I read journals, professional membership magazines and bulletins, online articles on coaching and topic related subjects, etc. You get the idea. I'm a practitioner. It's important to me. But I read anyway. I've learned how to learn and reading's a life long habit. Anyone who has a smart phone or tablet probably reads more that they realise. It's a reminder again that formal and informal learning and more recently, 70-20-10, are part of the 21st century organisation's learning and development strategy for 2018 onward.
I think everyone should have reading time at work and it shouldn't be a "nice to have". And it doesn't have to be books, but they are just as valuable and shouldn't be left out just because there is a good online learning tool available.
As a coach, trainer and mentor I read widely. It's part of my professional development, of course, but everyone who spends time travelling on trains and planes will appreciate that it's a good use of time besides using public transport "dead time" as a chance to do work. Professional development is work.
My recent reading of books (yes whole books) includes "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott, "The Happiness Equation" by the very accessible and likable Neil Pasricha (I liked his TED talk), and "The Psychopath Test" from Jon Ronson. I have read my fair share of books about coaching and mentoring but learning in the wider sense is key for personal interest and professional enhancement.
When I deliver training workshops I always make sure that further help and resources, pathways and learning links are provided to learners. This includes links to the employer's online and digital learning, films, Apps, articles and ALWAYS some useful books.
I do my fair share of mentor and coach training and sometimes get asked what books to read for these professions. If you saw my office there's a whole (large) book shelf devoted to mentoring and coaching. Here are two books from my shelf I liked reading and found useful as a practitioner. They are both by coaches.
- Coaching Skills by Jenny Rogers. This is one of the very first coaching books I bought and read avidly when I started out nine years ago. It's an all round practical and helpful handbook that focuses on the essential skills for becoming a coach. It's a very accessible read and applies to any type of coaching from leadership/executive to life coaching.
- Effective Coaching: lessons for the coach's coach by Myles Downey. Personally I think this is a good read for mentors too and again, it is practical. He addresses the issues around proposing and giving advice from his "Pull/Push" model, which is something we use for the SFEDI Awards enterprise mentor training I deliver nationally. I like Downey's writing because I use the non directive approach he has tested and developed. He describes what coaching is and puts the right boundaries around it. He proclaims "coaching is important". Always a good hook!
If you're stuck what to buy someone this holiday season and they are just starting out as a coach then consider buying them a good coaching book. Set them on the road to good practitioner practice - reading books!