Are you looking for a coaching book that can help you improve your coaching?

A good coaching book can help you:

They say “success leaves clues”.

Therefore, we asked successful coaches to share their favourite coaching book and how that book helped these coaches to improve their overall coaching.

Let’s get started.

Katie Selby is the Founder and Principal Coach of QuarterLife Coach, where she offers Talent Development, Coaching, and Life Design for early career professionals. Katie takes a design-thinking approach to help clients define current needs and prototype future possibilities. Katie is an ICF Certified Coach and a Certified Designing Your Life Coach.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

My favorite coaching book is Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes by William Bridges because it helps clients understand and take control over each phase of transition: the ending of a chapter, the unsettling neutral zone, and the beginning of something new. “The transition itself begins with letting go of something that you have believed or assumed, some way you’ve always seen yourself, some outlook on the world, or attitude toward others. The inner ending is what initiates the transition. Inwardly we’ve become new people; transition leads to change.” 

Clients’ understanding of self and of the narratives they are rewriting through the transition can lead to greater confidence and intentionality when going through a job change, relationship transition, or move to a new location. 

Dr. Joanna Martin is a visionary, coach, and activist. Her work knows no geographical boundaries and has worked with over 120,000 people all over the world. She is also an internationally acclaimed and award-winning speaker. Moreover, she has a great life coaching website.

As the founder of One of many, her organization has supported over 60,000 women leaders to greater impact without burnout.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

It’s not a coaching book, but the book that has had the biggest impact on my life AND my coaching is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron.  It was the first book I ever read in the personal or spiritual development genre- and it literally changed my life.  It started my journey to leave my medical career, go to drama school and eventually find the coaching industry.  But most importantly I have been personally using Julia’s two central tools, the Morning Pages and The Artist’s Date, for 24 years. 

They are so powerful for keeping our awareness tuned in, and our personal growth in gentle evolution, that I encourage every client I work with to use them.  Indeed a version of these tools has become two of the three central tools that all 250+ of my One of Many Certified Coaches use with their clients. 

It’s a seminal book, full of great exercises. I recommend it to every client I have, even if they are not an artist.

Charlie is a leadership coach, coach trainer, and supervisor, working mainly in the education sector

Charlie runs Love Your Coaching, an Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) center. With a team of experienced education coaches, he offers advanced coaching qualifications to school leaders and other professionals. Since 2015 the team has trained over 500 school leaders to attain a coaching qualification

He is an International Coach Federation accredited coach, holding an advanced qualification that fewer than 3% of coaches worldwide hold.

He has a great belief in the unlimited potential and growth mindset of his coaches.  Since 2015 he has been working on training programs overseen by Professor Carol Dweck, originator of the Growth Mindset theory.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

No doubt other experienced coaches on this post will mention the classics, like Nancy Kline’s Time to Think, or the great compilations put together by Jonathan Passmore, including Excellence in Coaching, and Leadership Coaching. So I’ll put those to one side, and mention the two that are my favorites.

Jenny Rogers’ Coaching Skills has been the core textbook on our ILM coach training programs for 5 years. There are so many reasons that we all like it. It is written in a very practical and knowledgeable way. There is a warmth to it, and a good understanding of what it is to develop great coaching skills. Almost every area for the new and developing coach is covered, from contracting to coaching plans, questions to remaining curious.

And what we also like is what it isn’t. It isn’t stuffed full of models or processes. Nor is it one way only – often coaching books say that there is only one way to do a certain thing. And it isn’t a promise of untold riches – which is my frustration with many coaching books.

Ros and Ben Zander’s The art of possibility is the nearest thing to being a coaching book without actually being one. It is a narrative from this husband and wife team. She’s a therapist and he’s an orchestral conductor. Both of them share their ideas on how to help the person in front of them. So the range is wide, covering coaching, mentoring, teaching, and plain simple kindness and concern.

At the heart of this book is the belief in the unlimited potential of the person we are supporting. An example. Ben gives his students an A in September, then asks them to think about and write about how they can achieve this A by June. Great way to coach and to believe in someone’s potential.

There are many other books that made the shortlist, but these are my two.

Joe Perrone is a business coach who helps business owners reclaim their time and freedom. Joe helps his clients find full enjoyment in everything that they create and do it without burning out. Joe—a serial entrepreneur himself—owns and operates Astro Auto Repair and New England Collision in addition to working with his coaching clients and raising his family.

He provides business owners with the tools and expertise they need to reduce their workload.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

The Prosperous Coach by Rich Litvin and Steve Chandler. 

TPC reminded me that it’s about connecting with people,  active listening,  and creating conversations. I also liked the style of the book with Rich and Steve alternating chapters.  It not only made me a better coach,  but a Husband, Father, and Business Owner. 

Liz Citron is a leadership coach, mentor, and speaker. After 25 years of helping organizations to be more successful by understanding their customers better, She now helps individuals and teams understand themselves better in order to be more successful.

She uses a wide range of tools to mute negative thoughts and build confidence to help people blossom and grow and achieve more than they ever expected.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

The book that drew me into coaching and still acts as a strong guide in my career is The Coach’s Casebook by Geoff Watts and Kim Morgan. It covers 12 traits that many people experience and explores a coaching approach to each of them. The traits covered include impostor syndrome, people pleasing, fierce independence, and procrastination – all of which crop up regularly in my own work with clients and, indeed, in my own life.  

it is structured in a really unusual way. For each trait, there is (a) the case study, (b) the tools used by the coach (so the reader can try them out themselves), and (c) a case study from a well-known personality talking about that trait. In the case study, you see the case from the coach’s perspective as well as from the client’s. You are exposed to the coaches’ concerns as they are shared in supervision which is a critical tool for a coach to continually sharpen their skills. The real-life stories from someone in the public eye really help to remind us how prevalent these traits are – and give you insight into how these individuals were able to succeed despite them, which is inspiring.

So this book is appealing to a wide range of audiences, for people who want to understand themselves and the world better, for the coach-curious, who want to understand how coaching works before hiring a professional, and for coaches themselves who typically work alone and love to get inspiration and insight from the peers. This book acts as a living demonstration of masterful coaching for anyone with an interest in the subject.  

Prasha Dutra, is a Confidence Coach, TEDx speaker, and a total hype-queen! She is on a mission to help women believe in their brilliance by taking small actions that yield massive results. 

With over 15 years of being a full-time Engineer and spending time in Corporate leadership roles, Prasha brings expertise, step-by-step growth techniques, and a fresh perspective to the table for her community & coaching clients, spanning from finding clarity in their careers, to finding time for their families and dreams, and getting connected with relatable role models. All this while creating developing a deep belief in their own brilliance. 

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

My favorite coaching book and the one that taught me the most about coaching is – The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stainer.

I love this book because it teaches the power of questions. Using powerful questions one can motivate people, inspire long-lasting behavioral change and cultivate trust along the way.

This book is all about asking great questions and learning the very important art of listening intently. In coaching, you can’t just offer solutions, you have to bring your client on a journey of self-discovery and self-reliance, only then you can really coach people to find, sustain and grow their success.

It is also a workbook so you can actually work through each of the strategies in the book and learn the concepts with a deeper understanding.

I have had this book on my desk for over 4 years now and I gift it to a lot of aspiring coaches, managers & leaders. Do check it out!

Jan is a Trainer, Coach, and Speaker helping managers to become trusted leaders. With more than 25 years of experience as a designer and creative director in the communications industry, He has worked for hundreds of large and small companies on thousands of assignments.

He helps people and organizations with mentoring and insight programs and enjoys taking the stage as a speaker to share his experiences as a problem solver for leaders and HR professionals. 

He focuses on how to translate fundamental insights into practical tools that people can apply themselves. Practical, smart, effective, and easy to use. 

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

Rating favorite art, movies, or books is virtually impossible. It’s almost like choosing your favorite child.
That’s why I nominate the first book about coaching and human behavior I got from a neighbor: Deep Change by Robert E. Quinn.

It’s a bit older (2002), but the universal wisdom about behavioral psychology, especially within organizations, still holds its own. So I still use examples from the book whenever they have anecdotal value.
Unlike many other books that feel like hard work, this book is very readable. Quinn uses valuable research and insights but presents them as interesting stories. Furthermore, he focuses on the big picture and not on intricate details that make it hard to apply his insights yourself. It’s the first coaching book I got as a birthday present back in 2004, but still valuable to me.

Ruth is the CEO of Optimus Coach Academy, Speaker, Author, Podcaster, and one of only 1500 MCC coaches in the world. training people to become fully accredited coaches (ICF). She also offers Coach training for organizations and coaching skills development.

Her background is in recruitment/people development and education where she has helped to embed coaching skills and coaching culture in a number of schools.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

My favourite coaching book is Think Again by Adam Grant, not traditionally a coaching book however it reminded me to always be curious in the coaching and to support our clients by helping them to challenge their thoughts and what they are thinking and give them space to look at alternatives rather than be fixed in their thinking.

Larry is a Leadership Development and Executive coach with a mission to Coaching CEOs and Executives to Elevate Professionally & Personally.

His practice consists of coaching individual CEOs and Executives. He also leads three different peer groups: Small company CEOs, Large company CEOs, and Senior Executives.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

My Favorite leadership book is The Field Book for the Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. It’s all about systems thinking and building a learning organization.

Timeless. Full of great case studies.

Tammy Jersey founded TKJ Leadership, a certified woman-owned business, to build high-performance cultures one leader at a time. Her mission is to amplify leaders to play bigger and with more confidence. 

She brings over 25 years of experience to the industry.

Tammy specializes in amplifying women leaders. She dares them to operate outside their comfort zones to get their voices heard, empower their teams and be inspiring to others. 

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

My recent favorite coaching book is ‘A Seismic Shift in Leadership’ by Michelle Johnston. 

The book is written in stories, i.e., vignettes, that really bring the lessons to life and make the lessons relatable.

Aurora is an organizational & leadership consultant, PCC-level certified executive coach, systemic team coach & leadership dev specialist with extensive prior business and leadership experience at some of the world’s largest multinationals in Tech.

With a master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from INSEAD business school, multiple coaching certifications (ICA, NLI, AoEC), and 15 yrs prior experience driving strategy, P&L, and leading product teams across the globe, She brings an eclectic approach bolstered by a multinational client practice working with companies like Microsoft, HP, Avanade, Jardines, Bank of America, GSMA, QBE, DBS Bank, the London Business School and more.

She is the founder of THRIVEinmind Leadership Group, an international collaboration for designing & delivering eclectic, human-centered, systemic, and results-driven interventions for leadership and organizational development.

What is your Favourite Coaching Book and Why?

Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance By W Timothy Gallwey

Coaching has a lot to do with the fundamentals of change and growth in humans, and I’ve always been fascinated by how the interaction between our brain, mind, and body explains behaviour. In my research I’ve found insightful contrasts, dualities, and polarities that help with understanding why we behave the way we do in different contexts:

• Left vs Right hemispheres (of the brain)
• System 1 vs System 2 (in thinking)
• PFC vs the Limbic System (key functions in the brain)
• Warmth vs Strong (in leadership)
• Sympathetic vs Parasympathetic (in the nervous system)
• Above vs Below the waterline (of consciousness)
the list goes on.

One book that has made a major impact on me as a leadership coach offered more such dualities, told through a story of a game. The game is composed of two parts – an outer game and an inner game explored through the medium of tennis.

I was in search of a book that would hopefully help me understand why my tennis was so uninspired. I was improving in weekly tennis clinics, private lessons, and social games but no amount of training was truly addressing my inconsistent performance in matches. I was overwhelmed by the amount of often contradicting advice coming from friends, coaches, and all types of media on how to improve the service, how to develop a lag in your forehand, or how to position your legs for a stronger double-handed backhand. The barrage of tips on the technique and how-tos just made things worse. What was missing, I pondered.
Little did I know that the inspiring book about tennis that I picked up would inadvertently also upend the way I coach executives for performance at work. The Inner Game of Tennis by W Timothy Gallwey not only taught me how to first and foremost, embody relaxed concentration on the tennis court, but it also bestowed upon me a beautiful metaphor for making sense of particular challenges clients often discovered for themselves in executive coaching: self-sabotage.

To uncover and explore the potential within the human body is the question of the Inner Game. Whilst the outer game is played against an external opponent, to overcome obstacles and reach an external goal, the inner game takes place in the mind of the player, played against obstacles such as lapses in concentration, nervousness, self-doubt, and self-condemnation. These obstacles are habits of the mind which inhibit excellence in performance.

As I discovered the voices of Self 1 (teller/ ego) and Self 2 (doer) – our next duality from the book – and as I read fascinating stories of overcoming self-inflicted mishaps shared by the author, I found myself slowly going through a process of unlearning, of uncluttering, of ‘quieting down’, of trusting myself more and of letting go.

The lessons from this unique ‘coaching book’, apply far and wide in overcoming leadership and performance challenges, and remind us of our innate ability to learn anything with the right mindset.

As Gallwey puts it:
“There is a far more natural and effective process for learning. We already know it. All that is needed is to unlearn the habits which interfere with it and then to just let it happen.”


We appreciate all the successful coaches for taking the time and sharing their favourite coaching books and how these books helped them to improve their coaching.

What is your favourite coaching book?

Feel free to share it in the comments below.

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About Rana

Building a website that drives traffic and generates leads is challenging. Rana is a website development consultant and a Co-Founder of WP Minds, a website consulting service that helps coaches, trainers, authors, and creatives to create winning website strategy, develop high converting websites, attract visitors and convert leads into customers to grow their businesses.

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