The intended primary audience of this book are leaders, managers and supervisors. Its aim is to keep coaching simple and structured by following a five-step framework for delivering a coaching session. It is well put together and clearly written, with useful visual symbols indicating points for a -˜pause for thought' - a learning opportunity for the coach on the issues it is discussing, The structure is logical and clearly structured, with case studies and examples of the approaches it describes. It explains that the tools and techniques it offers can be adopted as a sole coaching method or as an -˜add on' to existing skill sets.
A strong element of the book is the use of future-focused language when questioning clients in terms of what it will be like for them once their goal has been achieved. This could be useful in helping the coachee take ownership of his/her progress towards a resourceful outcome,
The final part of the book provides a full section on dealing with the unexpected and troubleshooting within sessions, which could give confidence to the aspirant coach,
However, there are times when the process comes across as rather robotic, with little emphasis on the client's needs and more importance given to asking the right questions in a timely manner and making sure to follow the suggested structure.
In following the suggested five stages, there is a danger that the coach could become more concerned with being -˜correct' rather than with helping the client move forward in the best way for them, This could dilute the coaching experience and not produce the best result that the book tries so hard to achieve.
It is also true that, within coaching conversations, regardless of content or topics being discussed, there will be a time when the client has an emotional response, In order to provide a supportive space for growth, there needs to be a sense of connection. This will allow rapport to be built and maintained through the coaching interaction, This, and the impact of this on clients, is not adequately covered or acknowledged - a real weakness in the book.
Deliberately not using eye contact, repeating the same questions in such a formulaic way and not engaging in key developmental areas that surface within the session may not be the best way to fully engage the coachee, and may not help build congruency and authenticity within the coaching relationship.
It is true to say that in corporate settings there can be a time pressure with tight deadlines and goals to be achieved, At times, and all too often, there is also inadequate focus on developing motivated team members and ensuring that they feel valued and supported. Simply creating action plans and goals without exploring further with the coachee why they are not achieving what they need may not always help move people forward.
Does the Five-Minute Coach deliver what it has set out to do? In a word, yes, Is this enough in today's marketplace and with clients' ever more complex career paths that are interwoven with negative behavioural patterns and blocks in their own work performance? No.
The main weakness of the book is that people are emotional beings and this has seemingly been overlooked by the black and white, static approach to coaching described here.