In my coaching practice, I use a variety of techniques gathered from many resources. Here are a few of my favorites.
Lead Inside the Box by Victor Prince and Mike Figliuolo
I’m a huge fan of Mike Figliuolo and all his books. His second book — Look Inside The Box — has become a foundational tool in my executive coaching practice. As leaders, it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of an overscheduled life. By stepping back and reflecting where your time is spent, the most important items are often at the bottom of our to-do list.
The book provides a framework where leaders gain the confidence to take action. It works for even the most difficult conversations with low performers. And it’s instrumental in motivating and engaging your high performers. A must read.
A deceptively simple (pun intended) concept that has far-reaching implications. Leadership and Self-Deception teaches us “the deep choice that determines influence.” Through story form, The Arbinger Institute illustrates how behaviors are not the key to success. Rather, it shows us when we operate outside of the box — seeing others as people not objects — then we authentically connect with others to achieve results together. My clients have found that getting out of the box applies to their professional and personal relationships, with astounding results.
The Body Has a Mind of Its Own by Matthew Blakeslee by Sandra Blakeslee
This book is one of my favorite sources in my somatic coaching work. Two science writers, Sandra and Mathew Blakeslee, write about the “embodied brain.” Through a fascinating series of examples, they skillfully present the “emerging scientific answer to the old age mystery of how mind and body intertwine to create your embodied or “feeling self”. Ever wonder why someone might “make your skin crawl?” It’s more than a metaphor as it’s a real physical response with science to back it up.
The Power of Full Engagement by Tony Schwartz, Jim Loehr
The Power of Full Engagement disputes the fundamentals of most time management gurus who primarily speak to increasing productivity with a maniacal focus on each daily minute. Instead, authors Jim Loeher and Tony Schwartz assert that managing our energy is far more important than tracking every moment of the day. This might be heresy to many Outlook aficionados, but Jim and Tony deliver many compelling examples why the need to manage our energy is even more important and the key to high performance and personal renewal. In my practice, I’ve found that the principles outlined in their book, are vital in uncovering what keeps us as individuals engaged and focused so we can do our best work.
Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys To Transforming the Way We Work and Live by Jean Gomes, Catherine McCarthy, Tony Schwartz
Building upon the foundation brilliantly laid out in The Power of Full Engagement, co-author Tony Schwartz further explores the how-to’s of managing your energy rather than time to, well… Be Excellent At Anything. How we work (both as individuals and in organizations) is based upon a relentless urgency that undermines thoughtful deliberations, creativity, engagement, and sustainable high performance. We are physical, mental, emotional and spiritual beings, and Be Excellent at Everything speaks to each. For my high-performing clients who are on the path of burn-out, this book is a must-read.
Ultimate Fitness: The Quest for Truth about Health and Exercise by Gina Kolata
Gina Kolata is a science reporter for the New York Times and wrote this fascinating book about the world of fitness. She gives a great overview and history of the fitness industry and then proceeds to answer a number of common questions about fitness and commonly accepted exercise prescriptions. Gina does great interviews with doctors, nutritionists, researchers and exercise gurus to uncover what’s fact and fiction around topics such as maximum heart rate, fat burning zones, nutritional supplements and much more. Highly entertaining and informative.
Don’t Eat This Book: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America by Morgan Spurlock
This offshoot of Spurlock’s Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me serves both as a substitute for and addition to the movie. Spurlock spent a month not exercising and eating nothing but food from McDonald’s, filming his declining health and ballooning size. It was a terrific premise for a movie; the book provides even more of its backstory and outtakes. Spurlock describes America’s obesity epidemic, its relation to the fast food industry, the industry’s cozy relations to U.S. government agencies and how the problem is spreading worldwide. He details the long-term and often fatal (albeit well-known) health hazards of the high-fat, high-sugar, factory-farmed fast food diet combined with the sedentary lifestyle.
Picture Perfect Weight Loss by Dr. Howard M. Shapiro
This a very straightforward and highly informative book on simple changes you can make in your diet to reduce calorie consumption and lose weight. Topics include a brief overview on where calories come from and why fad diets are not nutritionally sound and don’t work. Dr. Shapiro uses a number of different eating profiles to help readers understand how they approach food consumption. The real standout of this book are the beautiful pictures of food which are used to illustrate the comparative caloric values of foods we all love to eat. You will be amazed when you see the comparisons and how simple changes make huge difference.
Taming Your Gremlin by Rick Carson
This classic introduces a powerful method for gaining freedom from self-defeating behaviors and beliefs. Rick Carson, creator of the renowned Gremlin-Taming™ Method, has revised the book to include fresh interactive activities, real-life vignettes we can all identify with, and new loathsome gremlins ripe for taming. Carson blends his laid-back style, Taoist wisdom, the Zen Theory of Change, and sound psychology in an easy-to-understand, unique, and practical system for banishing the nemesis within.
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky
Combining cutting-edge research with a healthy dose of good humor and practical advice, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers explains how prolonged stress causes or intensifies a range of physical and mental afflictions, including depression, ulcers, colitis, heart disease, and more. It also provides essential guidance to controlling our stress responses. The book hits on common issues like pain, memory, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman
In his user-friendly road map for human emotion, Seligman proposes ratcheting the field of psychology to a new level. The time has finally arrived for a science that seeks to understand positive emotion, build strength and virtue, and provide guideposts for finding what Aristotle called the `good life,’ ” writes Seligman. He outlines a path toward Authentic Happiness in three parts: positive emotion, strength and virtue and in the mansions of life. Seligman also touches upon signature strengths. This book is a nice complement to my client work using assessments such as Emotional Intelligence, Tilt365 and Kolbe.
To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink
We are all in sales, whether we think so or not. We’re selling our ideas, our point of view. The truth is we all need influencing skills. Pink debunks 40+ year of “sales research” while boiling down the traits and techniques that effective influencers embody. Whether you’re an executive or up-and-comer, this book provides great insight on how to be more effective in advocating our ideas and influencing others. With technological advancements, the sales landscape has irrevocably changed. Pink explores how the power has shifted from sellers to buyers, and how to navigate this new world.
The Conative Connection : Acting on Instinct by Kathy Kolbe
Kathy Kolbe has developed a method by which she is able to identify and categorize the conative (action) elements of individuals. Called the Kolbe Conative Index, it provides “. . . a new way of focusing creative energy, of dealing with change, and of predicting performance – of actually quantifying the probability of achievement in any particular endeavor.”
The Kolbe assessment is particularly powerful; it helps individuals identify and embrace their natural tendencies. By understanding what moves an individual into action, you can channel that momentum, achieving success by optimizing your creative instincts.
Getting Naked: A Business Fable by Patrick Lencioni
A must-read for marketing consultants or sales professional. In typical Lencioni style, he teaches important lessons on how to shed three fears that sabotage client loyalty. If you shy away from difficult conversations or worry about losing the business, the author lays out concepts to address real-world situations.