Article Ramp up your coaching skills to expert status with these 18 books every coach needs in their library 0 2022 Life coaching Coaching skills and techniques life coaching Lifecoachhub Pty Ltd LifeCoachHub

Best Books for Life Coaches: 18 Books That Will Take your Coaching to the Next Level (2022)

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Best books for life coaches

A good coach is an expert in their field. An amazing coach is also an expert in coaching. It doesn’t matter how good you are in your discipline if you cannot effectively communicate the principles of your discipline to your clients.

For many, the skill of coaching is hard-earned through years of grinding. It can take as long to become an amazing coach as it took you to become an amazing tennis player or business owner or behavioralist.

Luckily, you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself. With a solid investment of time, you can accelerate your growth by learning from some of the best books in the field.

That’s why we put together this list of the 18 most essential books that every aspiring life coach should read.

1. Co-Active Coaching by Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House, Phillip Sandahl, Laura Whitworth

 Co-Active Coaching by Karen Kimsey-HouseCo-Active Coaching is a transformational communication process that helps you, as a life coach, build strong, collaborative relationships with your clients. It is based on the three principles of fulfillment, balance, and process.

Every client you help as a coach has many, sometimes competing, aspirations. These may be making more money, traveling freely, getting in shape, or taking their career to the next level. 

Most people are unbalanced in their goals, they passionately pursue one or more distinct goals while neglecting others.

You should be able to coach your client for balance to extend their vision. As the coaching progresses, you should be able to recognize the client's movement toward or away from balance and adapt your communication approach. 

Luckily, you don’t have to make all the mistakes yourself. With a solid investment of time, you can accelerate your growth by learning from some of the best books in the field.

When it comes to lifestyle improvement, the path to better habits and outcomes is never straight. Co-Active Coaching teaches that coaching is as much about the process as the results.

There are days one of your clients might slide back into bad habits, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing something incorrectly. Improvement is never linear.

Being an effective coach is about understanding when your client needs support, companionship, or just someone with whom to celebrate their wins.

If you find yourself disconnecting from your coaching journey, consider using Co-Active Coaching’s Coach’s Toolkit. The toolkit contains new coaching demonstrations, more than 35 updated exercises, questionnaires, and reproducible forms.

The book also pushes you towards a more optimistic attitude. It helps you see your client’s opportunities instead of limits, to expect greatness rather than failure, and to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.

Implemented correctly, this results in a coaching style that will change your client’s life.


2. Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore


Coaching for Performance teaches you step-by-step how to coach your clients to do their best work under pressure.

Author Sir John Whitmore focuses on the GROW model, which stands for goals, reality, options, and will. The GROW model fosters self-assurance and motivation, which boosts output and improves a sense of personal fulfillment.

Help your clients achieve success by asking these questions:

  • Grow. What do you want to achieve?  This stage is all about understanding your client’s desires, no matter how ridiculous they perceive them to be. Get them to express or write down their aspirations without fear of judgement or self-criticism.
  • Reality. Where are you right now? To get where they want to go, your clients need to understand where they are. At the reality stage, get to know your client’s mental, physical, emotional, and financial situation. Once you both better understand the internal and external obstacles stopping them from achieving their dreams, you can tackle them together.
  • Options. What could you do? At the options stage, discuss your client’s skills and abilities with them. To implement an effective plan, you need to understand the resources (intangible and tangible) that they can deploy.  
  • Will. How will you move ahead? Will is the motivator that drives action from desire. Your clients must realize that acting is necessary to reach their objectives.  A great coach helps his clients discover their own will and guides them toward their desired goals.

Reading Coaching for Performance will make you a more transformational coach, raising your level of awareness that will help you encourage sustainable change and performance improvement.

3. Coach the Person, Not the Problem by Marcia Reynolds


Coaches often focus on specific problems and concrete solutions. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the immediate, but you also need to engage with the human being who will enact those solutions.

Dr. Marcia Reynolds, Master Certified Coach, writes about the value of reflective inquiry in altering your client’s perspective to facilitate behavioral change. Drawing on cutting-edge brain research, she argues you should intentionally mirror your client’s words and expressions to help them better deconstruct their beliefs as if they were the third person.

The objective of this practice is to help your clients see themselves, their problems, and their environment from a different perspective. She offers tactics, ideas, and frameworks for facilitating breakthrough conversations. 

Coach the Person provides five questions to ask yourself in order to analyze how their thinking influences their goals.

  • What is the well-being of the client? Pay attention to the person, not the issue.
  • What is the client trying to say? Summarize what was said and heard.
  • What does the client believe they can achieve? Determine the underlying assumptions and beliefs
  • What aspirations or goals does the client have? Let them talk about their desired result.
  • What is the client going to do about it? Let them state their commitments and insights.

The objective is to make your clients feel seen and protected so they can open up to you. Once you’ve built up trust, you can explore their problems more meaningfully. In the long term, you empower them to solve their own problems.

4. Effective Group Coaching by Jennifer J. Britton


Group coaching offers many benefits to coaches and clients. It allows you to have an impact on more people and can make clients feel safer and less pressured. For teams, this style of coaching is essential.

But it’s not always easy to design a group coaching program that works for everyone.

 Jennifer Britton, a Professional Certified Coach, offers tested methodologies, tools, and tips for group coaching in Effective Group Coaching.

The book is indispensable if you plan to coach groups or host workshops and/or webinars. It explains the different dynamics in groups, core skills, best practices, and how to design your group program.

Effective Group Coaching provides a practical roadmap that leads to growth for new and seasoned coaches. The book also includes case studies highlighting how these programs are delivered globally through corporate and public programs, virtually and in person.

5. The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier


Michael Stainer's book The Coaching Habit is for you if you love short, fun books that pack a healthy dose of actionable advice.  

The book is not written for coaches per se but for managers and leaders who want to implement coaching techniques into their management practices.

Every chapter of the Coaching habit revolves around a question. Stanier then shows you how to form a new habit based on the primary goal of the query. A "Masterclass" chapter that follows delves further into the why of each coaching question.

The book focuses on fundamental coaching techniques such as listening, validating, and empowering the client to make their own informed decisions over time.

6. Effective Modern Coaching by Myles Downey 


In Effective Modern Coaching, Downey communicates the essentials of coaching in an easy-to-follow manner.

This book focuses on non-directive coaching, a method of helping clients find their own path to improvement. You open the door for them to explore their own problems, how they view the obstacles they face, and whether they think they can improve them.

Only then do you help them find solutions by letting them follow their areas of interest and passion.

A core teaching of the book is how to achieve a state of flow as a coach. In flow, you are fully immersed in your present activity. Work and focus come easily. 

When you are in the flow state as a coach, it is easier to show your client how to be intentional in whatever they try to achieve since they will know what it looks or feels like.

7. The Life Coaching Handbook by Curly Martin


The Life Coaching Handbook covers Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques and exercises, an approach to changing behavior developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in the 1970s.

NLP techniques seek to harness an alleged connection between neurological processes, language, and behavioral patterns learned over time to improve client behavior and outcomes.

If you’re interested in these approaches, this book is a great introduction that can help you with everything from building rapport with your clients to handling difficult situations.

The Life Coaching Handbook has practical tips, stories, and examples that help illustrate core concepts in the coaching field. It's accessible. Even if you're not a seasoned coach, you should still be able to pick up a lot of helpful information from this book.

8. Coaching Questions by Tony Stoltzfus


Among the most powerful tools of a great life coach are meaningful questions that prompt moments of realization from clients.  Coaching Questions is designed for coaches of all levels who struggle to come up with the right questions to ask in a coaching conversation.

Stoltzfus identifies the most common mistakes coaches make when asking questions. He then provides an easy-to-follow method for generating powerful questions. 

He provides almost 1200 examples of powerful questions to ask with Destiny Discovery Tools. These tools are organized into passion, design, experience, and calling.

Providing even more resources, he lists 15 popular coaching niches with a tool and example for each. The book will offer you a ton of beneficial information as it includes a schedule of training exercises to help you become a “Master of Asking”.

9. The Prosperous Coach by Steve Chandler


Being a successful life coach is about much more than the act of coaching itself. The Prosperous Coach focuses on the other side of coaching -business. The best part is that it doesn’t just tell you what you need to do to build your coaching businesses but also gives you the tools and techniques for success.

Chandler identifies three distinct types of coaches: the professional, part-time, and personal growth coach. He says that it is crucial to be clear on what you want to get out of coaching.

He also shares his secrets on securing clients. To get more clients, he proposes that you offer free introductory sessions and make them an unforgettable experience for clients, so they feel compelled to sign up.

He also suggests taking new clients on invitation and referral only, which he claims will help you create more value for clients.

The Prosperous Coach is also an advocate for deep work strategies that help you succeed in your mentoring business.

10. Evidence Based Coaching Handbook by Dianne R. Stober and Anthony M. Grant


The Evidence-Based Coaching Handbook by Dianne R. Stober and Anthony M. Grant is a great read if you're interested in evidence-based coaching. Evidence-based coaching uses scientific research to inform the process of coaching clients.

Written by two of the most respected names in the coaching field, this book includes an overview of the evidence-based coaching movement.

The authors also provide a thorough introduction to the principles behind evidence-based coaching, along with steps you can take to implement them in your practice. It also offers practical tips on how to apply them when working with clients who may be unable or unwilling to give you direct feedback.

11. Becoming a Professional Life Coach by Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez


Becoming a Professional Life Coach is a helpful resource for new and experienced coaches who want to change how they work with their clients. Patrick Williams and Diane S. Menendez help you understand the many different aspects of coaching like:

  • How to become a professional life coach
  • How to guide clients
  • How to deal with difficult situations in your own life and work as a life coach

Becoming a Professional Life Coach also discusses the ethical responsibilities that come with being a life coach, including legal issues such as confidentiality.

The authors show that every coaching client has a unique personality type and approach. Coaches and clients need to understand what kind of personality they have before embarking on this journey with their clients. 

Williams and Menendez also provide an excellent further reading list if you're interested in learning more about coaching or working with clients professionally.

12. Transformational Executive Coaching by Ted M. Middelberg


If you're a leader in any organization, you know that the best leaders are those who can elevate the entire team. A transformational executive coach is trained to help leaders do just that—to take their teams to new heights.

Ted M. Middelberg helps executives learn how to take their team members on deep dives into their strengths and weaknesses. Then, they can help their team members identify new ways of seeing themselves and their world.

The exercises are not meant to make your clients feel bad about their shortcomings. Instead, they're designed to help them think more clearly about how to solve problems and make decisions in their life. 

Then when it's time for some real work, you will help your client figure out what steps they need to take to realize their dreams. You can then work with them on planning those steps, making sure they're realistic and achievable enough to happen.

13. Guerrilla Marketing for Coaches by Jay Conrad Levinson and Andrew Neitlich


 Guerrilla Marketing for Coaches is filled with strategies that can help coaches of all kinds improve their business and their personal lives without costing them a fortune or taking up too much time. The authors of this book, Jay Conrad Levinson and Andrew Neitlich, are both experts in the field of marketing.

They break down six key steps for coaches that will help them attract clients and fill their practice with desirable clients. The book also shows coaches how to close deals quickly and easily, so they can get hired immediately. 

The authors also share the top conversations they use to close deals fast, making it easy for coaches like you to get hired immediately. You'll learn a lot of ideas here like: 

  • How and what kind of things should you do as a coach to get started
  • How to structure your coaching sessions
  • How and what types of questions to ask
  • How much time it takes on average

14. Coaching for Leadership: The Practice of Leadership Coaching from the World's Greatest Coaches by Marshall Goldsmith and Laurence S. Lyons


Coaching for Leadership is for any coach who helps leaders get the most out of their teams.

Marshall Goldsmith and Laurence S. Lyons have spent decades studying and coaching leaders from all walks of life. In this book, they offer a practical guide on how to work with your team as a coach to help them grow. It has three main parts:

●       Part 1. Looks at the role of coaching in business

●       Part 2. Focuses on the process of coaching

●       Part 3. Provides advice on how to get the most out of your coaching relationship to achieve long-term success.

The authors also explain that successful leaders are not born; they are built through coaching relationships with their teams. A coach helps you become more effective by identifying your strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots.

15. Make Money as a Life Coach by Sally Miller and Melissa Ricker


Coaching is just one half of the equation, building a successful business is the other. To be reach your full potential, you must do both.

Make Money as a Life Coach walks you through getting certified, finding a niche market, building an online platform, selling your services online, and much more. It also includes guidance on creating an online schedule that works for you and gives you enough time to succeed.   

The authors also discuss the importance of building a solid network of potential clients through social media, referrals from other coaches and business owners, and word-of-mouth advertising.  

The book is not just about getting clients—it's about becoming a better coach and helping people fulfill their dreams or find their career paths.

You'll learn how to identify your ideal life coaching niche, how to attract the right clients, and how to conduct discovery calls so that you can secure your first paying customers.

16. Transformational Life Coaching by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott and Lynn U. Stewart


If you're looking for a book that will help you uncover your true potential as a life coach, Transformational Life Coaching by Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott and Lynn U. Stewart is the one for you.

Transformational Life Coaching teaches you how to help your clients accept responsibility for their happiness and accept that transforming themselves will take time. This is not a one-size-fits-all solution, each client’s journey is different, but each requires personal responsibility.

It also advocates narrowing your specialization. The more specialized you are, the more equipped you will be to help clients with their specific issues. If you want to help your clients with their relationships, you need a nuanced understanding of how relationships work.

17. Developing Coaching Skills: A Concise Introduction by Dietmar Sternad


In Developing Coaching Skills, Dietmar Sternad gives you everything you need about executive coaching and life coaching to make educated decisions about the best options for yourself and your clients.

Sternad offers 200 powerful coaching questions that you can apply right away and master all phases of the coaching process to conduct effective conversations in a goal- and solution-oriented way.

You'll also learn essential skills like questioning, active listening, goal setting, giving constructive feedback, coaching for performance, dealing with emotions, and supporting behavior change.

18. The Coaching Manual by Julie Starr


Easily one of the most accesible books on this list, The Coaching Manual by Julie Starr is a great way to accelerate your growth as a coach whether you’re a novice or an experienced mentor.

The Coaching Manual is a comprehensive, practical, and illustrated coaching source. It teaches you how to empower your clients to take responsibility combined with a powerful, realistic skillset.

Whether you're just starting your coaching career or have been practicing for years, this book will help you get there faster and more effectively. The book is filled with all the tools, techniques, and guidance you need to take you from where you are now to where you want to be.

It's all woven into a complete learning experience that's an instant source of fresh insight and tips. Every chapter demonstrates how this material can be applied in real-life situations immediately.

Summing Up

Books are the quietest and most constant of *friends*; they are the most accessible and wisest of *counselors*, and the most patient of *teachers*. Charles William Eliot

That's a wrap for now. Whether you're starting out wanting to become a coach, or looking to hone your coaching skills, any of these books will be a great addition to your coaching library.


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