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Book Review: “Creating the Reflective Habit” by Michelle Lucas

Enhance your leadership development

Creating the Reflective Habit is a practical guide for coaches, mentors, and leaders. Although the title positions it primarily for professional coaches, it is accessible, relevant, and impactful for any leaders who want to develop their self-awareness and learning skills.

The author, Michelle Lucas, is a highly experienced coach and coach supervisor who has been working in the field for over 20 years. She draws on her own extensive experience and research to provide a comprehensive framework for reflection, as well as suggesting tools and techniques to apply it in different contexts.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part introduces the concept of reflection and its benefits, as well as the challenges and barriers that can prevent us from reflecting effectively. The second part presents the Reflective Habit model, which consists of six steps: setting the intention, capturing the experience, exploring the meaning, identifying the learning, planning the action, and reviewing the impact. The third part offers practical guidance on how to use reflection in various situations, such as coaching sessions, supervision, feedback, peer learning, and personal development.

The book is written in a clear and engaging style, with plenty of examples, case studies, exercises, and tips to help the reader apply the concepts and techniques. For instance, the author provides a list of reflective questions for each step of the model, as well as examples of how to use them in different scenarios. Examples of her reflective questions include:

  • Setting the intention: What do I want to achieve from this reflection? How will I know if I have achieved it? What are my expectations and assumptions?
  • Capturing the experience: What happened? How did I feel? What did I think? What did I do? What did others do or say?
  • Exploring the meaning: What does this experience mean to me? How does it relate to my values, beliefs, goals, or purpose? What influenced my thoughts, feelings, or actions?
  • Identifying the learning: What did I learn from this experience? What strengths or areas for improvement did I discover? What surprised or challenged me?
  • Planning the action: What will I do differently because of this learning? What are my SMART goals or actions? Who can support me or hold me accountable?
  • Reviewing the impact: How did my actions affect myself or others? Did I achieve my goals or intentions? What feedback did I receive or seek? What new learning or insights did I gain?

She also shares some of her own reflective journals and notes to illustrate how she uses reflection in her own practice. The author helpfully also includes some stories and anecdotes from her clients and colleagues who have benefited from reflection in their work and life.

The book is suitable for both beginners and experienced practitioners who want to enhance their reflective practice and improve their performance and well-being. Creating the Reflective Habit is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to learn how to reflect more effectively and consistently. It offers a comprehensive and practical approach to reflection that can be adapted to different needs and preferences. It is a must-read for coaches, mentors, and anyone who wants to grow personally and professionally. I don’t hesitate to recommend it to my own executive coaching clients.

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