Coaching has emerged as one of the most significant aids in developing managers and executives in the professional world. Yet there is a degree of dissatisfaction with performance coaching models and a desire to connect more with creativity and the imagination. In Coaching for Professional Development: Using Literature to Support Success, Christine A. Eastman suggests that literary works have a part to play in bringing about a change in coaching culture. Using a series of examples from key literary texts, she argues that literature can help coaches enhance their skills, find solutions to workplace problems, and better articulate their own ideas through innovation and imagination.
Eastman argues for literature as a coaching tool, detailing how using stories of loss, failure, alienation and human suffering in a coaching dialogue bring positive results to organisational coaching. Coaching for Professional Development considers how reading fiction helps us to imagine lives outside our own, and how this sensitivity of language brings out the unconscious within us and others. Eastman discusses how she guided her students to embrace literature as a positive influence on their coaching practice through literary texts. Chapter 1 begins by exploring how reading Melville’s Bartleby the Scrivener allowed her students to understand the importance of metaphor in their own coaching, with Chapter 2 illuminating how Cather’s Neighbor Rosicky addresses the role of emotion. After this, Eastman considers how John Cheever’s multi-layered story The Swimmer provides rich stimulus for coaching students in understanding failure, how Miller’s Death of a Salesman shows how our family relationships are reflected in our office dynamics, and how the reactions of her students engaging with Lampedusa’s The Leopard are more effective than the traditional coaching tool, Personalisis, in revealing their personality. She finally looks at Shakespeare’s The Tempest for exploring themes of power and manipulation in a coaching context. By applying coaching models to fictional scenarios, Eastman demonstrates that coaches, HR professionals and students can successfully extend the boundaries of their coaching, strengthen their interventions and enhance their understanding of theory.
Coaching for Professional Development: Using Literature to Support Success is a unique approach to coaching with engaging case studies throughout that brings together higher education and industry. It will be key reading for coaches in practice and in training who wish to enhance creativity in their work, advisors and teachers on coaching courses, and HR and L&D professionals working in organizations seeking to implement a coaching culture.
"In this book, Christine argues that to be a good coach it is not enough to follow a particular coaching model (e.g. the GROW model). The missing element is a deeper emotional awareness and the ‘process of reading is ‘emotionally educational’. So, for example, she suggests that by analysing the complex emotions of the central character, Willy Loman, in Miller’s Death of a Salesman coaches can arrive at a deeper understanding of ‘unhappiness at work’.
Having worked with Christine at The Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, I have seen first-hand how introducing students to literature has benefited their practice and in this book she shares the literature introduced and how it has made a difference. I thoroughly recommend this book as a valuable addition to the coaching literature" – Dr Peter Critten, formerly Project Manager, Work Based Organisational Learning, The Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, UK
"This is a timely and engaging book. I’m absolutely convinced by Christine Eastman’s argument that the experience of reading and interpreting literature – which is the experience of imagining different life possibilities – brings significant benefits to clients and coaches alike. Through a series of sensitively articulated case studies, Eastman reveals the possibilities and potential of a new practice of coaching. This book will be of huge value to coaches and teachers of coaching, in both academic and business contexts, who are looking to extend and deepen their coaching practice." – Neill Thew, University of Sussex; Cru Leader Development, UK
"This book reveals valuable insights on almost every page. Christine Eastman convincingly makes the case for literary study and appreciation in professional coaching. The writer of fiction is engaged in making sense of character and human experience through sensitive and allusive language, and Eastman’s argument that the coach has much to learn from these writers is abundantly supported, especially by the student case studies which form the backbone of the book. Eastman is an accomplished literary scholar and draws on an impressive breadth of reference from criticism, biography, social and political theory, psychology and neuroscience. Her work will add a new dimension to professional coaching." – Professor Bill Jones, Editor, Universities Association of Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester, UK
Introduction; Chapter 1: Leadership and Its Absence: Herman Melville's "Bartleby, The Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street"; Chapter 2: The Space to Tell One's Story: Willa Cather's "Neighbor Rosicky"; Chapter 3: Coaching, Memory and Emotion: John Cheever's "The Swimmer" and James Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son"; Chapter 4: Sales Coaching, Dysfunction, and Family: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman; Chapter 5: Coaching and Writing: Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's The Leopard; Conclusion: Coaching with Shakespeare?