Self as Coach, Self as Leader Book Review

Posted by Kristin Arnold on October 29, 2019

Since I am doing more team leadership coaching these days, a colleague suggested Pamela McLean’s new book, “Self as Coach, Self as Leader: Developing the Best in You to Develop the Best in Others.”  Especially in this VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous), “the price of counterproductive leadership behavior is unimaginably costly and even the best of leaders face challenges that are daunting. The coaches equipped to successfully work with leaders in these changing times need nimbleness, understanding of complexities, ease with ambiguities, and deep familiarity with their own internal landscape.”

And while the intended audience is for full-time coaches, I found the information to be equally useful for any team leader.  After all, they coach their team as well!

McLean’s premise is that today’s coaches need to know themselves in order to be great coaches.  Team leaders also need to know themselves in order to be great leaders as well.

I started my journey of self-awareness with a business coach back in the mid-90’s when I first started my business.  I then did a bunch of training with the Landmark Forum.  Since then, most of my self-discovery has been through discussions with mentors, friends, and my post-divorce therapist.

Some books have been helpful, but this book far surpasses my expectations!  McLean is an authority in coaching and has distilled her myriad years of practice into several models along with practical self-reflection exercises.  Normally, I just buzz through a book and then come back (maybe) to do a few of the exercises.  This book is different.  After each chapter, I wanted to stop, reflect, do the exercises and then chat about it with my husband, Joe.

I love the way the author takes a case and “applies heat” giving three different scenario/responses.  Of course, you may intellectually gravitate toward the best answer, yet emotionally, you may respond differently.

It’s an intellectually and emotionally stimulating book – I highly recommend it if you want to increase your self-awareness and ability to coach and lead others.


KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 20 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.

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