‘What’s better today?’ by Dr. John Kenworthy

Dr. JohnWhat a wonderful way to greet somebody, to open a conversation, to express interest, to create a bond, to show concern. Just those three words, a socially safe and acceptable way of saying “I love you” with interest but without commitment.

In some sense, this question is the key theme to the success of the gift which Dr. John Kenworthy offers in this book, currently offered as a Kindle download at Amazon.
John rightly uses his Masters title to enhance his status in his Singapore-based business and to distinguish himself from the other authors with the same name.

Love expressed

John loves coaching people. John loves his wife, Annie. And John loves Jesus. This new book, “What’s Better Today?”, is his way of sharing his love and his passion for supporting others in being the very best they can be in this God-given life:

“Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on a lamp stand; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.”
Matthew 5:15 (King James 2000)

Coaching tools to support change

In considerable detail, John provides the tools for making the most of your best. As John’s brief personal profile states: “I am a Professional Leadership Caddy for leaders who want to achieve greater success in your career, business and life. I enable and support you with the right tools and techniques at the right time so that you can align your skills, mindset and behaviour.”

Target: growth!

And that sums up this book: a step-by-step review of the coach/coachee relationship which is a vital part of reaching the top and staying there. Using a coach, being a coachee, being a coach yourself for others, understanding the process, maximising the effect of the interactions, defining the relationship… and lots more, including detailed lists of ‘the right questions’, ‘to do’ steps, metrics for measuring progress and success, templates galore for activities and stages of the personal development process. John is thorough in his details and is an ‘easy read’.

3-step approach

Part One: ‘Starting Out’ looks at discovering if you’re ready to be coached. If so, what sort of coaching will work best for you? How you can go about choosing someone to work with?
Part Two: ‘Grow and Learn’ describes how to get the very most out of your coaching. There’s a structured framework with templates to use that both shortcuts the coaching and helps you get the results you want as quickly as you want.
Part Three: ‘Wrapping Up’ is about concluding your coaching effectively so that both you and your coach continue to learn from the experience.
John is honest about the fact that, by using the templates and guidance he provides, you can actually coach yourself – if you have the self-discipline to do the exercises and answer the questions in depth.

Attractive

The lay-out is spacious and supported by many relevant, fun cartoons and interesting quotations. Chapter 11, for example, is about the metrics that measure progress. There’s a quotation from ‘management guru’ Peter Drucker that confirms the importance of measuring: “What gets measured, gets managed.”

Critical notes

  • As an expert in the area of leadership and coaching skills, John gives of his best. However, a further round of thorough editing would ‘tighten up’ the offering, reduce the amount of repetition and perhaps enhance the effectiveness of the message.
  • Such editing would definitely clarify the mixed messages expressed in the gamut of personal pronouns, where ‘you’ refers to the reader, the coach, the coachee, the leader… and ‘I’ refers to… well, the same. It’s often confusing!
  • To enliven the tale further, more anecdotes and a better integration of the cartoons and quotations would heighten the immediacy and relevance.
  • I fully agree with John about the importance of the click (he avoids this word!) between coach and coachee. From my own experience I would say that it is essential – and there’s plenty that the coach can do to improve it. In my world we’re talking here about ‘limbic entrainment’; if you want to know more about this subject, dive into the joys of A general theory of love.
  • John discusses metrics at great length. Sometimes it can be as easy as simple ‘scaling’ such as I use in my sessions: I give my client 10 cards, numbered 1-10, and ask him to lay them out on the floor. “As far as your current skill (problem/reason for coming) is concerned, where 1 is a disaster and 10 is complete mastery, go and stand near the number that applies right now.” We do the session and repeat the exercise. There’s always a shift and there’s always plenty to do around the awareness of the shift.
  • A ‘good’ coach is one who knows when to pass his client on to a therapist. So many difficulties, challenges or growth steps cannot be overcome just by talking pragmatically about them or by providing cognitive solutions. Real change happens when the four areas – mental (cognition), physical, emotional and spiritual – are involved and integrated. As a coach and therapist I see this as the one prime area of John’s book which is both a weakness and a strength: John restricts himself to his field of expertise, an area where many people are willing to function but not in all four areas. The joy is that we all get the clients we deserve so John can look forward to many more productive and loving years of work!

 

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