Designing Supportive Environments

Review by James R. Brady,

IRIS – International Research and Inquiry Services

The Coaching
Starter Kit:Everything You Need to Know to Launch and Expand
Your Coaching Practice (W.W.
Norton and Company, 2003) Paperback, 348 pages, $40.00

This is a very practical collection of over 140 general guidelines,
forms, or lists of suggestions for designing and managing
a successful coaching practice. The material is provided by
the late Thomas Leonard and other members of the CoachVille
community. ( The book is broken
down into 1-3 page sections which are formatted for photocopying
and use as client handouts or as checklists for the Coach.
The Kit targets those who are adding coaching to a health
therapy practice, building a coaching practice from scratch,
or fine-tuning an ongoing coaching practice. While the last
part of the kit (Chapters 9-11) concentrates on providing
success advice to the client, many of the materials can also
be of benefit to the coach in planning and reviewing their
own progress. The Kit includes many useful tips on the substantive
aspects of coaching, but it does not claim to be a professional
manual on content or to conform to the rules of various professional
or certification organizations (such as the American Psychological
Association). Readers with questions on licensure or ethical
codes are thus asked to: “…contact the appropriate
professional organizations, including the International Association
of Coaches (IAC).” (Page xv) To sum up, The Coaching
Starter Kit should be a cost-effective investment for any
coach desiring to continuously review and upgrade their practice.

A caveat on
copyrights: While much of the Kit is obviously designed for
reproduction and use of the suggestion lists and forms by
coaches and their clients, the copyright page contains the
following statement: ”For information about permission
to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions,
W. W. Norton and Company, Inc. 500 Fifth Avenue, New York,
NY 10110”.


Part I
“Coaching Practice Design 101” (Chapters 1-3)
discusses basic coaching principles and reasons for becoming
a coach, outlines how to start a successful coaching practice,
and provides tips and forms for conducting the first session
with a client. One section lists “100 Key Points”
to help the coach prepare a presentation, brochure or article
on coaching. A one-page quiz (page 17) asks “Should
You Be a Coach?” and readers can rate themselves on
15 statements to help them decide if coaching is really the
right profession for them.

Part II
“Coaching Maintenance” (Chapters 4-6) focuses
on providing effective services to the client, establishing
a cost-effective practice, and finding the right market niche.
Formats or forms are provided for preparing business plans
(one-year and five year) and budgets. Checklists are included
for coaches interested in using the Internet to offer TeleClasses
or start a virtual university.

Part III
“Marketing Your Practice” (Chapters 7-8) provides
more specifics on preparing and using materials to publicize
or advertise your coaching practice through various media
(including the Internet). Checklists and forms are also provided
for the effective management of conferences, workshops, or
trade fair events. The Kit includes five basic suggestions
for organizing an effective website and a detailed checklist
on using the website to regularly broadcast e-news or e-Tips.

Part IV
“For Your Client” (Chapters 9-11) includes
numerous worksheets and forms for use by the client in assessing:
(1) why they are seeking coaching help, (2) what goals they
wish to achieve, and (3) how well they are progressing throughout
the coaching relationship. Topics covered include how to (1)
assess personal needs and set improvement goals, (2) prepare
for coaching, (3) follow-up on agreements made in sessions,
and (4) regularly evaluate specific progress being made in
the coaching relationship.

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