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. S