Book Review of The Heart of Coaching by Thomas G. Crane

Timney Petersen, Florida International University

 “We’re all in this together”, is a common quote used throughout Thomas G. Crane’s book, “The Heart of Coaching”. According to Crane, there’s a paradigm shift in corporate America; in order for us to be successful leaders we must be a coach and not just a “boss”. The employees are members of the team and play a vital role to make the company successful.  Throughout the book, the authors emphasizes collaboration and not individualization. When you’re a coach, you focus on team-building and how to make the whole team better by concentrating on each individual’s contribution in order to make progress. Crane recognizes that each person has their own unique abilities and if you combine them together, you can create a winning team to foster achievement.

Thomas G. Crane’s book, “The Heart of Coaching” focuses on two frameworks; transformation coaching and the results cycle. The first framework, the transformation coaching has three components which are: foundation, learning loop and forwarding the action. In the foundation process, you need to be able to connect with your coworkers by having a defined plan. When you have a define plan, all members are provided with a direction on what they’re purpose is and their duties and responsibilities. Once that is established, you would need to set your context and expectations. This allows everyone to understand what the vision is and the purpose for its creation. The coach should review the objectives and core values of the process. Forming expectations for everyone is vital; when expectations are set, each person knows what is needed from them and the realistic roles they play in the procedure. Each member is accountable for the choices they make. Previous actions of former members and current members are evaluated in order to prepare their plan for success. Reviewing this data, will help find ways to improve each member’s skills on various components. Next, in the learning loop process, coaches explore roles in co-creating outcomes. This is where collaboration is essential; members share their ideas in order to establish a common goal or principle.  In order for co-creating outcomes to occur, each person must be respectful by actively listening to each person’s input. Although, it is common for members to disagree, it’s vital to share your reason why you disagree for everyone to get a better understanding for your reasoning. Questioning a big part of the learning loop process. Questioning is a way of gaining clarification and a way to show participation by actively listening. In addition, reaching out to fellow-co-coworkers for guidance is a way to get support. Crane explains that, often we get confused and are nervous to reach out for help. Utilize your peers; they may have information that can help you in order for you to gain understanding and to be effective. Seeing from another point of view, can help you in the results process. Lastly, in the forwarding the action process we revisit the vision for success by going over the plan and reviewing the objectives and core values of the process. Once that is done, we clarify the action commitment by reiterating the plan and making sure everyone knows what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Then proceed to the follow-up. Once that’s done, the coach is responsible for acknowledging progress and to offer support to any member who needs it.

The second framework is the results cycle. The first part of the results cycle focuses on four components of coaching which are the following: beliefs, behaviors, relationships and results. The beliefs in coaching focus on values, judgements, interpretations, assumptions and attitudes. The behaviors in coaching focus on style, openness, habits, skills, practice and action. In reference to relationships in coaching, it concentrates on trust, rapport, collaboration, sharing and connection. Lastly, results in coaching concentrate on outcomes, impact, accountability, improvements and performance. According to Crane, “Beliefs determine my behaviors which influence my relationships, which affect my results which reinforce my beliefs (p.133). The second part of the results cycle is the seven qualities of effective feedback. The qualities focus on ways to provide effective feedback by ways to help and provide positive motives. In addition, it explains how to describe observed behaviors and impact by being nonjudgmental. After, you want to build trust and respect, which will foster mutual learning and inspire action.

While reading “The Heart of Coaching”, there were a few quotes that Crane referenced from effective coaches throughout various fields in the book, but in my opinion only three stand out. The first is by Epictetus, which states “People are disturbed not by events but by their interpretations of these events”. This means that their emotional state overrides their cognitive state. As educators we tend to become emotional about things which are near and dear to our hearts, but must remember that we need to be cognitively involved and less emotional so it doesn’t cloud our judgement. As leaders we must deal with facts not feelings. The next quote “If you can dream it, you can’t do it” by Walt Disney. All human progress is the result of dreamers. As a result of dreams, they are put into action and become reality. For example, dreamers like the Wright brothers, John F. Kennedy, Madam Curie, and Madam C.J Walker had a vision, established a plan and implemented it. Coaches get educators to dream of possibilities and ways to accomplish it. The last quote, is my personal favorite in the whole book of “The Heart of Coaching”. “Coaching is a profession of love, you can’t coach people if you don’t love them” by Eddie Robinson the head football coach of Rambling University. This quote is the essence of coaching. You can’t love those that you coach, unless you love your profession. We coach others by example and not just by words because actions speak louder than words. We coach others because we want to see them succeed and to provide support for those we care about.

There are many strong points in the book, “The Heart of Coaching”.  One strong point is that Thomas G. Crane provides insight to coaching and leadership by sharing information from various professionals. He references information from aspiring leaders in education, famous athletic coaches and successful entrepreneurs to give people ideas on how to use their abilities in order to be successful. By referencing multiple people from various backgrounds, Crane utilizes strategies and techniques that have been effective by others but can be applied by coaches in the field of education. The book does a fantastic job recognizing a vast amount of frameworks that have been implemented over the years. Moreover, I loved how author referenced quotes from all different types of people to get his point of view across. Personally, I feel that book didn’t have any weak points. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.

“The Heart of Coaching” by Thomas G. Crane emphasizes collaboration and not individualization. He really addresses the importance of team-building and being an effective coach by valuing each person and ensuring that they play a vital role as a member of the team. He shares the transformational coaching and the results cycle framework so, that it can be implemented to create a high-performance coaching culture. In contrast, the book “Leading in a Culture of Change” by Michael Fullen focuses on the framework of leadership by recognizing the five components of leadership. The five components of leadership are the following: moral purpose, understanding change, relationship building, coherence making and knowledge creation and sharing. When it comes to moral purpose, all the individuals we work with, we must be honest, truthful and transparent. This goes the same when teaching or coaching, we want to train them to be honest, to have integrity and moral aptitude. Understanding change is a part of life. In order to grow, change is a necessary function in order to no to be static and remain the same. Since change is a constant, we must make a careful study on what needs to be changed and what needs to be retained. Relationship building is the growth between individuals and it’s also the dynamic in developing communities. Knowledge is power and allows us to teach with sound foundation. Moreover, it’s the key to teaching success. Creation is the adding of new ideas and can be embellished into finish products. Creation allows individuals to search their minds looking for ways to solve problems. Sharing is vital because it makes everyone feel like they’re part of the whole. It also gives value to everyone’s input. All of our dealings should be coherent, so that everyone can readily understand them. Unless things are coherent, then there is no validity, no understanding or truthfulness. Effective educators must deepen their moral purpose through collaborative work cultures that respect differences and frequently build as well as test knowledge against measurable results (Fullan, p.43).

To conclude, “The Heart of Coaching” by Thomas G. Crane is a great resource for coaches and aspiring coaches to improve faculty collaboration and team-building. The book serves as a valuable comity and fosters leadership capabilities. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wishes to improve their faculty in the coming school year. Upon reading this book, I gained insight of how to become a better leader and how to implement framework to create a high-performance coaching culture.


Crane, T. G., & Patrick, L. (2007). The heart of coaching (3rd ed.). San Diego: FTA Press.

Fullan, M. (2001). Leading a culture of change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Posted in: Issue 36(2)
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