What are the best books for coaching?

I asked a number of coaches and they recommended a wide range of books - from those outlining coaching models and techniques, best practice in leadership and management , positive psychology, to books taking a spiritual approach to coaching and business.

They also recommended books drawing on theories of Neuro Linguistic Programming and personality types. There were also many texts suggested aimed at supporting clients in taking action and making change.

Which are the most popular?

Perhaps, as you would expect, the majority of books recommended were texts to support clients in taking action and making positive change. These books are also often as useful to coaches as their clients.

The next most recommended were books on business development - particularly on marketing and growing a coaching practice - particularly effective ways of attracting new clients.

In all 68 books were recommended - here are 6:

Co-Active Coaching: New Skills for Coaching People Toward Success in Work and Life, by L. Wentworth, P. Sandall, H. Kimsey-House. Publisher: Davies-Black Publishing; 2 Pap/Com edition (February 25, 2007)

This book outlines the Coaches Training Institute’s (CTI) model for coaching and discusses how to design a good coaching alliance. It then explores the nuances and skills of a coaching relationship, giving definitions and detailed examples of how each of these play a part in a successful coaching partnership. These skills include listening, intuition, curiosity, forwarding and deepening the learning, and self-management. The book also explores three distinct parts of coaching — fulfillment, balance and process.

The final section of the book is called the Coach’s Toolkit. It is filled with tools, forms and checklists to serve both individual and corporate clients. In addition, the book comes with a CD with more information, examples of coaching conversations and printable forms.

Coaching for Performance by John Whitmore - Nicholas Brealey Publishing; 3 edition (May 25, 2002)

In this highly influential book, Sir John Whitmore describes what he believes coaching is, how it can be used, and the skills required for coaching. Whitmore also outlines his GROW model which can be used both in a personal, corporate and team context. In the book Whitmore, explores what coaching is, looks at the skills of questioning and introduces his GROW model (Goals, Reality, Options and Will).

Whitmore also discusses a range of topics - including motivation, coaching the corporation, feedback and assessment and coaching teams, emotional intelligence and spirtual intelligence and their relation to coaching.

Four Steps to Building A Profitable Coaching Business/ A Complete Marketing Resource Guide for Coaches - Deborah Brown-Volkman - iUniverse (October 30, 2003)

This book will show you how to build and market a profitable coaching practice in four easy steps. It walks you through the process of deciding who to coach and how to create a program that potential clients will pay you lots of money for. You will understand the components of creating a winning marketing strategy and learn tips and techniques to implement your plan. You will also discover how to become masterful at both marketing and selling.

Get Clients Now! by C.J. Hayden - Amacom; 2 edition (1 Oct 2006)

"Get Clients Now" empowers readers with practical, proven strategies for choosing the right marketing tactics for their situation and personality, diagnosing exactly what's missing in their marketing and fixing it, and replacing unproductive cold calling with the power of relationship marketing. Filled with hundreds of tool and techniques, as well as a powerful 28-day plan that enables readers to energise their marketing efforts and dramatically increase their client base, the second edition contains up-to-the-minute strategies for relationship-based marketing in the Internet age.

Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott - Piatkus Books (August 21, 2003)

Susan Scott maintains that a single conversation can change the trajectory of a career, marriage or life. Whether it's conversations with yourself, partner, colleagues, customers, family or friends, Fierce Conversations shows you how to have conversations that count. Scott reveals how to: overcome barriers to meaningful conversations and is packed with exercises and questionnaires to help you have the best conversations possible.

Wishcraft - How to get what you really want by Barbara Sher - Ballantine Books; 2 edition (Dec 2003)

In the first part of this book Barabar Sher takes you through a series of exercises designed to get you to dream your wildest dreams about your life and what it could be. Sher also encourages you to distinguish between 'real' dreams and fantasies . The second part of the book gives you great approaches to achieving them and is full of challenging and effective exercises.

This short list gives just a flavour of the resources available to you as a coach - and now all you have to do is get reading!

© Sonia Thomas May 2008

Author's Bio: 

Sonia Thomas is the Editor of Coaches Plus, the online resource centre for coaches, www.coachesplus.com Just visit to sign up for free coaching tools.

If you would like to get the full list of 68 books outlined in this article, including links to reviews, just visit recommended books