The Power Of Coaching
Islay Auty & Penny Pollard
The aspirational photograph on the front cover of this paperback is engaging and likely to attract the attention of anyone in the eventing world; the foreword is a further endorsement that demonstrates this must be a book worthy of attention.
The Power of Coaching is divided up into seven manageable chapters, which are well thought out and clear with their titles, aims and content. Chapter one starts with ‘An Introduction To Coaching’, and the other chapters move seamlessly through topics including motivation, aspirations, barriers and learning channels, emotional aspects, such as breaking personal blocks. Spiritual ideas are dealt with in terms of horse and rider and what the rider brings to a session emotionally and mentally. There was a sensible amount of text dedicated to mindfulness of both coach and learner, which is a fairly modern concept in equestrian sport and something that is often skirted around, especially at lower levels. Each chapter is concluded with an insights section that serves as a summing up and concluding of that chapter.
Each chapter has a colour theme running through it, so dipping into the book and choosing a section is easy. The diagrams and charts also follow the colour coding of the chapter and further tie things together.
The language used in the book is pleasant to understand and read, it is not fussy or over involved. Although the book is co-written there are no perceptible changes of writing style. I would suggest that the book needs to be read from cover to cover and confidently understood, but could and should then be used as a dip-in book as an aide to coaching and learning.
Each chapter contains scenarios from real life, each demonstrating the points highlighted in the chapter, ensuring that you cannot fail to grasp the concepts and pick up the important messages from the chapter.
The book is confident in highlighting and illustrating throughout that coaching the equestrian is always going to be different from just coaching a lone athlete as there is a horse in this equation. The book explains early on the assumptions that are made within its pages and it is clearly stated that this is on how to coach and learn and not on training technique for horse and rider.
There are small insets throughout the book with quotes from noteworthy people of the equestrian industry. These add value and interest. There are also some small watercolour illustrations, which only really served to remind me that this is essentially a text book. I can’t help wondering if some photographs, or better illustrations would have been an asset and may help the book leave the bookshop shelf more easily.
A good coach and the inquisitive learner will defiantly seek out and learn from this book. It is packed full of information and easy, sensible ways of explaining complex behavioral relationships and reactions. The book deals with not only coaching but will also serve as an aid to anyone who has been coached in the equestrian field. The book does penetrate and, whatever age or level the coach or learner, this easy to read book is very much worth taking some time out to digest. It is an asset.
Review by Simon J Martin
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