Book Review: Executive Coaching

I picked up this book by Anna Marie Valerio and Robert Lee on a whim at last May’s SIOP convention. Most of the reading material I pick up at these conferences tends to be dense, technical stuff about employment testing or research methods that actually gets put on a shelf to serve as occasional reference material rather than read cover to cover. So I thought it might be good to try something in an area I have less expertise in and which could be read cover to cover. This book, which looked and smelled like the kind of primer that could be consumed by Human Resources generalists, seemed to fit that bill.

Well, it wasn’t dense, that’s for sure. In fact, the book seemed to be about 80% fluff and could probably be distilled down to a series of bullet points. I’m not sure I’ve ever read anything that was so general, noncommittal, and generic. Sure, all the advertised points are there. Each section looks at a different aspect of the executive coaching realm, from why to do coaching in the first place to the various roles and responsibilities of the coach, the HR person, and the executive. It all just struck me as pretty obvious. There’s some tools, sample meeting agendas, and that kind of thing in the back that I may refer back to if I ever need to, but otherwise, eh…

I guess I may not be the target audience for this book, but what I’d really like to have seen is some more hard details about the benefits of coaching (beyond fictitious case studies) backed up by research. More specifics about the assessment tools (they basically say “Yeah, there’s tools and you should use them”) and more details in general. It all just felt too fluffy.

Published by