Book Review: Career Conversations

A clear and approachable guide to career coaching from a noticeably experienced and passionate coach. It covers the core concepts of assumption busting, building authenticity and self-awareness, goal-setting, listening and facilitation. It is also jam-packed with insightful activities, stories and conversational tips. Having delved into similar material through leadership programs and coaching sessions, I found this a pleasing overview and reminder of the fundamental elements of coaching and self-management, though it didn’t break any new ground.

Smith demands a high degree of self-awareness and insight, which I fear limits the impact of the book. Without someone to hold a mirror up to you to reveal shadows, or keep one accountable to new ways of thinking and working, one can too easily navigate around the hard truths Smith seeks to uncover.

The focus of this book is on career conversations either within traditional line management relationships or through self-management. The more abstract concepts of leadership through managing up and across are not addressed – which is where the vast majority of administrators and assistants wield their influence. Whilst this limits the book’s application for administrative staff, the broad principles still apply.

I highly recommend this as a great supplement to a career development program or coach, but not a substitute.

Patrick Witcombe, Executive Support Manager at CBM.