21 Top Books By Coaches to Elevate Your Leadership Skills in 2024

Mar 05, 2024

Effortlessly enhance your leadership and coaching prowess with our top picks of books by coaches. Whether you’re looking to sharpen your techniques or seeking wisdom from coaching pros, our concise reviews of standout titles promise to gear you up with innovative insights and practical skills you can immediately apply to your practice.

Key Takeaways

  • Leadership coaching books authored by renowned coaches offer unique insights and practical tools for enhancing coaching skills, adopting effective habits, and mastering leadership coaching, which are key to guiding leaders on their development journey.

  • Effective leadership coaching is built on techniques such as active listening, powerful questioning, and goal setting paired with accountability, all adaptable across personal development, executive coaching, and leadership development contexts.

  • Developing a successful coaching business involves not only mastering coaching techniques but also understanding how to attract the right clients, create a signature coaching program, and retain clients through building trust and offering consistent value.

Coaching Books Authored by Renowned Coaches

Every leader has a unique style, a unique approach to problem-solving, and a unique way of inspiring their team. This individuality is what makes them successful. The same goes for renowned coaches who have authored some of the best leadership coaching books. Their unique perspectives and insights have shaped the landscape of leadership coaching, providing valuable lessons for leaders worldwide.

In this quest to elevate leadership skills, a few books stand out. They are like the North Star, guiding leaders in their journey. These books, authored by renowned coaches, provide a wealth of knowledge on enhancing coaching skills, adopting effective coaching habits, and mastering the art of leadership coaching.

Here are insights from three such books:

These coaching book selections have been instrumental in shaping the coaching practices of many leaders and promise to do the same for you.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier

In the realm of coaching books, “The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier is a beacon of wisdom. Its central message advocates for developing a habit of curiosity to foster a coaching culture. The crux of this culture? The art of asking questions rather than immediately providing solutions. The book emphasizes that coaching should primarily focus on developing an individual’s problem-solving capabilities rather than fixing problems directly. This approach inspires a shift away from the traditional advice-giving model, fostering team resourcefulness and independence.

This book is not just about asking questions, but about asking the right questions. It provides seven essential coaching questions as practical tools that managers can use to guide conversations in various contexts. These tools, combined with the book’s guidance on how to conduct effective coaching in ten minutes or less, make it an invaluable resource for leaders navigating the busy schedules of today’s fast-paced business world.

The Prosperous Coach: Increase Income and Impact for You and Your Clients by Steve Chandler, Rich Litvin, and Maurice Bassett

Next on our reading list is “The Prosperous Coach” by Steve Chandler, Rich Litvin, and Maurice Bassett. This book marks a paradigm shift in how we perceive coaching businesses. It emphasizes the importance of:

  • Relationship marketing techniques for building a successful coaching business

  • Moving away from traditional marketing strategies

  • Genuine connection and impactful coaching sessions

The heart of this book lies in its framework for practice building, which includes four key steps:

  1. Connect

  2. Invite

  3. Create

  4. Propose

This framework empowers coaches to devise personalized proposals that resonate with potential clients and fosters a culture of high performance.

The book also emphasizes the impact of powerful conversations and consistent invitations to foster client relationships. It’s an essential guide for any coach looking to increase their income and impact.

Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In by Brett Bartholomew

Rounding off our list of renowned coaching books is “Conscious Coaching: The Art and Science of Building Buy-In” by Brett Bartholomew. This book takes a deep dive into the human psyche, exploring the science of human behavior and its application in coaching. Understanding the unique backgrounds, motivations, and personalities of each client is the key to building trust and effective coaching, a theme that Bartholomew stresses throughout the book.

The book “Conscious Coaching” beautifully balances scientific methods with real-world coaching experiences and provides insights into the essential soft skills for coaching. It emphasizes the pivotal role of:

  • self-awareness

  • empathy

  • communication

  • adaptability

In fostering genuine connections with clients. Through personal anecdotes, case studies, and actionable strategies, “Conscious Coaching” imparts valuable lessons on creating meaningful connections with clients, making it a must-read for every leader.

Coaching Techniques for Effective Leadership

While the books mentioned so far offer a wealth of knowledge on leadership coaching, let’s focus on some key coaching skills for effective leadership. These techniques, like the tools in a master craftsman’s kit, are essential for shaping the raw materials of leadership potential into the finished product of an effective leader.

The techniques we’ll dive into include active listening, powerful questioning, goal setting and accountability. These techniques are not only fundamental to the coaching process, but they also serve as the pillars that support the structure of effective leadership.

The beauty of these techniques lies in their application. They’re adaptable and versatile, suitable for various coaching contexts, including:

  • Personal development

  • Executive coaching

  • Team coaching

  • Leadership development

So, whether you’re a seasoned leader or a budding one, these techniques will serve as your guiding stars on your leadership journey.

Active Listening

Active listening is more than just hearing the words spoken by the other person. It’s about understanding the complete message being sent, both verbally and non-verbally. In coaching, active listening establishes trust, fosters psychological safety, and leads to more effective coaching through improved personal and professional relationships.

Active listening in coaching involves:

  • Setting a comfortable tone

  • Dedicating time for the coachee to think and speak

  • Displaying attentive body language and a respectful mindset

  • Withholding judgment

  • Keeping an open mind to new ideas and perspectives

  • Suspending judgment

  • Avoiding interruptions

All these aspects contribute to an open, honest communication environment where clients feel comfortable sharing their successes and struggles.

Powerful Questioning

An effective coach knows that powerful questioning is a key to unlocking a client’s potential. It involves asking purposeful, impactful, and sensitive questions that draw out information and awareness from the learner.

Clarifying questions enhances active listening by addressing uncertainties, fostering self-reflection, and promoting client problem-solving. Coaches should avoid leading questions while appropriately using prompts like ‘Tell me more about…’ to keep the learner engaged without substituting for structured questions.

The art of powerful questioning lies in sparking curiosity and encouraging the exploration of new perspectives and possibilities, fostering a culture of lifelong learning.

Goal Setting and Accountability

Goal setting and accountability are crucial elements of effective coaching. They provide the roadmap that guides clients towards their desired destination. Setting SMART goals ensures that the objectives are:

  • Specific

  • Measurable

  • Achievable

  • Realistic

  • Time-bound

This is essential for goal clarity in a masterful coaching practice, especially when coaching students.

The GROW Model is a structured framework that facilitates the goal-setting process. It helps identify obstacles and necessary actions, and fosters accountability for progress. A clear action plan, as outlined by the GROW Model, helps detail the steps required to achieve the SMART goals, holding both coach and client accountable for progress.

Coaching Models and Frameworks

Coaching is as much an art as it is a science. And like any science, it incorporates models and frameworks to guide its application. These models and frameworks help structure the coaching process, ensuring it is systematic, efficient, and effective.

Let’s explore some of the popular coaching models and frameworks like the GROW Model, Co-Active Coaching, and Solution-Focused Coaching. These models provide a structured approach to coaching, guiding coaches and clients alike in their journey towards achieving desired outcomes.

Each model or framework brings a unique perspective to the coaching process, focusing on different aspects of the coach-client relationship and the journey towards the client’s goals. Understanding these models and frameworks can equip leaders with a diverse set of tools for their coaching toolbox, enabling them to adapt to various coaching contexts and client needs.

GROW Model

The GROW Model is a coherent coaching framework that stands for:

  • Goal

  • Reality

  • Options

  • Will

It was initially outlined by executive coach John Whitmore in 1992. This model is suitable for a range of contexts, from executive coaching to personal development, due to its adaptable and versatile nature.

The GROW Model follows a sequential process.

  1. Setting Goals that are congruent with the client’s values

  2. Assessing the current Reality

  3. Exploring Options

  4. Committing to the Will to move forward

Adopting the GROW Model requires leaders to transition from autocratic to adaptive styles, promoting a coaching approach that is collaborative and conducive to guidance and discovery.

Co-Active Coaching

Co-Active Coaching is another influential approach in the world of coaching. It is based on active, equal collaboration between coach and client, focusing on the client’s whole life and their inherent creativity and resourcefulness.

The foundational principles of Co-Active Coaching are fulfillment, balance, and process, which aid in creating a holistic experience tailored to each client’s whole life. Co-Active coaching techniques include active listening and supporting the client’s personal growth, with coaches trained to be fully present and adapt in real-time to the client’s needs.

Solution-Focused Coaching

Solution-Focused Coaching is an evidence-based, goal-oriented approach that emphasizes future outcomes and solutions, bypassing an analysis of the problems’ root causes. This coaching model, also known as laser focused coaching, is effective for motivated clients who can identify and actualize their desired outcomes, leading to the realization of their goals more promptly.

The Solution-Focused Coaching Model includes four distinct phases:

  1. Goal orientation

  2. Developing clarity

  3. Action plan accuracy

  4. Evaluation planning

It encourages clients to draw upon their strengths and past achievements, using their success as leverage towards future goals.

Books for Niche Coaching Areas

While the principles and practices of coaching are universal, applying them effectively often requires a tailored approach. This is where niche coaching comes in. It caters to specialized coaching areas, providing targeted strategies and insights for specific client needs.

We’ll explore a few books that cater to these niche coaching areas, such as:

These books offer a wealth of knowledge for coaches looking to specialize in certain areas or improve their techniques in dealing with specific client groups. They provide targeted strategies, methods, and insights that can be invaluable in these specialized coaching contexts.

Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions by Keith Rosen

“Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions” by Keith Rosen is a game-changer for sales managers. It focuses on:

  • The necessity of a structured sales coaching program to enhance sales performance

  • A tactical coaching system specifically for sales managers aiming to achieve their sales goals

  • Cultivating a culture of high performance

Included in the book is a comprehensive set of tools such as templates, scripts, and coaching conversation models designed to aid in effective sales coaching. It’s an essential guide for any sales manager looking to transform their sales team into sales champions.

The Life Coaching Handbook: Everything You Need to Become an Effective Life Coach by Curly Martin

Curly Martin’s “The Life Coaching Handbook” is an invaluable resource for aspiring life coaches, filled with a variety of techniques, practices, inquiries, and case studies designed to instruct future coaches in the field.

In its approach to personal growth education, the handbook creatively uses imagery like a ‘suitcase’ representing beliefs we carry and depicts self-limiting behaviors as living within one’s own ‘prison.’’ This book provides a thorough foundational knowledge of coaching principles and is considered essential reading for those looking to enter into life coaching.

Executive Coaching: Practices and Perspectives edited by Catherine Fitzgerald and Jennifer Garvey Berger

“Executive Coaching: Practices and Perspectives” edited by Catherine Fitzgerald and Jennifer Garvey Berger is a compilation of diverse essays and case studies on executive coaching methods and issues. One of the featured approaches within the book is a human-first method, teaching coaches to connect with employees emotionally to foster better relationships.

This book is a valuable resource for executive coaches, providing them with a multitude of perspectives and insights to enhance their practice. It’s a must-read for anyone looking to understand the complex world of executive coaching.

Developing a Successful Coaching Business

Now that we have a solid understanding of the best coaching books and techniques, let’s focus on the business side of coaching. Developing a successful coaching business involves attracting clients, creating a signature coaching program, and retaining clients.

Attracting the right clients to your coaching business is crucial for its success. But it’s not just about getting clients; it’s about getting the right clients. The ones who resonate with your coaching style, align with your values, and benefit from your unique expertise.

Creating a signature coaching program is another pivotal aspect of a successful coaching business. It’s about leveraging your unique expertise to help clients achieve their targeted goals.

And lastly, retaining clients and earning referrals are crucial for sustaining and growing your coaching business.

Attracting Clients

Attracting clients, especially in a field as personal and intimate as coaching, requires a genuine connection and impactful coaching sessions. Creating a large amount of free, valuable content can position coaches as experts and build trust with potential clients. Offering coaching services in exchange for honest reviews provides social proof, which is critical for attracting paying clients.

Effective coaching marketing involves:

  • Extending genuine invitations to engage with coaching rather than selling the concept through lengthy pitches

  • Knowing your value proposition and specializing in a niche to significantly enhance the chances of attracting ideal clients

  • Regularly collecting unbiased feedback from clients to identify areas of improvement and show clients that their opinions are valued.

Creating a Signature Coaching Program

Creating a signature coaching program is a systemized approach that leverages the unique expertise of the coach to help clients achieve targeted goals. The distinctive content of a signature program should address a specific client problem, drawing on the coach’s own experiences or knowledge.

Before a full launch, testing the program with a select group of clients can provide crucial feedback to fine-tune its effectiveness. Naming the program with a clear, catchy title will help in communicating its benefits and drawing in the intended clientele.

An effective sales page must articulate the program’s benefits, its structured approach, and what sets it apart from others in the market.

Client Retention and Referrals

Client retention and referrals are key aspects of a successful coaching business. Building personal relationships and trust with clients through sharing personal stories and transparency is key to long-term retention. Setting and fulfilling customer expectations with consistent communication and follow-through on promises builds trust and client loyalty.

Celebrating client wins, both big and small, motivates them to maintain commitment and strengthens the coach-client relationship. Providing clients with valuable content throughout the engagement informs and engages them, enhancing the service value.

Implementing a referral program incentivizes current clients to introduce new clients and reinforces their commitment to the coaching services.


From renowned coaching books to essential coaching techniques, we’ve journeyed through the fascinating world of coaching for leadership. We’ve seen the power of active listening, the potential of powerful questioning, and the need for accountability in effective coaching. We’ve explored popular coaching models and frameworks and dived into specialized coaching areas. We’ve also discussed strategies for developing a successful coaching business.

The world of coaching is as vast as it is diverse, and there’s always more to learn. But the knowledge gleaned from this journey is enough to elevate anyone’s leadership skills. So, whether you’re a seasoned leader or just starting your leadership journey, remember: The power of coaching is within your grasp.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I pay a business coach?

Coaching charges for businesses usually vary between $500 and $5000 on a monthly basis, although premier coaches can command higher rates. Take Tony Robbins as an example, who levies $1 million annually for personal coaching services. The skill level and the years of practice under the belt of the coach should be factored in when assessing their coaching fees.

What are the disadvantages of executive coaching?

As executive coaching concentrates on the individual development of each team member, it can be a process that demands considerable time and effort. Transformations may unfold gradually, potentially conflicting with the objectives of companies operating at a faster pace where immediate results are prioritized.

How to learn executive coaching?

Begin your journey in executive coaching by enrolling in an accredited coach training program, which may last up to one year. Obtaining a certification from the International Coach Federation (ICF) is imperative. This process includes mentoring under a seasoned coach, acquiring no less than 100 hours of client coaching experience, and successfully clearing a comprehensive examination.

Achieving proficiency in this domain hinges on these critical steps for success.

What are some of the best coaching books for leadership development?

For leadership development, it is worthwhile to jump into “The Coaching Habit” by Michael Bungay Stanier, as well as explore the wisdom within “The Prosperous Coach” authored by Steve Chandler, Rich Litvin and Maurice Bassett. Brett Bartholomew’s “Conscious Coaching” should be considered.

These texts are rich sources of knowledge and methods for coaching and can significantly benefit any coach seeking enhancement in their craft.

What are some effective coaching techniques for leadership?

To support growth and development in leadership, effective coaching methods encompass active listening, the formulation of impactful inquiries, and establishing objectives alongside mechanisms for accountability.

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