Dr June Fettes: Executive Coach

Mob : +44 (0)7774 157163

Tel : +44 (0)1738 564330

zen-banner Image.

Books and Papers

I list below a small selection of books and papers that I have found interesting and influential, which seem to provide different but ultimately related perspectives on the interpersonal world. They are listed in 2 sections (Psychological Awareness in Business Leadership and Self Help) with some additional information and/or personal, and therefore, of course, biased comments! They are in no particular order. I will add to them from time to time.

I am neither encouraging nor discouraging you from buying any of these but for those who are interested I have included the ISBN number (for books) and the reference (for papers) so that you can access copies via the library system.

I would be pleased to hear your recommendations.

Psychological Awareness in Business Leadership


The Power of Transference - Why People Follow the Leader

Michael Maccoby
Harvard Review September 2005, Reprint R0409E

In trying to understand how leadership works,we often lose sight of the fact that followers are a crucial part of the equation. Followers have their own motivation and are as powerfully driven to follow as leaders are to lead. The author looks closely at the often irrational tendency to relate to a leader as some important person from the past. Sigmund Freud discovered this dynamic when working with his patients and called it 'transference'. But important as it is, the concept remains little understood outside the realm of clinical psychoanalysis. This is unfortunate, because a solid understanding of transference can yield great insight into organizational behavior (sic) and endow you with the wisdom and compassion to be a tremendous leader. The author explains the most common type of transference.

Comment: it is great to see transference being brought into the business arena as it is a ubiquitous phenomenon and well worth reading to increase self-awareness about own patterns.

Fear of Feedback

Jay M Jackman and Myra H Strober
Harvard Business Review April 2003, Reprint R0304H

"At least half the executive with whom we've worked never ask for feedback. Many expect the worst: heated arguments, impossible demands, or even threats of dismissal. So rather than seek feedback, people avoid the truth and instead continue to try to guess what their bosses think. Fears and assumptions about feedback often manifest themselves in psychologically maladaptive behaviours such as procrastination, denial, brooding, jealousy, and self-sabotage. Those who learn to adapt to feedback can free themselves from old patterns. We'll look closely at a four-step process for doing just that. But before we turn to that process, let's explore why so many people are afraid to hear how they're doing'. Moreover, as an increasing number of executives in an organisation learn to ask for feedback, they begin to reverse a feedback-averse environment into a more open an honest one, in turn improving performance throughout the organisation. Equally important, using the adaptive techniques we've mentioned can have a positive effect on executive's private lives."

Comment: a useful paper even if UK business culture is a little different

Seven Transformations of Leadership

David Rooke and William R Torbet
Harvard Business Review April 2005, Reprint R0504D

"Most developmental psychologies agree that what differentiates leaders is not so much their philosophy of leadership, their personality or style of management. Rather, its their internal 'action logic' how they interpret their surroundings and act when their power or safety is challenged. Relatively few leaders, however, explore their own action logic, and fewer still have explored the possibility of changing it! The good news is that leaders who make an effort to understand their own action logic can improve their ability to lead. The leader's voyage is not an easy one. Some people change little in their lifetimes; some change substantially. Despite the undeniable crucial role of genetics, human nature is nor fixed. Those who are willing to work at developing themselves and becoming more self-aware can almost certainly evolve over time into truly transformational leaders."

Comment: this paper is a good summary of the concepts covered in the book by these authors listed below though obviously it loses some of the practical detail. It will provide a guide to the Leadership Development Profile (LDP) tool.

Leadership that Gets Results

Daniel Goleman
Harvard Business Review March-April 2000, Reprint R00204

"New research suggests that the most effective executives use a collection of distinct leadership styles - each in the right measure, at just the right time. Such flexibility is touch to put into action, but it pays off in performance. And better yet, it can be learned!"

Comment: excellent paper that takes you through the different styles of leadership and when and where they are most helpful (or counter-productive). The styles are called: Coercive (overall negative impact and only really of benefit in crisis situations), Authoritative (the one with the strongest positive impact, especially when change is in the air), Affiliative (positive especially in stressful situations), Democratic (positive impact, particularly where 'buy-in' needed), Pacesetting (negative impact but useful when need quick results from highly motivated team), Coaching (positive impact, especially where developing others). The paper defines and explores each style using case material. Daniel Goleman is the author who popularised the concept of Emotional Intelligence and his book Working with Emotional Intelligence is a great introduction to this area if it is new to you.


Life and Death in the Executive Fast Lane

Manfred F R Kets de Vries
ISBN 0 78790112 1

I am a Kets de Vries fan, probably because he works in a way that I aspire to. This book was published in 1995 but is nevertheless an interesting collection of essays that covers some important messages for executives, in my opinion. His is a name to watch out for in any case.

Organisation in Mind: Pyshoanalysis, Group Relations, and Organisational Consultancy

David Armstrong
ISBN 1 85575397 9

I found this book a very powerful read and it has expanded my thinking on the organisational dimension of my coaching practice.

Working Below The Surface: The Emotional Life of Contemporary Organizations

Clare Huffington et al
ISBN 1 85575294 8

This is a recent Tavistock publication that, in my opinion, gets to the heart of organisational life.

Executive Coaching: Systems-Psychodynamic Perspective

Halina Brunning
ISBN 1 85575327 8

I find that this book is at the heart of the coaching approach I use and it was gratifying to see it usefully covered in this publication.

Action Inquiry: The Secret of Timely and Transforming Leadership

Bill Torbert and Associates
ISBN 1 57675264 X

I found this to be a practical current approach to understanding and developing the leadership capability in all of us. It is a pragmatic developmental theory with much to offer and has an underlying integrity as it is based on robust research and experience.

Personal and Organisational Transformations Through Action Inquiry

Dalmar Fisher, David Rooke and Bill Torbet
ISBN 0 95381840 3

As you will have gathered, I believe that action inquiry provides a really useful perspective and I found this to be what it set out to be - a practical guide to developing the action inquiry capability in the individual and organisation. It takes the reader through the fundamentals of action inquiry, and 7 'action logics' of the Leadership.

Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono
ISBN 0 14013784

This is the guy who 'brought us' lateral thinking and this book suggests a method for problem solving that has the potential to make use of all the talents in a board room.

The Oz Principle: Getting Results Through Individual and Organisational Accountability

Roger Conners, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman
ISBN 1 59184024 4

I include this book on the list because about a year ago I had to prepare something on accountability for an organisation and found it difficult at that time to find a book that covered the subject the way I wanted to. I found this one was very helpful to my thinking.

Other leadership writers that I like include:

James M Kouzes and Barry Z Posner
Edgar H Schein
John Adair


The Road Less Travelled

M. Scott Peck
ISBN 0 09972740 4

This is a gem of a book. I can say no more.

Why I Am Afraid To Tell You Who I Am?

John Powell
ISBN 000628109 5

This is written by a Jesuit priest who has the knack of conveying so much in so few pages about the essence of the human condition.

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Susan Jeffers
ISBN 0712671056

I remember someone telling me about this book when I was going through a difficult time and I did not get round to buying it until much later, I wished I had taken their advice as there is something so important about knowing that we are not the only one in the world who is too afraid to take the obvious step!

The Art Of The Possible

Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
ISBN 0 14200110 4

A practical guide and interesting take on how to uncover the insidious and often hidden assumptions we make about who we are, our performance capability and that of others. The style is a little hearty for my taste but the message I like.

What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

Eric Berne
ISBN 0 55209806 X

For those seriously interested in understanding why it is we end up in life where we thought we would and how we can change our life script. This is the originator of Transactional Analysis theory. He has also written The Games People Play - a best seller but not my favourite.

Born to Win

Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward
ISBN 0 20159044 1

This is another book dealing with Transactional Analysis with a more practical approach that some may find more readable.

The Inner Game of Tennis

W. Timothy Gallwey
ISBN 0 33029513 6

This little book contains some hugely important messages and practical tips about removing the mental obstacles that get in the way of increased concentration, reduced anxiety and peak performance. He has also written the Inner Game of Golf and The Inner Game of Work.

The Dance of Anger - A Woman's Guide to Changing the Pattern of Intimate Relationship

Harriet Lerner
ISBN 0 72253623 2

This is a book with practical relevance to real lives and is directed particularly at women. It looks briefly at how society views and deals with women's anger setting the scene for the main part of the book, which focuses on what happens when woman are unable to recognise and/or deal productively with their anger. It is very straight forward and easy to read and men may also appreciate it.

Why Men Hate Women

Adam Jukes
ISBN 185343195 8

Yes, it is written by a man and it is not for the faint hearted. It says on the cover 'a book for men that every woman should read'.