Category: Business, Leadership and coaching
Publication date: January 23, 2020
Extent: 216 pages

Soft Skills Hard Results

A Practical Guide to People Skills for Analytical Leaders

Anne Taylor



Everyone says a great leader needs EQ, Emotional Intelligence, soft skills, blah, blah, blah. What does that even mean? Where do you start? Where’s the line for that on the P&L?
You might think that business is all about facts and figures. You probably prefer it that way. The truth is that as uncertainty and business complexity increases, successful leaders need to embrace soft skills to get the best out of their people in a sustainable manner.
In this succinct, no-nonsense approach, Anne Taylor shares:

  • Key soft skills relevant for leadership and practical applications of how to use them every day drawn from real-life case studies
  • Straightforward tools to better understand yourself, because your leadership starts with YOU
  • Simple frameworks to communicate with others to get things done while building a stronger relationship with them (at the same time, how efficient!)

Logical ideas you can try immediately with on-line support if you want it. All done in an easy to read, logical, organized manner for people who prefer facts and don’t consider themselves natural ‘people people.’ In a direct yet professional manner, Anne combines the results-oriented focus from her extensive business background in Fortune 100 corporations with her passion for personal awareness and conscious choice to help you get better results through your people, fast.
The Practical Principles in this book, when applied, practiced and honed, can improve your effectiveness, impact and bottom-line results.


Good book on emotional intelligence. It proves that people leave and managers and not bad companies. This is one of the key and well known findings. How can managers who are very good at business become emotionally empowered leaders?
The question sounds easier than the answer.
Some good advice can be found in this book.


Absolutely fantastic book for analytical leaders who are technically excellent, but who struggle with the essential so-called ‘soft skills’ aka emotional intelligence. So clear, well thought out and set out, and with no flimmy flam! I have already highlighted tons of stuff in here to share with clients and am armed with copies for two of my major corporate clients. A gem. Buy it.

Loved this book! Easy to read, full of practical advice and resources for maximizing your potential as a leader and your team’s potential. Buzzing with ideas on how I’ll implement them!

The author breaks the requisite skills into really manageable sections and lays out the basic skills that we all take for granted..but don’t necessarily see in ourselves. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who wants to be a better leader, or simply a better human.

I love Anne’s almost “in your face” logical practical look at this potentially “fluffy” topic. This is the first coaching book I’ve come across that I would be happy to recommend to my more cynical friends and family. I hope it will change how they think about the work I do, as well as improving the lives of those around them. Thank you Anne Taylor, for approaching this topic from the “hard-nosed business” point of view. I hope it reaches the parts other books have failed to reach.

This intelligent, well-written and thought-provoking book is packed with practical and actionable insights into the challenges of leadership. Ms Taylor’s personal experience as a senior executive in major corporations has clearly given her an acute appreciation of the importance that’s attached to the emotional life of her professional colleagues. In this book, she shows how leaders that develop ‘soft skills’ can increase their own effectiveness – and bring significant advantages to the organisations they manage.

A simple and highly practical approach to bringing in more people-oriented skills into business and life. Anne lays out both the importance of softer skills and credible tools and techniques to further them. She waves in personal and client-based insights to bring these skills to life and structures the book in such a way that you can come back to it easily at any time. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to make a meaningful difference in their business quickly.

Being in leadership roles for many years now I wish I had the opportunity to read this at the beginning of my career! Very impactful for me.

Personally I hate the nomenclature of “soft skills,” as if these skills are somehow weaker or less serious than technical skills. The truth is that it takes a variety of skills and qualities to make an effective leader or colleague, and these are essential to the success of any endeavor, as anyone who’s suffered through bad leadership or a toxic environment knows well.
This book is actually a wonderful bridge, though. It seamlessly leads a person who might have been oblivious to people skills on a journey to competence in interpersonal communication and leadership. It is logical and practical, answering the resistance and frustration that usually arises when these topics come up. Buy it for your floundering boss and lousy coworkers ASAP, and get yourself a copy too–we can all use a little more emotional intelligence.
Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC for the purpose of an unbiased review.



‘I wish this book had been available when I was leading operational CEO roles during my career, as I knew many logical and task-oriented individuals that would have greatly benefited from its wisdom. Anne explains soft skills in simple terms with very practical advice and tools to change their behaviour and have better results. Full of tips, challenges, client stories and personal anecdotes, the book provides practical ideas to get better results through better engagement with others. The higher you go in an organization, the more important people skills become, and this book is a good primer for improving your proficiency and satisfaction around working with others. An easy read, simply explained and direct, with lots of practical tips and tools to become a more collaborative leader for greater impact. A great starter to help any manager understand their impact, intentionally create better relationships and be more effective in their job to deliver the results. I strongly recommend it. – Nandu (Doreswamy) Nandkishore, Former Global CEO Nestlé Nutrition & EVP (CEO) of Asia/Oceania/Africa for Nestle S.A.
‘Now a Keynote speaker/VC/consultant/B-school Prof, Anne has truly upped the game in the people development world. She has brilliantly brought together many dimensions of the soft skill tool bag and made them easy to understand and applicable to our daily lives. And dare I say this is so needed in our “fast paced get ahead at all cost” world. Thank you, Anne! If you want people in your world to feel deeply valued and supported … this is a must read!’ – Rick Tamlyn, Hay House Author – Play Your Bigger Game, and Co-Active Training Institute Senior Faculty Member

Soft Skills Hard Results is an easy to understand and comprehensive book, loaded with practical tips and techniques that the reader can immediately apply and benefit from. It saves leaders – who want to improve their self-awareness and/or relationship skills – from reading 10+ different books and having to decode their terminology. Anne has compiled 360 degrees of information – from neuroscience to emotional intelligence to coaching – and enriched it with sound personal experience coming from both her private life and a successful career. I would definitely recommend this book to all leaders who want to be in a journey to a better self, whilst getting great business results!’ – Nilgün Kuruöz, Professional Coach and Consultant, Nilsight
‘This book on leadership based on the narration of Anne’s life story is told in a simple yet gripping and powerful way and relates to our everyday lives – both professional and private. Having worked with Anne over the years I can attest to the effectiveness and efficiency of her methods and approach. She ensures that both aspects of leading with your head and heart are fully explored. If you truly wish to make a lasting positive impact and change on people’s lives (and your own) – this is a must-read book which is hands on and truly “a practical guide to understanding and using people skills for hard results”.’ – Washington Munetsi, HR Director Operations Nestlé

‘Anne Taylor has been one of my “go-to” coaches, who I can turn to without hesitation to step in and counsel individuals or teams that need to re-examine their leadership style as an essential element of successful execution on innovative ideas. I have long admired her work and marvelled at her results. In Soft Skills Hard Results, she reveals the logic that has guided her success and it is an intelligent, informative and valuable read. The book integrates different approaches to analysing leadership performance in a search for success and provides vivid illustrations of how these speak to the art of leadership in a variety of organizational settings. I recommend this book to anyone looking to become more effective in a leadership role no matter what the context.’ – Bill Fischer, Professor of Innovation Management, IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland

‘The foundation of most careers is built on expertise and problem-solving abilities – the hard skills that produce results and manage complexity. In Soft Skills Hard Results, Anne provides a roadmap for analytical leaders to connect with the needs of their teams and how to create an environment where their team can work together to be successful – to take risks, share responsibility and deliver results. Drawing on her years of experience as a coach, Anne lays out how with reflection and simple, practical exercises you can, as a leader, develop your natural style to connect and engage with your team. Anne’s practical guide not only produces results but makes the experience of achieving your goals and objectives more rewarding than you could have ever expected.’ – Sean Westcott, Head, Nestlé Product Technology Centre Food (Culinary) at Nestlé

‘More than worth your time to read! It’s so simple and easy to digest, in part because of the clear layout of the material. This is a really useful “handbook” especially for new managers/ leaders or those wanting more insight and every day, realworld tools. I really do like the simplicity of the concepts, and the challenges that Anne offers which include great questions to ask yourself and those with whom you work. She has outlined 10 Practical Principles that the reader needs to actually try to bring the results to life. Anne has split the book into 4 Parts – Inside (self), Outside (others), Between (our relationships) and Beyond (the future) which creates real clarity of how leaders need to work on themselves first (inside) within the bigger picture of the legacy they want to create (the future). It’s also a good companion book for a manager or leader who wants coaching or who is just starting to be coached. It gives practical things to do that then can be further explored during the coaching. Soft Skills Hard Results is a practical, simple book that is easy to connect with. It comes alive, as through sharing her personal experiences, Anne demonstrates the vulnerability that managers and leaders need and that makes the book really different.’ – Hilary Oliver PCC, Leadership Coach, Coach Trainer & Supervisor and 2017 ICF Global Chair

‘I highly recommend and endorse Soft Skills Hard Results by Anne Taylor. Anne was my executive coach and she was practical in her approach, deliberate and introduced me to soft skills (emotional intelligence). She helped me to understand the value of working on improving my people skills (or soft skills) in and outside the workplace which helped me to continue to deliver results and improved my relationship with my team whilst improving the culture. For me, this was the missing link in what would be future success both at work and outside the workplace. Anne brings the same practical examples and lessons to this book. With this book you’ll progress through 10 Principles of soft skills presented in 4 Parts. Anne uses lists, bullet points, tips, cases, illustrations and frameworks so you spend less time reading prose-dense pages and more time actually putting the skills into practice. For those leaders who are looking to deliver results while building a strong culture, collaborative environment and emotionally intelligent team, I highly recommend you get this book.’ – Dan Persad, Global Banking (Strategy & Execution) Sr Executive



Note to Reader
Part I – INSIDE Principle 1 – It starts with YOU Principle 2 – You think you know yourself? Go Deeper inside with more self-awareness, self-management and conscious choice
Part 2 – OUTSIDE Principle 3 – Actively give (and solicit) feedback Principle 4 – Choosing a coaching approach more often over telling Principle 5 – Influence and engage through storytelling
Part 3 – BETWEEN Principle 6 – Adapt authentically to others and the situation Principle 7 – Human interaction is a balancing act Principle 8 – Choose courage and vulnerability in leadership (and life)
Part 4 – BEYOND Principle 9 – Live a life of no regrets Principle 10 – Live a life of gratitude
Final note to reader
Contact, coaching and speaking
Index of Tools

Table of Contents


Note to Reader

Why You?

Why Now?

Why this Book?

Why Me?

My Wish for You

Introduction – Soft skills are crucial to work (and life) success

The tangible cost of soft skills

Humans: Emotional creatures capable of extraordinary things

Leadership is about Relationships

Your Company Results Rely on Soft Skills.


Principle 1 – It starts with YOU

Collate existing data about yourself

Harvest new data

Unearth Potential New Date

Principle 2 – You think you know yourself? Go Deeper inside with more self-awareness, self-management and conscious choice

Develop more self-awareness

Exercise more skillful self-management

Step into fully conscious choice

Part 2 – OUTSIDE

Principle 3 – Actively give (and solicit) feedback

Principle 4 – Choosing a coaching approach more often over telling

Principle 5 – Influence and engage through storytelling

Part 3 – BETWEEN

Principle 6 – Adapt authentically to others and the situation

Principle 7 – Human interaction is a balancing act

Principle 8 – Choose courage and vulnerability in leadership (and life)

Part 4 – BEYOND

Principle 9 – Live a life of no regrets

Principle 10 – Live a life of gratitude

Final note to readers

Contact, coaching and speaking




Index of Tools



Paperback / 9781788601399 / January 23, 2020 / £14.99

Ebook / 9781788601382 / January 23, 2020 / £7.99

Paperback and eBook Bundle / £16.99


Anne Taylor

Anne Taylor is the Director of DIRECTions Coaching Ltd. Armed with a degree in Business from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, she built an impressive career over 20 years with companies such as Procter & Gamble and Nestlé where she held positions of increasing responsibility in marketing, overall business management and business strategy development.

After leaving her Global Marketing role at Nestlé in Switzerland, she re-trained as an Executive Coach. Her clients included IMD business school where she developed and delivered the coaching component of corporate leadership programme. Later in the UK she established a successful practice with clients such as Nestlé, Lloyds of London, Deutsche Bank, L’Oréal and Ford among others.

She is an associate coach for London Business School and is certified through ICF to the level of PCC (Professional Certified Coach). She helps successful managers and MDs increase their leadership impact particularly around EQ, strategic thinking, and influencing.