What Do You Really, Really Want?


If you want to experience and understand coaching this is a great book! Through the context of a story, Kevin Stebbings beautifully gives you insight into how coaching works, weaving through the text the principles and transformative benefits of coaching.

The story follows two people in different parts of the world and how they work with a coach to bring about personal and professional growth and change. You follow their journey, as if eaves-dropping on their coaching conversation over 6 sessions each. Through powerful and insightful questions, the coach draws out deeper awareness, and challenges his two clients towards their goals and desired change.

Kevin outlines the process and framework of coaching throughout the story narrative. While it feels like you are reading a novel, you gain insight into how coaching works and the benefits for the client. It’s much more enjoyable than reading a book on the theory of coaching!

Do add this to your reading list if you are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of coaching. Or if you are a coach seeking to grow in your coaching expertise, you too will learn much from Kevin’s writing and experience.


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Maya Angelou

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whos face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

The Checklist Manifesto

If creating efficiencies, improving work systems and reducing significant errors is part of your job, or the way you think, this book is for you!  It is a fascinating read, well written and full of practical and interesting stories.

Atul Gawande, who is a surgeon, uses examples from medicine, finance, construction and aviation to build a strong case for the importance of short, helpful checklists to standardize operations and eliminate crucial errors that can have life and death consequences.

Eat that Frog!

Reading this book will save you reading any other time management book!  For solid and practical ways to make better use of your time, Brian Tracy's 108 page book 'Eat that Frog!' is easy to read and a great summary of key time and life management principles.  It includes helpful tips on the wise use of technology too.

The key principle of the book is the ability to concentrate on the most important task, to do it well and finish it completely.  How does the frog come into this?    To quote Brian, "Your frog is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it.  It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment".

The rest of the book contains 21 short and practical chapters on how to achieve this.

Deep Work

Cal Newport's book, 'Deep Work' is another to add to your 'must read' list.  Our addiction to distraction, constant availability and 24/7 connectivity from internet tools is significantly affecting our ability to concentrate and focus.   Newport argues that "the ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy".  It is deep work that optimizes our learning and performance -  distraction destroys depth!

Time to Think

Time to Think by Nancy Kline is on my 'must read' book list for leaders.  These profound but practical philosophies around listening well and raising the level of thinking for your team will be a game changer in the way you lead.  A few quotes to wet your appetite...

"The quality of a person's attention determines the quality of other people's thinking."

"We were fascinated to discover that when someone in your presence is trying to think, much of what you are hearing or seeing is your effect on them."

"Create a particular environment and people will think for themselves.  It is that simple."

"The quality of our attention and of the incisive questions we ask can become just the way life is."