Every since I was a child I was afraid that I would die before I read all the books I wanted to. Now I’m not afraid because I know it is true. A smart thing would be to stop buying books and read all the ones I have but somehow that doesn’t work out that way. Amazon-itus is partly to blame. I fool myself with the handy delusion “I’ll just have a little look at the website” or “it’s not worth ordering only 1 book especially as the postage is free”. I imagine I would have the same approach if I was to let myself visit our local Wood Green Animal shelter. If I went to “just visit” I know pretty much what is likely to happen. My husband’s can spot it a mile off. He’s OK with adding yet another shelf for more books. His view on bringing home animals was framed in his request that I only bring back from the shelter whatever can call itself a taxi to take it back there after ‘the visit’ is over.
This love affair with books and reading shows up in coaching supervision. I noticed with one of the groups I work with, they love to swap latest reads and their learning from books. It helps them feel more resourced. The CBI said some years ago that the single most important thing for business is the ability to learn and learn quickly. I know there is a CSA reading group who came together during their diploma year and continue to read together. Anyone reading this from that group why not send us a blog about your experience?
I notice with my own clients that I first ask them how they like to learn and what would help them to make their learning impactful for them during the work we will do together. That way, I can be more aware to not bring my own preferences in with automatic ‘have you read…’ statements; so I find out first what will help them really grasp the learning curve that they will be joining as they go into the experience of being a coachee. I think the same holds true for my supervisees.
Many people I have worked with report key books in their life as places of shift in awareness, or a big ah ha moments or even a quiet one. I know in different times during myself that has been the case when the right book has fallen into my lap at the right time and it has made a big difference in my thinking. I feel very grateful for that too.
I have wondered whether Kindle-philes can avoid the pile-of-books-angst because it is all neatly tucked away within a thin wedge of plastic so the quantity yet to read doesn’t look so onerous as the tottering pile of books awaiting attention. As I understand it the biggest Kindle out there can hold 3.500 books invisibly within your hand.
The trend from book reading to screen reading and information uploading from the internet is of course ever on the increase. Will books become quaint items? Will they be forgotten? I was walking around a National Trust property last weekend and, on entering the sumptuous seventeenth century library of the Earl of Hardwick’s with its floor to ceiling bookshelves on every side of a vast room, I heard one young lad’s breath being taken away , as was mine, by this glorious display, only to be deflated when he said to his family ‘wow what a lot of videos!
No getting away from it, I am a good-old- paper version kind of girl, kinaesthetic to the end. Well thumbed, marginalia- covered post it notes stuck here and there I know where my heart lies. Pages really do send me back to poking around second hand book shops as a youngster with birthday money to spend. One sniff of an old book and I am back to 9 years old. Now if you sniff your Kindle I can’t imagine it provides much nostalgia and I’ve no doubt people will move away from you on the train.
Book or virtual the ‘printed’ word in whatever can be a potent teacher and inspiration. Has reading been important to you in your adult learning- as a coach and coaching supervisor? What book has had a lasting impact on you and why? Let us know. It might just be one more that I can add to my list.
Karyn Prentice, Assistant Director, Coaching Supervision Academy