Igniting the Third Factor

Posted February 1, 2010 in Leadership, Self-Insight, What We're Reading

By: Peter Jensen

Reviewed By: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: We all have heard the argument about the effects of nature vs. nurture, but Peter Jensen throws out a third factor: choice.

The key concept behind the book is the opening question: How do you get someone else committed to reaching their full potential? A question that most leaders face on a daily basis!

Using a “five ring” model, Jensen walks us through how to build our coaching abilities and help “ignite the 3rd factor” by working the pillars of: build trust, encourage and use imagery, uncover and work through blocks, embrace adversity and manage yourself. The book provides numerous examples, drawn from Jensen’s impressive expertise in coaching word class athletes and executives. He even includes a chapter on how to bring the skills and concepts into other relationships at home.

The Bottom-line: Peter Jensen is currently in Vancouver celebrating with the gold medal winning Canadian Women’s Olympic hockey team, so it seemed highly fitting to review this book this month. And, that’s probably one of the most compelling things about the book.

Jensen peppers it with examples from his decades of experience working with athletes (yes, he was the guy who worked with Liz Manley and helped her get to the podium in ’88). It also lends some serious “street cred” to his coaching philosophy and approach. His five ring model is easy to follow, although the seeming simplicity of some of the elements perhaps don’t do justice to how much work it takes to become an exceptional coach. Some of the concepts (like using imagery) may be new to line executives who haven’t been exposed to the idea, but it’s a powerful technique and worth giving a try. For anyone who is really interested in getting serious about moving beyond performance “management” to performance “coaching”, this is a great read. Sports fans will get an added buzz from the insider stories and examples used throughout.


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