The Weekend Read – Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith


One of the biggest challenges that we all face is change. Marshall Goldsmith is one of the world’s leading executive coaches and he hasn’t got there by failing to help his clients succeed. To do so he has to be able to walk the talk in his own life and this book reflects how his approach can help each of us to succeed.

Every night, Goldsmith forces himself to do something that most of us would find very difficult. He speaks to a friend on the phone and ask him the same 22 questions. They all start with the phrase, “Did I do my best (today) to…?” The endings can be strategic, philosophical, professional, physical or personal. He has done this for years, revising the questions as his priorities have evolved. Not only does he answer he rates his efforts on a scale from 1 to 10.

Goldsmith’s stated mission is “to help people become the person they want to be, not tell them who that person is.” One of the fundamental tenets of my coach training taught me that the client is naturally creative, resourceful and whole. So I hope that my coaching is never directive and my simple mantra “to improve the condition of my clients” is in line with his.

The author’s first book, “What got you here, won’t get you there” dealt with identifying interpersonal skills that hold you back from being a success, this book takes things further into personal habits.

The 22 chapters are divided into 4 sections:

  • “Why don’t we become the person we want to be?”,
  • “Try”,
  • “More structure please” and
  • “No regrets”.

In the first section Marshall examines the truths of behavioural change and the role of “Triggers” he then goes on to look at the role of questions, being one’s own coach and the mantra “AIWATT” (am I willing at this time?).

Part 3 deals with developing the right structure for our individual success and then he wraps up with a short section on the circle of engagement and the need for change.

A trigger he defines as any stimulus that reshapes our thoughts or actions and can be of both beneficial and detrimental.

I first came across the book as an audio download and then followed up with the paperback. In the same way that, “What got you here, won’t get you there” had a profound effect on helping many to change their behaviours so “Triggers” will provide a great refinement and will reinforce and expand our seeking to make lasting, positive change.

If you’re struggling with your day to day progress then give this a read and carry through the actions and exercises that he suggests – it will change you and your results.

Published by Alun Rees

Dental Business Coach. Analyst. Troubleshooter. Consultant. Writer. Presenter. Broadcaster.

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