. While it does describe the popular GROW coaching models, it is lean on models but big on common sense. The use of stories, examples and simple explanations like, potential minus interference equals performance really got me endeared to this book. This is not surprising though, Myles Downey, the author has been on the coaching scene for a while having set up the School of Coaching in London. In the book he is also endorsed by Tim Gallwey, creator of the Inner game concept and books. Believe it or not this book was first written in 1999, and this second edition which I am reviewing in 2003. So Downey was definitely opne of the earlier proponents of coaching in the UK. Continue reading

Book Review – Brain Rules By John Medina

Introduction
Brain Rules is a book about the brain for every day people like you and me (provided you’re not a neuroscientist) who would not normally be caught picking up a book on neuroscience. So if you want to learn a bit more about how your brain works, this is a book for you. John Medina, the author, is a molecular biologist who has an interest in how brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and how we work. Medina outlines 12 principles about the brain which he terms as brain rules that deal with things such as the impact of sleep, exercise and stress on the brain. The book has 12 chapters with each chapter covering a brain rule and it contains 264 pages. If you don’t mind reading a bit about human history and light neuroscience, you should enjoy this book. A lot of the advice John gives in the book regarding how we can take care of our brain is practical and doable, but there is also a lot of information that points out the negative effects of modern day lifestyles on our brains. So would I recommend this book? My answer? Yes. Continue reading

Book Review – Revolutionize Learning & Development By Clark N. Quinn

Revolutionize Learning and DevelopmentIntroduction
Clark Quinn sounds like a man on a war path in this book because he argues strongly on the need for learning and development to change. Jay Cross who wrote the book’s foreword stated that, “Learning and development is in a bad shape. Really bad. So bad that Clark Quinn wants you to sign up to join him in a revolution to overthrow the crap that our once-proud profession has come to.” That echoes the sentiment in the book. Cross also writes that, “L&D, which would better be called Performance and Development, is not doing what it can – and what it is doing, it’s doing poorly. Other parts of organizations are creating their own solutions. They don’t find L&D relevant. They bypass it.” Sounds pretty damning, but it may just be the truth.

In the book’s preface Quinn says he is a man on a mission. The mission? It’s best captured in one of Quinn’s statements, “At two separate learning industry conference expositions early in 2013, it became clear that, while the technology had changed, the underlying models had not. While the world had advanced, learning and development had not moved in a meaningful way. The stuff I had railed against a decade ago was still in place. I was, quite frankly, pissed off. I decided that I simply had to make a stab at trying to address the problem.” Part of Clark Quinn’s “stab at trying to address the problem” is this book. Continue reading

Book Review – Coaching for Performance By John Whitmore

Coaching for Performance by John WhitmoreIntroduction
John Whitmore is well known for the framework he created, GROW, which is one of the most well known coaching frameworks. And the framework is discussed in-depth in this book. In 182 pages John Whitmore covers a lot of ground, he starts the book with an introductory section arguing for what coaching should be and how it should be applied. In the first chapter he moves on to define what coaching is, certainly a good foundation for the rest of the book which in the next 21 chapters covers topics such as The Manager as Coach, The Nature of Coaching, Goal Setting, What is Performance, and Motivation.

In reviewing this book I would have loved to do it chapter by chapter but I didn’t. Instead I grouped the chapters into reviews of 4 to 5 chapters. Continue reading