Book Review: Back Pocket Coach and Guest Post – How To Diplomatically Critique Another

Back Pocket Coach provides 33 power-packed communication strategies to support you in creating satisfying conversations that result in good outcomes for you and others.


Book Details:

Book Title: Back Pocket Coach: 33 Effective Communication Strategies for Work & Life
Authors: Diane Brennan and Alexandra Ross
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 104 pages
Genre: Communication, Self-help
Publisher: New View Press
Release date: January 2017
Tour dates: June 5 to 16, 2017
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Have you ever been in a situation that was emotionally charged and the stakes were high? And it was difficult to find the right words? Back Pocket Coach provides 33 power-packed communication strategies to support you in creating satisfying conversations that result in good outcomes for you and others. These just-in-time strategies will help you move through conversations masterfully –whether you’re engaging with one person or a team of people.

You’ll learn how to:
-Provide difficult feedback to everyone from your boss to mother-in-law — improving your relationships in the process.
-Effectively renegotiate any agreement.
-Say no to a request that would leave you stretched too thing — and do so from a place of strength.
-Get unproductive meetings back on track — even if you’re not the meeting organizer.
-Safely speak your truth.
-Increase your self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
-Use appreciation authentically — the secret sauce for thriving relationships.

The following is a special guest post from the authors of the Back Pocket Coach, Alexandra Ross and Diane Brennan:

How to diplomatically critique another

Giving someone constructive feedback can be tricky, whether the person on the receiving end is your boss, your best friend, or your mother-in-law. And there is an art to providing it to virtually ensure that it will be well received and truly appreciated. Additionally, there is an opportunity to strengthen that relationship in the process. Here are a few strategies from Back Pocket Coach that will support you in doing just that.

Starting a feedback conversation with authentic appreciation is a good way to set the tone and really help the other person relax and be receptive to what you have to say. This will make them feel safe and let them know that the relationship (or their job) is not on the line. You simply want to provide some feedback for fine-tuning. As an example, think about a quality that you admire about the person and articulate it to them. Back Pocket Coach strategy #1 is, I would like to appreciate you for… In appreciating others we acknowledge their value in the situation or relationship. Challenge yourself to notice what you can appreciate about someone, even if it is difficult.

After you have provided authentic appreciation, try Back Pocket Coach strategy #7, May I give you some feedback? We hear complaints about poor behavior, language, habits and performance concerns that are allowed to go on too long–hoping the situation will go away. By first asking the question, “May I give you some feedback?” you are engaging in a respectful way to get agreement to proceed. This also helps the person be more open to what you have to say.

Finally, take the counsel of Back Pocket Coach strategy #32 and Tell the truth respectfully. It is important to be able to speak your truth, and do it in a way that respects, rather than alienates others. If you communicate in a way that can be perceived as adversarial or confrontational, you could damage the relationship. Be clear, direct and deliver your message in a way that respects the dignity of others. This also gives you a better chance of being heard.

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Meet the Authors:

Alexandra Ross is an executive coach, team builder and author. With a Masters degree in Organizational Communication, she helps leaders and teams sharpen their leadership skills and exceed prior levels of performance. Alexandra is internationally certified as a Master Certified Coach. She coaches executives and leaders in the fields of aerospace, engineering, high technology, medical, financial and more. She is also passionate about coaching women in leadership. Contact Alexandra at

Diane Brennan is a consultant, coach, author and speaker. She is passionate about leadership in all types of organizations. She enjoys working with leaders and teams in the fields of healthcare, aerospace, engineering, science, academics and business. Diane’s expertise in organizations includes strategic thinking, navigating change and creating a learning culture. Diane holds a Doctorate in Behavioral Health, an MBA and is a Master Certified Coach. She brings calm to the chaos in organizations and life. Contact Diane at

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