Author:Carr, Rey
Position:Book review

PRESENCE-BASED COACHING, by Doug Silsbee, Book, 2008, Jossey-Bass Inc.

Rating: ****

At the outset I have to state that I'm not sure if I can be as objective in writing a review of Doug Silsbee's book, Presence-Based Coaching: Cultivating Self-Generative Leaders Through Mind, Body, and Heart, as I have been on other reviews I've done for Training Media Review.

I've known Doug Silsbee for many years. He's been a dedicated member of and active contributor to my own organization, The Peer Resources Network. I've seen dozens of rave reviews of his coach training retreats; I've known many coaches who highly value what they've learned from him; and my own interactions with him have always been productive and enlightening.

I also read and greatly admired his first book, The Mindful Coach: Seven Roles for Helping People Grow and have recommended it many times as one of the best guides for learning how to be an effective coach.

The coaching world has grown considerably since I first became acquainted with Doug's work. There are now dozens of coaching associations; more than 450 coach training organizations; and an estimated 80,000 coaches practicing worldwide. To some degree I can tell that he has played a significant role in enlarging that world. From the person who wrote the foreword in his current book to the 20 testimonials that accompany the book, Doug is connected to and has had an influence on a veritable "who's who" in the coaching arena.

While beginning coaches could benefit from this book, it is mostly addresses both coaches and leaders who want to deepen their understanding of themselves and fully develop what Doug calls "presence."

The majority of the book is dedicated towards helping readers look inside themselves. Doug teaches the reader to "cultivate and discover" the role of heart, mind, and body "in generating our capacity to learn and develop."

Presence, he believes, "is central to our capacity to be self-generative," and, "in fact, our ability to facilitate lasting, sustainable development in others absolutely rests on the presence that we offer to the relationship."

The foundation for Doug's book, and a statement that can be treated like an axiom in the helping professions, is we must first work on our inner selves before we can hope to deliver "what coaching often promises."

The principles that Doug is referring to that are essential for developing presence have long been the practices that have made a significant difference in...

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