Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)
I always love a good book, but have never been one for those fiction novels complete with wizards, sorcerers, love affairs and who-done-it (and some have all four!). So, the books I read are ones that teach me something, help me to grow personally, or at the least are readable one slow chapter at a time to encourage reflection.
This summer, I have enjoyed reading Enabling Positive Change – Coaching Conversations in Occupational Therapy by Pentland, Isaacs-Young, Gash and Heinz. By way of background, I have always found coaching fascinating. My first experience with a business / life coach was probably 10 years ago when I was looking for some guidance and insight on how to run my business better. A few years later I connected with a different coach who helped me confirm that the path I was on (I had doubts) and allowed me to realize that I was exactly where I wanted to be. Then, as my business grew and I felt isolated as an owner, I participated in more of a group coaching process that helped me for several years to build business confidence, to make some great decisions and all of this helped me to take my business to the next level. Most recently, my business partner and I worked with an amazing coach who facilitated very deep conversations about where we are at, where we are going, and what we are truly trying to create – with insight on how to get there.
In reflecting on my experience with coaching further, I now understand that it really is a form of “occupational therapy” for people with desires and wants to do, manage, or live differently or better. So, with this insight I was thrilled to see the combination of these two concepts: coaching and occupational therapy in Enabling Positive Change: Coaching Conversations in Occupational Therapy.
The book is chaptered by Occupational Therapists all over the world that use a coaching approach in their practice, and each chapter speaks to how coaching adds immense value to the OT profession. The book first describes the coaching process, relates this to OT theory, practice and research, uses case and client examples to show the reader what coaching really looks like. Then, it moves to worldly examples of OT and coaching that speak to the core of the OT profession and those of us that practice it. I particularly enjoyed OT’s personal accounts of using coaching and OT to help them in their own journey, but to also assist clients with many aspects of returning to function: managing chronic pain, going back to work, helping children and their families, facilitating groups, improving mental health, getting discharged from hospital, navigating the insurance process, and developing new programs to name a few. My favorite chapters, however (as these speak to my phase of life), were the chapters on coaching and mid-life, coaching executives and professionals, and using coaching to prevent burnout of health professionals (like OT’s!). The book concludes with two very helpful sections about coaching education and training for OT’s, and the future possibilities for coaching and OT.
Honestly this book has a chapter for every OT at every stage and phase of career and really life. While I have always had an interest in coaching, this book has heightened my awareness as to why I have always found it personally helpful, and has also inspired me to look at coaching and coaching training more seriously as the next stage for me in my journey as an OT. I recommend this as a “must read” for OT’s all over the globe.