The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools: Book Review

Book Review: The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools

The Art of Coaching

The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools: Book Review

How to get your hands on a free copy of this book – see the end of the article

Review of The Art Of Coaching.

Whilst we have been reviewing books for members we have decided to start public reviews of interesting and useful books in the organisational and human development arena.

In this first review we are looking at a recently published book about coaching by Jenny Bird and Sarah Gornall called “The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools”, published by Routledge (229 pages) 

Both the authors are practising coaches and coaching supervisors, as well as being heavily involved in the training of coaches.


Ambitious Book

It is an ambitious book that aims to cover a wide range of practice and tools in a non-formal and accessible way. It deals with the methods and tools most coaches will be familiar with, from the basics of coaching through to useful and practical tools for more experienced coaches.  

The book covers a lot of ground:


  1. Introduction
  2. Coaching
  3. Relationships and Communication
  4. Learning and Personal Growth
  5. Leading, Influencing and Motivating
  6. Analysis Choice and Change
  7. Supervision and Team Facilitation
  8. Developing Creativity 
  9. References and Further Reading


Rather than being a text heavy academic book about coaching, this is firmly aimed at practitioners and is essentially a collection of coaching models, practices and tools for use during coaching sessions. It is not text heavy and comprises a mixture of nicely hand drawn diagrams, illustrations, charts and models that lighten the tone of the book, making it easy to grasp and very user friendly. 


Tools example


The issue with many books that try to cover a wide range of topics and tools is that either they go on forever and become an encyclopaedia or that, in order to contain the size of the book, they end up dealing with the topics in a more superficial manner.


Too superficial?

This leads to the question, is The Art of Coaching too superficial?

Well, that depends. Clearly no book can be everything to everyone.

However as an executive coach myself, I found that this is a very useful and practical guide to the many tools and techniques of coaching. The format for each of the tools is to describe the tool with a brief ‘what it is’ section followed by a section on ‘how we use it’ and then a useful set of tips about how to put the tool into action in a coaching setting.  I have found myself dipping into it to find new ideas for my own coaching sessions.


Not only can I imagine this book being a very useful aide to new and developing coaches, but also to supervisors and experienced coaches. It contains a handy set of references and further reading if you want to delve deeper. It is not an in depth book of coaching theory, but it is a reference that every coach should have around to dip into. The coaches I have shown it to have all found something of use for their practice.


Model example


If I have a criticism, it is that experienced coaches may find some of the book rather basic however that is going to be unavoidable for any book as far as experienced coaches are concerned. However that does not mean that they will not find anything of use. Because the book is essentially a ‘how to’ catalogue of models, tools and techniques it acts as a handy aide memoir and I suspect almost all coaches will find something new and useful in its pages.


Having said that I can really see this book being used in the many corporate coaching courses as a useful aide memoir and practical handbook for new and developing coaches. It will be especially useful for the many schemes that are developing ’the manager as coach’ for example,  where the individuals concerned won’t be employed primarily as a coach.


The Art of Coaching is more like a practical dictionary/encyclopaedia and guide to the theories, tools and methods of coaching. It is well sourced and reference.



Who is it recommend this for?

All coaches, coaching supervisors and anyone in an organisational role that involves elements of coaching and even mentoring will find The Art of Coaching a useful addition to their resource library.

Get the book

Get The Art of Coaching Here

Get a Free Copy of The Art of Coaching

I have a copy of the Art of Coaching to give away. Share this article on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn and then leave your details in the comments section below. (Your email is secure and can’t be read by anyone else) and I will choose a winner on 1st June 2017.



Bird J. & Gornall S. (2016) The Art of Coaching: A Handbook of tips and tools. Routledge: New York


Statement of ethics and transparency. 

The reviewer has no connection either professionally, financially or commercially with the publishers or authors. We have not been paid for this review nor has there been any transaction of any type involved. The book was provided free by the publishers.

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson is the Editor-in-Chief of the Oxford Review. He is also acknowledged to be one of the world's leading experts in dealing with ambiguity and uncertainty and developing emotional resilience. David teaches and conducts research at a number of universities including the University of Oxford, Medical Sciences Division, Cardiff University, Oxford Brookes University School of Business and many more. He has worked with many organisations as a consultant and executive coach including Schroders, where he coaches and runs their leadership and management programmes, Royal Mail, Aimia, Hyundai, The RAF, The Pentagon, the governments of the UK, US, Saudi, Oman and the Yemen for example. In 2010 he developed the world's first and only model and programme for developing emotional resilience across entire populations and organisations which has since become known as the Fear to Flow model which is the subject of his next book. In 2012 he drove a 1973 VW across six countries in Southern Africa whilst collecting money for charity and conducting on the ground charity work including developing emotional literature in children and orphans in Africa and a number of other activities. He is the author of The Ambiguity Advanatage: What great leaders are great at, published by Palgrave Macmillian. See more: About: About David Wikipedia: David's Wikipedia Page

  • it’s been great to see all these comments and we’re delighted that readers are interested in the book. We do advise a paperback copy rather than a kindle as the writing needs to be seen opposite the illustrations 🙂 Do contact either of us as authors if you would like to enter into a conversation with us or get news about our workshops.

  • Walid says:

    I have involved in coaching since the last September. I think this book is really valuable for people like me. Is there anyway to get a free copy while I missed the deadline?

  • Eucharia Chinwe Igbafe says:

    Very educative and adaptable. Thanks David.

  • Heather says:

    The published reviews of this book tell a story of a book that will add a tremendous amount to the coach’s toolbox. Thank you! Shared on FB – hopefully not too late in the day!

  • Marta Gotowicz says:

    Thank you for an insightful review. I was looking for a book on coaching which gives practical tips. I think I have found it. Just shared it on Facebook.

  • Gérard Koch says:

    Mahalo for your sharing your useful revview. I just posted on Twitter.

  • Gareth says:

    Thank you for this insightful review. If I don’t win, its going in my Kindle. Just shared via Twitter (@humaninsystem)

  • Greg David says:

    Just shared via Twitter and Google+. Everyone can be more, become more, achieve more, evolve more when aided by a coach. A coach helps us understand ourselves, our journey, and our evolution better, faster, while allowing us to escape the common pitfalls of those without the guidance of a coach. I always find it interesting that the most successful people I meet have a coaching relationship that helps them become that best version of themselves, and they see the coaching relationship as a necessity, not a luxury. For those who are successful without the aid of a coach, I ponder their achievement had it benefited from a coaching relationship.

  • Thank you for sharing this useful resource with us all! Shared this on LinkedIn

  • Dave Spencer says:

    Thank you. A very useful review that I have shared on Twitter and has persuaded me to buy a copy should I not win a free one!!

  • Alison Dean says:

    Thanks for the review – I will definately be getting a copy and have tweeted it out to the coaches within our organisation.

  • Scott says:

    Nice review, structured similar to the book I suspect. Shared on Twitter

  • Andy Evans says:

    Thanks, enlightening. Shared on Twitter @Aerossurance

  • Carole Tansley says:

    Interesting to see a coaching tools book reviewed. I just shared it on Twitter asking if coaching has fallen out of fashion… it was a trend years ago but now hardly gets a mention and in this age of talent management needs to be revised as an essential organisational development activity.

  • anne-marie says:

    love this article and the diagrams too and I have share it on Facebook

  • Beat says:

    Very useful for “managers as a coach”.

  • Giorgio says:

    Very useful review, I just shared the article on LinkedIn 🙂

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