What do we mean by playfulness? Playfulness and play are no longer seen as only of benefit to children’s learning and development, but are being used increasingly for coaching adults in the context of serious challenges and issues. Benefits include better communication, understanding, self-awareness, relationship-building, creativity, ideation and innovation in a business environment. This book is the first to introduce and expand on the idea of playfulness as an approach in coaching.

Playfulness in Coaching fully explains the serious role of playfulness and provides the why and the how for new and experienced coaches. Using case studies throughout, the book takes a broad and evidence-led look at the relevant areas of playfulness in coaching – contracting, developing insights, forming direct communications, how to prime the coach and the client for playfulness, identifying and overcoming barriers, assessing risks, and closing a session. It is packed with theory, research, stories from practice, ideas and inspiration for understanding and applying playfulness in life and work.

This will be an invaluable resource for coaches, particularly those with experience who are moving towards intermediate and mastery level. The book has been written with coaches working with corporate clients in mind, particularly in the context of challenges in a VUCA environment. It will also be relevant to HR and Learning and Development managers who source coaches for organisations and oversee internal coaches, as well as managers-as-coaches, life coaches and mental health professionals.

Part I: What is Playfulness in Coaching?  1. Welcome  2. Why Playfulness?  3. What do we mean by playfulness in coaching?  4.The Benefits of Playfulness in Coaching  5. The Be Playful Onion Model  6. Our Neurobiology and Playfulness in Coaching  7. Adding Emotions into the Mix  8. What’s so funny? A closer look at humour  9. Risks: Part and Parcel of Exploring  Part II: Stepping into Playfulness: From Theory to Practice  10. Tending the Seedlings of Playfulness  11. Practical ways to dial up (more) playfulness  12. Things to consider in practice  13. The Playfulness Scrapbook – a collection of stories, ideas and tools  14. The next chapter