Performance Coaching

The handbook for managers, H.R. professionals and coaches

By: Angus McLeod


Or purchase digital products from our partners:


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 156mm
Pages : 312
ISBN : 9781904424055
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2003

Before now, coaching was a muddle of single-model approaches, so finding the right model to get the best results was never assured. In Performance Coaching, Dr Angus McLeod brings together the fundamentals of all the best practice in coaching and builds up from there. Unlike so many of the coaching books already on the market, this book is for coaches, not clients. Fast, accessible and clearly written, Performance Coaching is comprehensive and rich in real examples of real executives achieving real success in real-life situations.

Dr Angus McLeod is a well-known and respected coach through his practice with individuals, teams and professional coaches. He is widely published in the United States and Europe on coaching and team development issues. Angus continues to influence the coaching profession through his on-line mentoring service Ask Max’ and leadership of The Coaching Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that offers career development opportunities to professional coaches.

Picture for author Angus McLeod

Angus McLeod

Professor Angus McLeod is pre-eminent in coaching technology and practice. His company Angus McLeod Associates trains coaching-skills for managers, leadership and management development learning journeys' and e-learning solutions as well as supplying 1-2-1 coaching. They also supply ASK MAX', the world's first e-mentoring service, a cost-effective way of getting top coaches into organizations for a whole day at a time, where they coach several people during each day. He is also Principal of the Coaching Foundation, an e-learning platform for practical learning of coaching skills. They cover both life- and executive-coaching as well as business development programmes for coaches as well. A wide range of blended-learning is offered including video-tutorials, webinars, series of small-group tutorials (online) and an e-learners community with monitoring and tutoring by professional coaches. Angus is also Visiting Professor of Coaching at Birmingham City University and a supervisor of PhD applied research in coaching and leadership.


  1. `Performance Coaching` by Angus McLeod - five years ago we were familiar with -˜performance management' in secondary schools in UK, but suspicious of terms like -˜performance coaching' imported from commercial settings. Today when this reviewer visits schools he listens to colleagues explaining their new roles in coaching performance, and see notices about -˜coaching' on staff-room boards. The climate has changed, and there is a new language, and skill set teachers are acquiring.

    McLeod who has an impressive track-records on writing about coaching, organizing a diploma course at Newcastle University, and world-wide consultancy has written his book to be accessible to managers, but providing structure and content for methodological experts. He gives insights into both the language and tools of coaching in earlier chapters, then explains how coaching can be applied to organizations. Chapter five explores methods taken from development models, and chapter six looks at some of the philosophies and methods underlying executive coaching. Readers will find various resources, and a glossary of terms. The author draws together what he sees as the best of existing coaching models and builds upon them. There is discussion of coaching pitfalls and how to avoid them in chapter 8 which might be required reading for educational institutions introducing performance coaching. Thoughtful readers in the various worlds of education will find this book stimulating for reflective thought about how the insights of this writing can be related to their professional setting.
  2. -˜Whether or not you are new to coaching this is an important book. I read it when starting out as a coach in 2003. Re-reading it I realise how much I learned that easily became second nature. Because coaching is about creating a good space for the coachee/client it can feel as if there is not much to it. The client/coachee does it all. But it is the -˜not much' that is important, the attentive respectful listening and the well-timed good questions with so much skill behind them.

    -˜Angus quite rightly says -˜...the skills of the coach can be more of a way of -˜being'' than a package of skills used for coaching intervention.' And it is crucial to keep learning and revising your skills in order to make the most of your own way of being as a coach.

    -˜In -˜Performance Coaching' Angus McLeod teaches through dialogues between himself as coach and different coachees. This brings life to the techniques. The examples are from coaching at work, but are just as useful for freelance life coaches and others who wish to master coaching skills for professional helping conversations. You can see exactly how gentle questions enable coachees to find new understanding and confidence, and how people become able to identify practical steps. Everything Angus does as coach is explained in accompanying linguistic tips, tools and interventions, so you can easily transfer skills into your own work. He includes NLP, story-telling, -˜Clean' metaphor work - and much else which is valuable to know for coaching.

    Buy -˜Performance Coaching', read it, re-read it and make good use of a very thoughtful and practical book'.

  3. Angus McLeod is well known in NLP circles and his book on coaching, like NLP aspires to be, is elegant and very well put together. The book does not slavishly adhere to every NLP mantra and intelligently incorporates what NLP has to offer within the growing coaching profession

    Bruce Grimley.B.Sc (hons). M.Sc. C.Psychol. AFBPsS.
    Chartered Psychologist. Accredited Coach. Trainer in NLP.
  4. Finding the right model of coaching from the many available, is fraught with uncertainty. Finding the right one to suit your style has never been certain until now. The author, a well-known life coach, continues to influence the coaching profession in the US and Europe. This book is for coaches, not clients; fast, easily accessible and clearly written with many examples of real people achieving real success in real-life situations.

    Nine chapters and nearly 300 pages, this book looks at new skills for coaches, the drivers for change, looking at new models for coaching and development as well as a detailed examination of questioning techniques, using metaphors and story telling to deliver messages. There's also a chapter looking at the pitfalls and how to avoid them and a further one on mentoring.

    This is a great resource for helping individuals to develop and improve their coaching style and performance leading to much greater success levels.
  5. I found this a really useful and practical book. It is well set out with a good structure ” easy to find what you want. There are practical tips and case studies, useful anecdotes and extracts from actual coaching interactions / conversations which help to illustrate or support the author's points.

    The book explores the whole gamut of the coaching process, including a detailed look at communication issues between coach and coachee, beliefs and internal dialogue, motivation and change. It also examines various coaching models and outlines specific tools and interventions for use with clients.

    McCleod suggests a framework for working with clients which includes advice on initial contracting and expectations, preparation for sessions, ending sessions and setting “homework' outside sessions. He provides practical advice on establishing coaching contracts, doing freelance and corporate coaching, group coaching and even coaching pitfalls and how to avoid them.

    In addition, the book also focuses on the development of the coach themselves, with sections on mindsets for the coach, self- coaching and finding inspiration.

    I would highly recommend this book for anyone involved in either Life coaching or corporate coaching.
  6. Coaching has long been a required skill for leaders, managers, trainers, consultants and business advisers. Of late, coaching has emerged as a viable, stand-alone discipline and is currently undergoing something of a revival.

    This book drills-down into the practical application and execution of coaching and provides examples of conversational styles and techniques that can be adopted for the successful implementation of coaching methods.

    In its entirety, this book is a thorough study of coaching in every respect. Consultants and business advisers are advised to review and develop their existing coaching skills to enable the successful implementation of their recommendations to clients. A great strength of this book is the many practical examples of interaction between coaches and their clientele, using subtle transactional analysis and NLP techniques.
  7. In a marketplace cluttered with self-help books and guides on how to approach almost everything in Life it is somewhat heartening, as a practicing HR professional, to come across such work as Performance Coaching. The book provides a holistic view of the subject with the real selling point being the plain, down-to-earth language used throughout.

    There is a plethora of material available on the subject of coaching but this book challenges the command and control approach of the subject hitherto endemic in some areas of UK plc. By writing the book in the manner he has, Angus McLeod aptly and with subtlety conveys the message that coaching can be an effective and ethical instrument for change in any environment.

    What struck me most when reading the book was that there was no jargon or management speak but rather a real focus on trying to help and educate the reader. There are a plethora of case studies throughout the book requiring coaching interventions which have come from Mcleod's own experiences as a coach. These range from dealing with work-life balance issues to people being bullied. The scenarios make for easy reading which will benefit those still developing their coaching skills to gain more of an insight into issues before having to deal with them in real Life. My only gripe about the book is in respect of the case studies which should be indexed or referenced clearer than they actually are. This would help readers easily identify with certain situations making it a regular source of information for aspiring coaches.

    This book has the ingredients of what a successful coach is all about - silence, questions and challenge. Silence because of the feeling it Leaves the reader with - an element of contentment at a book dealing with the subject of coaching in a simple, uncomplicated manner. The reader is left asking questions of their own coaching style even though many are answered throughout the text. Challenge because stereotypical views of the subject are met head on simply by breaking down a difficult and complex subject by rational thinking and explanation.

    Angus Mcleod, a well-known and respected coach in his own right through his work with individuals, teams and professional coaches writes enthusiastically and with expertise using a great deal of his own experiences as background material. The content of the book provides a valuable insight into an evolving subject still trying to gain credibility in some sectors of UK business.

    While McLeod investigates a range of coaching methodologies and models, the way in which the book is written cleverly combines three core elements - case studies, theory an use full anecdotes termed by the author as -˜Linguistic tips'. As the reader navigates through the book, the concept of coaching becomes an achievable goal for even the most cynically minded of individuals.

    One of the great benefits of the way Mcleod writes is that he breaks the subject down into bite-sized chunks. He walks the reader through a myriad of information and literally bulletpoints information to make it more understandable.

    While the author spends time musing on various theories in the pursuit of effective coaching, there are also highly effective parts of the book dealing with the softer, humanistic elements These musings in no way detract from the accessible, comprehensible and usable way in which the book is compiled and actually makes the subject appear more plausible to the novice reader- who wants to know the basics and a Little more besides about the rudiments of coaching.

    One of the things which strike's me about Performance Coaching is how wide an audience the book could appeal to. The book does what it says on the tin - -˜a handbook for managers, HR professionals and coaches' - and the content would certainly appeal to all Levels within these categories. The immense practicality of the book comes across in a number of ways from the detailed section on putting coaching into context in any type of situation to dealing with the range of soft behaviours required of a successful coaching partnership.

    This is not a book to be read in one sitting but one which will be picked up time and again by those who want to Learn more about the art of helping develop others via the medium of coaching.
  8. Performance Coaching (The handbook for Managers, HR Professionals and Coaches) by Angus McLeod is just one big experience, its sets standards and it offers tools, tips and reflections and it allows you to feel and experience certain situations. It is like entering a memory and being able to reference parts as and when required.

    Recently Angus trained myself and my direct reports(all of whom are HR professionals) in coaching skills, and at the end of that training handed to us his book, duly annotated with personal comments to each attendee.

    It brings tools and techniques, definitions of coaching; signposts for each chapter at the beginning of the book, examples of specific conversations ” it is resourceful in your career developing as a coach.

    I found the book to be conditioning to my mind in terms of how I wanted to develop my coaching skills and what my aspirations were in my self development. I also found it timeless. Due to its format you really can use this a reference when you need to look something up, remind yourself, consider options, and learn more etc. etc. It really does grow your mind to different types of coaching.

    This book is an instrument to people at all levels of experience of coaching to self develop themselves and their personal formation as a coach. It calibrates thoughts and it provokes challenge.

    This book is coaching itself ” it is written in a way that embraces your mind and helps you develop. At the end of the day this book has a real connection with business delivery and how you can make good leaders great and great leaders deliver the business!

    On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book 9. However just to be clear I never give more than 8, as 8 is 10 for me. Buy it and I guarantee you will keep it by your side as you develop your style and impact on the business. Highly recommended!
  9. I personally think that this book is a modern day 'Bible' for those in Human Resources, management or Coaching and Mentoring. Like Kriss Akabusi MBE, MA I totally whole heartedly agree that Angus McLeod's experience is evident in not only every page but in the words he uses. I would not only recommend it on my book lists but I have spoken to a colleague who is in Personnel Training and I have asked them to look at it with a view to getting it into there course book list.
  10. To work effectively with a client, a coach needs an extended frame of reference for new and creative tools. In this, Dr. McLeod could hardly have rendered a better service to the world of coaching than by writing this book. The book is at once a challenge, a stimulus and incitement to readers and practitioners in the field of performance coaching.

    The book is profoundly original in its examples and advice, all of which is a clear manifestation of the rare combination of the skills of Coaching, Counselling, NLP and Psychotherapy, which the author has got in abundance from research and practise.

    So many things commend this book to the discerning reader, the first of which is its adequate structure, a functional content list, which allows the reader to choose from any page in the book as if it stands alone and without a sense of loss for not reading previous pages or chapter.

    Much more significant is the book's idea of -˜tools', structured in bold typeface to remind and summarize the points being made. Particularly useful is the -˜linguistic tips', which no doubt would equip the reader's repertoire of questioning skills.

    Coaches who desire to have a successful practice would benefit immensely from the chapter devoted to possible problem areas in a coaching relationship, such as the issue of sexual attraction and psychological projection between coach and coachee.

    Performance Coaching is completely readable. It is written in short storytelling format in which the author recounts coaching scenarios.
  11. Angus McLeod's new book - Performance Coaching - is subtitled “The Handbook for Managers, HR Professionals and Coaches” and sets itself the purpose of providing these three audiences with information and guidance on coaching that is relevant to their diverse needs and perspectives. To do so, the author draws widely on both his own “casebook” of coaching interventions in business and also his familiarity with a range of change techniques linked by a common ethos: that the power for change lies with the coachee and that the coach's role is to elicit - rather than to own or direct - the coachee's resources and decisions around that change.

    This simple message permeates the text of this book and the reader is left in no doubt about the author's passion for coaching as a principled instrument for change - and equally about his desire to distinguish coaching from problem-solving approaches such as mentoring, consulting, and from the various forms of counseling and therapy, whilst acknowledging some common threads and techniques. This book does the coaching profession a great service by emphasising these points, both explicitly and also through numerous examples and case studies.

    Indeed, Part I of the book takes us through these distinctions and lays out clearly what characterises coaching, including what the author lists as the “Principal Instruments of the Coach” - silence, questions, and challenge.

    The core of the book is in Parts 2 and 3, where the reader is taken first through a number of examples of coachees' issues that typically come up in performance coaching, such as influencing, inner conflicts, “stuckness” and work-life balance . With each such issue, the author takes us through one or more actual scenarios with relevant extracts from the coaching interactions that took place. Coaching concepts and techniques used in each example are straightforwardly introduced and explained, along with some real nuggets of gold in the form of Linguistic Tips which powerfully illustrate how particular forms of words (as questions, observations, requests, etc) can be used by the coach to trigger change.

    At various points, this reviewer would have welcomed a little more explanation or detail on some of the approaches and techniques (or a mention of alternative ways to approach the particular issue) but that is from a position of limited experience in the field; however, others may find there is more than enough detail to keep them happy, and there are numerous references to follow up if required.

    This same structure of topic, example, etc is continued in Part 3. The distinction between Parts 2 and 3 was not very clear to this reviewer, as the coachees' issues seem to act as clearer reference points than the underlying themes. Part 2 claims to focus on New Skills (for coachees) and Part 3 on Drivers for Change, but the examples in both sections typically bring out the drivers, the issues, and the skills and insights required to resolve them, as well as effective approaches and techniques the coach can use to enable the desired change.

    Part 4 looks at the practice and management of coaching and its application in organisations, and will provide coaches, HR managers and other executives with much practical guidance on using coaching effectively and ethically in the organisational context. Part 5 is a deliberately selective review of some approaches and models that can be used to underpin coaching interactions, including Clean Language, Symbolic Modeling, Provocative Therapy and Shelle Rose Charvet's use of conversational patterns. (NB A number of elements from the NLP canon, such as Dilts' Logical levels and Time Lines, are pragmatically and appropriately introduced at various points in the book - but always in the service of the coaching relationship, not as its master).

    This is followed by sections on:

    • ways for coaches to develop their professional skills and competence

    • other relevant skills, techniques and approaches not covered within the scenarios in Parts 2 and 3

    • a section on the pitfalls of coaching, some of which will be familiar to practitioners in other fields like counseling and therapy (eg projection and transference)

    • a brief piece on the author's experience of mentoring (including an e-mentoring service), and a useful and informative set of appendices, indexes and a glossary

    So, does the book live up to its first sub-title of “The Handbook for Managers, HR Professionals and Coaches”? If readers pick this up in search of an encyclopaedic tome covering everything to do with coaching, or a step-by-step manual on “the” coaching process, they are likely to be disappointed. The author's approach of illuminating effective coaching through actual examples is derived, appropriately, from a broad sweep of coachee's issues rather than from some taxonomy of coaching methods and the more information-packed sections are wisely and usefully selective. That selectivity and the choice of topics within a section sometimes appears more idiosyncratic than logical or systematic, but is in keeping with the style of the book as a whole. In fact, Performance Coaching comes across as the author's personal but very inclusive take on coaching, backed by considerable knowledge and experience, rather than an attempt to “cover the field”.

    By contrast, if readers - be they managers, HR professional, coaches or others - are happy to dip into a treasure trove of practical experiences, ideas and explanations, they will find much to inspire, to inform and to guide them. This is more a resource book than a manual, but no less welcome and useful for that. The author himself describes it as a book “designed to be picked up and read from any page” (rather than an end-to-end read), and this is probably the best way to use the material available - look for specific points of interest or browse until something of interest meets the eye.

    One other aspect of this book stands out. It honours another cornerstone of good coaching practice by offering its rich content in a spirit of humility and respect for the reader, in effect saying “this is what I find useful and effective; it may be of interest and use to you also”, but without the shoulds, oughts and musts that typify “expert guidance” in handbooks in many fields. Understanding this mindset on the part of the author - one of a generous sharing of experience, information and good practice - is the key to getting the best out of this book. If the reader looks for a blueprint or an agenda to follow, he or she will not find it (except for a broad steer on what is true to the spirit of coaching).

    The author has, in that context, achieved the near-impossible - writing a book that demonstrates the potential of coaching as an effective and ethical instrument for change and gives a flavour of its depth, richness and subtlety, but is nevertheless accessible, comprehensible and usable for pro and novice alike. This title deserves to sit - hopefully well-thumbed - alongside the very limited number of internationally respected books on coaching.

    As for the book's second sub-title - “The Only Book on Coaching You Will Ever Need””“"well, readers will have to decide that for themselves.
  12. I am not a fan of NLP, so I approached this book as “yet another about NLP approaches to coaching” and with a certain trepidation. No doubt a skilled NLP coach could have done something about my state: anchoring different emotional states, challenging limiting beliefs, and so on. Not surprisingly, in this book Angus McLoed outlines and demonstrates these techniques and others in the standard panoply of NLP. What endeared me to this work in preference to the others that I have read from the same stable are three things.

    Firstly, the author displays convincingly that he has been there and done it. The book has rather full descriptions of coaching conversations that he has participated in, so the reader gains a clear impression of the use of the technique as it is experienced by the coachee.

    Secondly, he organises much of the book around the issues as seen by the coachee, rather than the more frequent and less helpful practice of organising round a series of coach interventions. So, he talks about communication, interpersonal conflict, stuck in a corner, influencing and so on. Then within these client issues he weaves in the techniques and models that he uses, triggered by a phrase he employs in the reported dialogue, that is then expanded upon as a -˜linguistic tip'.

    Thirdly, he is critically aware of the limitations of the techniques he is describing - not just limitations of practice but limitations of principal as well.

    An example of this third point is his note on eye cues (p177). I find this one of the most implausible, exasperating and manipulative models employed by NLP practitioners. McLeod acknowledges this and says, -˜...the statistics for eyecues, even for skilled practitioners, do not provide a great deal of confidence.' Later, in the same piece he describes eye cues as, -˜.....a technique that is seen by many as intrusive and manipulative'. You can't ask for more candid disclaimers than that!

    There are other aspects of this book that I particularly valued. One was the wise observation the author makes about finding purpose, using journeying into the future (pp131-5). Another was the visualisation model exploring desire, belief and acceptance (pp140-1). A third was the STEPPA model (pp189-92), which offers a fuller alternative to GROW. STEPPA stands for Subject; Target objective; Emotional context to subject and target; Perception and target re-evaluation; Plan; Pace; Adapt or Act. He also has some interesting things to say about what he calls -˜Context-free questioning'. which is similar to the process called -˜Goal-free coaching', which David Clutterbuck and I use. He neatly illustrates how long questions can import the coach's own agenda into coaching, in a fundamentally unhelpful way (pp220-3). Finally there are several helpful Appendices offering guidance for setting up -e-mentoring schemes and processes.

    In all, this is a book of wisdom and experience, informed (but not dominated) by a deep and thoughtful understanding of NLP frameworks and practices.
  13. I did wonder how Performance Coaching could add anything to all the other coaching books I've read recently But the book's innovative and refreshing approach intersperses interesting and thought provoking case studies with useful tips and techniques.

    One case which stands out involves Jon, an executive in an IT business. The coaching issue centres on whether he should go for promotion or not and the case details a coaching discussion between Jon and Angus. Summary boxes contain questioning techniques and observations regarding Jon and the coaching process.

    A chapter on coaching contract and practice considers the advantages and disadvantages of internal versus external coaches. McLeod is quick to point out that external coaches provide objectivity and focus exclusively on coaching. They bring knowledge and experience from outside the organisation together with different methods and approaches. However, internal coaches by contrast may lack objectivity and offer mentoring rather than a true coaching service. McLeod argues that coaching has to be -˜sold' internally and seen as an investment and that if coaching is to be effective, coachees must be prepared. They must know in advance the number and length of sessions and their timing and purpose. This helps to reduce stress, making the sessions more effective.

    Reading Performance Coaching also encourages self-coaching, which is all about questioning and challenging oneself, having a sense of openness and understanding one's own resistances to change. Performance Coaching achieves exactly what its title states - it provides a handbook for managers, HR professionals and coaches. For those who are inexperienced and new to coaching, it provides an understandable and comprehensive introduction. And for those who have some experience of coaching, it details some new techniques.
  14. I really like this book. It's written by an intelligent, well-researched individual who clearly values a practical approach. For anyone who wants to blend NLP skills with personal coaching, it's a fabulous read
  15. A practical book with wonderful tips, ideas and perspectives. Angus McLeod's experience oozes out of every page. Ideal for newly qualified coaches serious about their profession.
  16. As the field of Coaching continues to discover the extensive skill-based models of NLP, Performance Coaching by McLeod will become one of the foundational books. This how-to manual provides an excellent use of NLP models and skills for coaching. I like it also because it is further enhanced by integrating much of Gallwey's Inner Game approach.
  17. I recall many years ago holding a discussion with a colleague that a young trainee working for the department required some further development in their role.

    Preparing some notes to help the young trainee, I found myself automatically going into training mode. The difference between the approach of training and coaching is not something we always appreciate.

    However Angus McLeods excellent book on Performance Coaching provides a superb insight into the skills we require to become an effective coach.

    The approach to the subject makes the book very interesting reading for managers or anybody requiring developing their coaching skills. The author allows us to fully explore the whole array of coaching ideas starting from the basics of definition to the approach of “e mentoring”.

    A particularly useful aspect of Angus's book is the effective use of “Linguistic Tips” strategically highlighted through the book. I found examples such as “positive intention” an interesting issue to stop and consider the impact this issue can have on achieving good coaching skills.

    Performance Coaching is one of the significant books in its field exploring the subject in a practical and informative way. The basics of coaching issues, effecting change, coaching practice, developmental models. Coaching tools, pitfalls and the use of modern technology allows the reader to gain a wealth of knowledge in the subject.

    A specific interesting point is that Performance Coaching has many conversations recorded throughout the book that have taken place between Angus and others. These serve to provide excellent examples of effective coaching skills while at the same time holding the readers interest.

    Angus's own coaching model of “STEPPA” offers us with an interesting new approach to coaching. He helps us use this acronym to explore the effective use of clarifying the subject, setting target objectives, considering the emotional context to the subject, evaluate the perception, planning, checking the coaching pace and understanding and how to adjust when required.

    After reading Performance Coaching I felt that the author had certainly increased my skills and understanding in being an effective coach. The book certainly accomplishes its goals in an interesting and informative way.

    Compared with other books of the subject matter I certainly found that Angus has achieved a superb book with practical and informative examples, which matches some of the best books I have read on the subject.

    Overall Performance Coaching is an ideal book for managers, or indeed anyone looking to develop their coaching skills.
  18. This comprehensive and practical book should help HR professionals decide whether to establish a coaching or mentoring function, either in-house or outsourced, or to use support strategies.

    The book is structured to be easily accessible to all types of managers, whether they are a novice trainer attempting to get to grips with coaching skills, or a more experienced teacher wanting to widen their knowledge and refresh their capabilities.
  19. Angus McLeod's Performance Coaching. is a joy to read because of his easy style and because his numerous examples and case studies bring coaching alive. My partner, who is a coach, picked up the book and dipped in. A little later, with a potential client on the phone, she was able to use what she had read immediately, and “it worked”!

    Coaching aims to enhance what is already working, rather than dealing therapeutically with what is wrong. The challenge the coach faces is summed up in: “The coach is invariably ” helping the coachee transfer competencies from one context of their experience to another” (p. 244). The assumption is that the coachee has within them all the resources they need, but has them contextualised in such a way that they are not currently available. Finding these resources is what coaching is all about, because once realised, the coachee knows what to do and will be able to take the next step.

    Angus has created an eclectic model of coaching, based on his experience of coaching and mentoring, counseling and NLP. And as with many NLP, therapy and coaching books, there are several paradigms evinced, but no underpinning theoretical model. No matter. There is so much that is important to know, including how to organise a coaching practice, as well as what to say (or not say) to the coachee. In Chapter 8, Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them, I was pleased to find a mention of Transference and Countertransference ” terms borrowed from the psychoanalytic tradition. This topic is rarely found in NLP and Coaching books, but an understanding is essential for good practice. The psychoanalyst, Michael Kahn (1997: 6), says that Freud noticed that “patients transfer to the therapist their attitudes, feelings, fears, and wishes from long ago,” and that Freud came to see “the transference as the therapist's central opportunity and the fulcrum of therapeutic leverage.” Countertransference “was Freud's term for the unconscious feelings that the patient stirred in the analyst.” NLP avoids transference and counter-transference as far as possible by engaging in brief therapy (but not so brief that transference does not occur!), working content free, not requiring case histories, and so on. Although coaching is not primarily concerned with this relationship, transference and countertransference happen regardless of your expertise or knowledge. Calling yourself a coach does not confer “immunity.' Therefore you need to notice when the social aspects of the relationship cross the boundaries and then intervene.

    McLeod advocates eliminating the NLP habit of “body matching.' Rapport need only be just enough to maintain an effective but “neutral' role. “Neutrality is the ability to maintain good attention and support the coachee without mimicry or copying of posture or expression” (p. 172). Angus wisely advises the coach to avoid the mindreading of interpreting NLP eye-accessing cues (because in most cases they do not provide useful clues to intervention): “eye cues are usually very annoying to coachees and can put them on their guard. The emphasis on eye cues has done NLP and its coaches a disservice by highlighting a technique that is seen by many as being intrusive and manipulative” (p. 177).

    This is an eminently practical book, rather than providing a deep theoretical model of coaching. It is not the “ultimate guide to coaching', because no book will ever be that. Coaching itself can be coached into becoming even better ” there is always room for improvement. Angus offers clues to what else needs to be sorted out, both in coaching and NLP. For example, on page 43 he uses the word “hope' when talking about Future Desired States (the PS in NLP) and this suggests “more work needed here.” Angus's book provides a clear statement of where coaching is now. And because you need to be this competent in order to go further, I recommend this book to all coaches and NLP Practitioners.


    • Michael Kahn (1997) Between Therapist and Client: The New Relationship. Revised Edition, New York, W H Freeman.

  20. The world is experiencing a massive growth in the acceptance and importance of coaching. Angus McLeod's book is brilliant and a must-read for all who have the responsibility of leading or managing other people.
  21. NLP enables us to develop the crucial behaviours, techniques (verbal and non-verbal), and mindsets that deliver excellence in communication and influencing. NLP can, therefore, be invaluable in business and in coaching because it helps us, and those we interact with, to achieve clear goals. Angus McLeod's book effortlessly applies a range of NLP, and other, techniques to business coaching. Easy to read and full of examples, this book is essential reading for all coaches. I also recommend it for those interested in the applications of NLP to management since it explains and illustrates many NLP tools extremely well. Indeed, I have never seen techniques such as anchoring, submodalities and logical levels better explained in a business context. Personally I would have liked more on the meta-model, and on the presuppositions of NLP, but this is a minor point. Overall this book is excellent and highly recommended for business coaches and managers alike.
  22. The coach is not the player; but an instrument, in service to the art of the coachee. So says Angus McLeod in his new handbook Performance Coaching. It may be a poetic way of framing it but it is true. Coaches aren't there to proffer advice but, rather; they should encourage coachees to explore their frame of reference; to help them find the motivation they need and, with luck, to inspire them to whatever they define as success.

    McLeod suggests that there are three principal instruments which the coach can draw on:

    1. Silence. When a coachee makes a discovery, this breakthrough is wholly internal. Even if the coach is speaking, the contribution he makes to the realisation is insignificant. Silence enables the coachee to think and feel without being sidetracked. During such times, coachees may be exploring fresh perceptions and letting things fall into place; they may be developing new insights on current circumstances, or understanding, in a new way, the source of their motivation. In this respect the art of the coach is not to know when to be silent but to know when to break the silence.

    2. Questions. There are two main reasons why questions are used in coaching: to unlock more information for both coach and coachee and to help the coachee to explore available realities. Questions help define the boundaries of the coachee's world-view and can also help the coachee to re-evaluate those boundaries and extend what is possible.

    3. Challenge. Challenges can be offered as statements or as questions and can be especially helpful where a coachee is stuck in a pattern of negative thought. Take this example: Coachee: “I am useless at presentations.” Coach: “So, you're the worst presenter on the planet?” Coachee: “I'm not that bad.” Coach: “What are you -˜not that bad' at in presentations?

    In this case the coach has challenged the coachee's self-perception and stimulated a reaction which helps the coachee to reframe her/his perception of her/his abilities.

    Are these three tools enough? Of course not. McLeod is a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and he has a full set of models, techniques and interventions at his disposal. So what you get in this book is a practical mix of coachee issues and coaching insights; coachee behaviours and coaching techniques to deal with them; coachee dialogues and coaching responses. You also get a lot of good stuff on coaching practice and models - including the STEPPPA method which, according to the author; checks that the coaching strategy will be carried out, will be successful and will enhance the coachee's role and life. It comprises:

    • Target objective. This is about ensuring the target is realistic

    • Emotional context to subject and target. This is about ensuring there is an emotional attachment to the subject and target

    • Perception and target re-evaluation. This is all about choices and developing a wider and clearer view of the subject and target

    • Plan. This is a process through which the coachee achieves her/his target

    • Pace. Pacing is about establishing that the target solution has a realistic chance of success

    • Adapt or act. This is about final adjustments and commitment

    • So should you buy this book? If you do so, you will find plenty of good stuff in here. It's primarily aimed at coaches and coaching managers and anyone with an NLP background will find it especially relevant. On the negative side, I found that the structure does not work especially well and I think it needs a different title. This isn't a handbook. It's a practical resource manual and, for this reason alone, it will probably sell well.
  23. Quite simply “the coach's companion”.

    In less than 300 pages this text succinctly walks to every place a coach needs to go. Written in the kind of clean, simple language that you would expect of the best of communicators, McLeod has created the A-Z of coaching practice. He has captured the heart of promoting self-motivation in all its guises, in the principles he describes. He illustrates them with clear examples that both the novice and more experienced coach can easily relate to. Packed full of solutions and tools, from advanced linguistic pattern tips to the nitty gritty of coaching pitfalls, this book is never far from the reality of brokering change. Intense, and compelling, McLeod treats the subject with rigor and pace. An intelligent approach to indexing allows easy access to every part of this compact read, so you can navigate the tips, tools and theoretical models you need without delay.

    Coaching continues to emerge in the UK and its shape and form are still illusive and misunderstood by many. Performance Coaching goes a long way towards giving readers a feel for one of the most powerful skill sets currently available.

    Whilst you may not agree entirely with everything he has to say, you are listening to McLeod as he challenges you, asks questions and very definitely moves you to the next level.

    You cannot help but be an even better coach for reading it. It has to be currently the most accessible and valuable coaching text around.

Write your own review