Coaching on the Go – How to lead your team effectively in 10 minutes

Coaching on the Go – How to lead your team effectively in 10 minutes

Author: Phil Renshaw & Jenny Robinson
Review by: Derek Draper

I jumped at the chance to review this book because it touches on one of my great beliefs – that making an impact with someone needn’t take a long time. You don’t always need to have dinner, meet for an hour, or even the typical 1:1 slot of 30 mins. A lot can be achieved in a much shorter time. Shorter than 10 minutes actually, a brief 3-minute conversation between boss and team member at the doors of the lift can sometimes make a real difference, not just to how someone’s feeling but how a project is going.

But 10 minutes is a good “rule of thumb” for these “shorter” interactions, and such a time can be scheduled without looking too silly. Mariissa Meyer, CEO at Yahoo, for example, schedules a couple of hours at a time, broken into 10 minute slots, to enable her to offer face time to a large number of people. The meetings take place standing up. Both such scheduled and the more common impromptu or “on the go” conversations feature in this book. Either can work really well.

I am so convinced that we can make an impact in 10 minutes that when I stated typing this I set the timer on my phone. So, as we countdown to 0 (with nearly 2 minutes already gone) what is there to say about this book?

First, “Coaching on the Go” is more than it says on the tin. Yes, there are numerous tips and tools to get the most out of a 10-minute coaching conversation but the book includes all of the basics about coaching per se. Ethics, boundaries, listening, feeding back, TA, it’s all in there, and much more. I suspect that the authors have downloaded all they have learnt in their careers (in management roles and then as coaches), and then cleverly fitted that into their basic structure. There’s some great models, activities and approaches that you can draw on – as well as some useful “further resources” on each area. So don’t hesitate to buy this as your coaching primer, and enjoy the “short burst” coaching content as the icing on the cake.

Second, it’s incredibly accessible and practical. It is jam packed with credible, true-to-life scenarios and case studies. These bring the material to life in a compelling way. The main spine of the book is an airline crew struggling with various issues and problems. As you read through it, you really get to know these characters. Its almost like a mini-play within a business book. It is true to say that it’s a metaphor that will appeal to some more than others but its lessons are widely applicable. You’ll definitely recognize some of the personalities you deal with at work.

Lastly, as you go on this journey through the skies you will no doubt end up reflecting on your own development. One or two of the stories don’t just “ring true” they’ll specifically ring true for you. I found myself challenged by the excellent section on “Building rapport on the Go”, I thought I was good at that but this two page overview made me realise I could be a lot better, especially around micro-facial expressions, which I don’t think I always look out for as carefully as I should.

So, as my phone display shows I’ve only got 30 seconds of my 10 minutes left, I think I’ve illustrated my (and Phil and Jenny’s point). I’ve told you quite a lot in 10 minutes, you now understand the key things you need to know about this book and why I think it’s worth reading. I could have written for longer, and told you a lot more in the process, but did I have to? I’ve told you enough in just 10 minutes. Case proven.

Derek Draper – Chief Executive of CDP Leadership Consultants