Learning is never done for coaches. There are coaching skills, new scientific developments, and methodologies. Whether you work as a coach within a corporation, are new to coaching, or build your own coaching practice, we have compiled a list of bestselling books to cover a broad range of popular categories. Some of the top coaching books on our reading list have been around for decades!
If you are looking to catch up on your reading, we have some suggestions. In this article, you’ll find the most-read coaching books by category. Find out how each book can help you, and don’t forget to recommend a top read of your own!
The Ultimate Reading List For Coaches
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1. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever
Do you know how to start a meaningful conversation with your client? In this book, Michael Bungay Stanier shows you how to use a proven “seven-question formula” to begin a conversation easily for effective coaching. The title has been recommended by many renowned authors in the industry, as it offers a solution that can’t go wrong.
2. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
How much do you think you know about motivation? What if rewards aren’t enough? In this compelling title, Daniel H. Pink shows you how to help your client find direction for a more satisfying home, work, and school life. More importantly, it reveals the discrepancies between science-proven human functioning and the way workplaces are designed, which will help you understand why so many motivation strategies don’t work.
Do you avoid asking the one question that can help your client make groundbreaking changes? Are you afraid to be out of line by questioning their drive and motives? Warren Berger shows you how to overcome this boundary by learning how to question in order to identify and resolve problems and help your clients seize opportunities.
Are you struggling to understand systemic coaching? John Whittington demonstrates it to you in a simple, easy to understand fashion. Get ready to learn everything you need about sustain system principles, and get to see what real-life systemic coaching looks like.
6. Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives
This all-time classic has been a widely referred book in coaching circles and renowned coaching schools and will help you upgrade your coaching, relationship, and communication skills. This title has been used in numerous professional and academic coaching programs worldwide!
7. Coach the Person Not the Problem: A Simple Guide to Coaching for Transformation
Are you facilitating wholesome changes in your clients’ lives, or helping them solve temporary problems that are bound to come back? This title by Chad Hall gives you the knowledge you’ll need for transformational coaching that will have a true, lifelong impact.
Do you know how to reach your client? Do you know what to ask to help them truly “connect the dots” between different issues that bother them? This book by Tony Stoltzfus gives you the experience of 12 different professionals when it comes to knowing how to ask the right coaching questions.
10. Becoming a Professional Life Coach: Lessons from the Institute of Life Coach Training
Authored by bestselling therapists Patrick Williams and Diane Menendez, this title covers the core strategies and principles for professional coaching. The book also covers the different aspects of the industry, from neuroscience to wellness, ethics, and positive psychology. It will help you gain the fundamental skills to help your clients overcome obstacles, align their values, and truly live their life’s purpose. This has become one of the most thorough foundational books in professional life coaching.
Corporate / Workplace Coaching
In this international bestseller by John Whitmore, you’ll get to learn how to get your staff to use their best qualities and abilities for transformative relationships within your organization and with others in the industry. A great coaching book to add to your list even if you’re not coaching inside organizations as the insights are relevant for career and leadership coaching as well.
Have you ever wondered who is holding you back? Timothy Gallwey helps you see how inner obstacles and self-sabotage hurt you more than any other situation or a circumstance. More importantly, this title shows you how to overcome self-imposed obstacles.
Do you want to know more about effective management? In this manual to becoming a killer business exec, Ruth Wageman et al. show you how to navigate teams and communities, how to make your way in the industry, and be a successful leader through contemporary leadership lessons.
What’s the one thing modern societies can’t resolve? Philosophical/political conflicts of the highest level. In High Conflict, Amanda Ripley talks about how to turn toxic division into opportunities for healthy, constructive discussions.
This piece of reading will help you and your clients deal with discord in their communities and within themselves.
Daniel Coyle, the author of the best-selling “The Talent Code,” shows you how to tap into every organization’s culture, build one on your own, and generate success through cooperation, diversity, and cohesion.
The book further gives you the tools and guidance to overcome toxicity and establish trust in an organization as you head toward positive changes.
4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team uses the power of story to engage readers as the author, Patrick M. Lencioni, reveals the five dysfunctions that lead even the best teams to struggle. The author outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that you can use to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team.
Coaching Specialties / Niches
In this title, Gary Collins, Ph.D. gives you the tools and knowledge that are based on Biblical coaching. The book was made to help people achieve a more meaningful life through practicing active listening, healthy boundaries, and other recommendations to achieve healthy work relationships, family relationships, and friendships.
Another industry classic by John Whitmore gives you a deep look into coaching in adversity. Whether it’s financial or other types of crisis, coaching and different therapeutic models help provide support. Learn how to pivot and adjust!
Follow Curly Martin as she reveals what a coaching career and life truly look like. This advanced coaching program will serve as an essential guide and a go-to source for everyone looking to become a successful life coach.
As the title suggests, this book reveals some hard truths about the 21st century market.
Whether you’re starting your own organization or helping a client find business success, this journey must start with a realistic picture of the sort of success that you can expect, plus intel on how to avoid typical errors. Michael Gerber helps you and your clients set right expectations for successful business-running.
2. How to Start an Online Coaching Business: A Simple, Hands-on Guide
Learn everything you need to start your coaching business with a smooth introduction into the terminology, vetted education options, industry trends, and hands-on steps with guides, checklists and planning exercises.
In this book, Coachilly Magazine shares in-depth information to make key decisions for your business early on (like selecting a profitable coaching niche, etc.), together with coaching templates, worksheets, and checklists to set up your business, step-by-step.
No matter how much experience you have, you can always find yourself in ethical conflicts. Here, Patrick Williams and Sharon Anderson give you essential, case-based information to help you become a well-rounded professional.
Other Books for Coaches
How much do feelings influence success through thinking and decision making? Daniel Goleman helps you find answers to that question. Get this book and help clients build self-awareness, empathy, impulse control, persistence, and motivation, which are all essential for success!
If you were looking for a book that helps cope with trauma, this title by Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor and an expert in logotherapy is for you! Learn about the search for meaning amid emotional and physical hardships, revealing what played a crucial role in surviving the atrocities of Nazi death camps.
Do you “practice what you preach?”
In this coaching book, Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis show you how to forest become your best version and find success before starting teaching your clients the same lessons. This book shows you how to become resilient, build the right mindset, and use tools for managing time and skills with a purpose of finding meaning and motivation.
Are you looking to build healthy, fulfilling relationships with family, friends, coworkers and partners?
David Bradford and Carole Robin show you how to use both your intellect and emotional intelligence to advance in a strong relationship. Even better, this book helps you develop valuable people skills that you can later teach your clients.
6. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
Do you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your potential? Don’t give up just yet! Marshall Goldsmith helps you understand how upper levels work, and why the strategies you used before no longer apply.
7. Atomic Habits
The impact of habits on success and productivity is well-known, but the path toward changing them remains somewhat of a mystery. In this habit-adoption piece, James Clear helps create those habits that will have the most beneficial impact on your life within a reasonable time frame.
8. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
This isn’t the typical coaching book, but well suited to expand your horizon. Malcolm Gladwell gives you a classic read, showing you (and your clients) how to power through adversity.
The author takes you through understanding how power, advantage, and disadvantage work. With in-depth knowledge on human behavior, you’ll help clients overcome the adversity of being at any kind of disadvantage, from disability to discrimination.
Coaching Books – Conclusion
We’ve carefully selected books that cover a wide range of topics for coaches – from coaching skills to workplace topics. Above all, these books represent the challenges a coach faces when building a coaching business. With these titles, you’re always on your best coaching game.
Which of these coaching books have you read and enjoyed the most? Do you feel an important title is missing? What are your top reading recommendations?