In the first few pages of Coached to Greatness: Unlock Your Full Potential with Limitless Growth, life coach and three-time author John M. Hawkins is more than clear about his intentions. The book, he says, is for those “who know there is more they can accomplish and who feel their performance is underwhelming.”
The book is comprised of 16 chapters with titles like “Become the CEO of Your Life” and “Develop Your Image,” and reflective questions at the end of each. It is a bit of a hodgepodge, and includes career advice, self-assessment, and achieving work-life balance. It even discusses the importance of hand-written thank you notes and tactics to remain in the middle class in the face of modern economic pressures.
Unfortunately, Hawkins’ practice of littering the pages with subtitles is extremely distracting. Instead of maintaining a consistent flow, it creates a multitude of short sections, some only a paragraph long (as a result, the Table of Contents spans a whopping 12 pages). Readers who thrive on blurbs may welcome this unusual format. But does the author really need three separate headlines to explain why he prefers a fountain pen and brown leather notebook as his writing tools? The lack of transitions between copy blocks adds to reader frustration.
Hawkins partially redeems himself with occasional personal anecdotes, such as one about his prior struggles with obesity, or the story of how his grandfather declined a job with an aspiring but yet-unknown cartoonist named Walt Disney. And although many of the concepts are widely covered in other self-help books—assess your strengths, commit to change, believe in yourself—there’s enough fresh detail to keep readers engaged (e.g.,his advice on how to “box up” worries at night when we can’t sleep).
Hawkins’ enthusiasm is evident, which, at least partly, makes up for the book’s awkward format. Still, Coached to Greatness may work best as a supplementary handbook for the clients with whom the author consults.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.