Even business coaches need some guidance from time to time. In fact, the best business coaches readily acknowledge that they are life-long learners.
Below, you’ll find 21 amazing books offering insights on managerial leadership, executive coaching, general leadership and even insights on the nuts and bolts of marketing your coaching business. Together, these books offer a well-rounded library on the key ideas and issues of business coaching.
1. Transformational Executive Coaching, by Dr. Ted Middelberg
This business coaching book takes you through a goal-focused process that puts mentorship on a structured course. It offers a path where workplace coaches recognize how to create, then sustain needed changes while promoting higher levels of relationship engagement.
Through feedback and interaction, meaningful relationships are built, and then tailored to the individual, to help everyone maximize their career opportunities.
“Some goals are well-suited for seeking feedback from a support team, and others are not,” writes Middelberg. “Therefore, even though there are career aspiration components, the goals are written with a focus on the leadership development components and the business impact.”
2. Challenging Coaching: Going Beyond Traditional Coaching to Face the Facts, by John Blakey and Ian Day
Mentorship and coaching will become restricted by internal rules and regulations over time. Using a proprietary model of coaching, the authors of this book help coaches recognize that being courageous is just as important as being accountable.
Even when debates in the workplace become uncomfortable, this book shows you how to build positive outcomes from any situation. The goal is to challenge each person in the mentoring relationship to be respectful and direct. At the same time, a practical approach to work is also encouraged.
“Effective coaching is about challenging assumptions,” the authors write, “examining habits, overcoming barriers, and embedding change.”
3. 50 Top Tools for Coaching: A Complete Toolkit for Developing and Empowering People, by Gillian Jones and Ro Gorell
The business coaching market is ever-growing. If you feel like your mentoring work has plateaued, then this book will challenge you to keep pressing forward. The practical advice offered by the authors is easily implementable, allowing you to take charge in almost any situation to ensure progress continues.
You’ll discover new ways to increase workplace confidence, enhance individual performance, and make the most of each coaching interaction that takes place.
4. The Five-Minute Coach: Coaching Others to High Performance in As Little As Five Minutes, by Lynne Cooper and Mariette Castellino
If you want to develop an effective coaching strategy quickly, then this book will lead you toward the results you want. Created for people in leadership positions, showing you how to approach business coaching from a variety of different situations.
Instead of taking the position that mentoring relationships should have all the answers, the authors here encourage leaders to look for moments of delegation. By freeing up some extra time to address personal needs, coaches become more innovative, creative, and proactive with their interactions in the workplace.
“Coaches working with individuals wishing to make fundamental changes to achieve new outcomes will serve those coaches well when they overcome their own uneasiness with silence,” the authors write. “It is only when we are attentive, we listen, and stay quiet that we can truly help someone explore and reflect.”
5. Guerrilla Marketing for Coaches: Six Steps to Building Your Million-Dollar Coaching Practice, by Jay Conrad Levinson and Andrew Neitlich
Business professionals have noticed a need in the workplace for meaningful feedback. Despite the growth of coaching instruction, people are struggling with how they can approach each situation.
Although this book is designed more for the self-employed life coach than the company mentor, you’ll find practical steps to follow on each page to create more growth opportunities.
“Most people are great at absorbing information,” writes Levinson. “Guerrilla marketing is needed because it gives small businesses a delightfully unfair advantage: certainty in an uncertain world, economy in a high-priced world, simplicity in a complicated world, and marketing awareness in a clueless world.”
6. Leadership Team Coaching: Developing Collective Transformational Leadership, by Peter Hawkins
Businesses become more effective when their leaders encourage growth at all levels. That effectiveness continues to grow when the executive team is on the same page. This business coaching book is designed to help those who have team development responsibilities more than mentorship needs to fulfill.
The pages are filled with practical tools and guidance that cover all areas of teaching and coaching. You’ll even find excellent advice on how to coach stakeholders, board coaching, and leadership team coaching.
“In order to know who you are and who you want to be,” writes Hawkins, “it’s important to think about who you spend time with – is it the HAVEs, the DOs, or the BEs? Then ask yourself which of these you honestly prefer to be around?”
7. Becoming an Exceptional Executive Coach: Use Your Knowledge, Experience, and Intuition to Help Leaders Excel, by Michael H. Frisch et.al.
To become an exceptional coach or mentor, you must draw on your personal and professional experiences. You must be competent before you’re able to teach competencies. There’s an element of intuition involved that comes from natural instincts developed from your time in the workplace.
Starting with a self-assessment, this business coaching book works with you to combine your knowledge in each vital area to engage more people. You’re taught how to leverage the unique perspective you’ve developed into ongoing, effective mentorship opportunities.
John Stallings, Director of Organizational Effectiveness at JetBlue Airways, describes the book in this way. “[It Is] A rare opportunity to jump-start your effectiveness as an executive coach. The authors’ program offers a truly unique experience… an opportunity to refine your coaching skills with actual clients. Their approach bridges the gap between the theory and practice of executive coaching.”
8. The Mentor’s Guide: Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships, by Lois J. Zachary
This business coaching book explores the critical elements of the workplace mentoring relationship. You’re presented with several practical tools that help you facilitate the experience from start to finish. Guidelines are offered on conversations, how to recognize generational and cultural differences, and what it takes for adults to learn.
Then you’re encouraged to develop your emotional intelligence to transform the learning process to take advantage of personal growth opportunities while mentoring.
9. The Heart of Coaching: Using Transformational Coaching to Create a High-Performance Coaching Culture, by Thomas G. Crane
Now on its 4thedition, the author has helped an entire generation of professionals develop the basics of business coaching with this book. You’ll find numerous tools available to use in the workplace, with the goal to create a common language and shared protocols to improve consistency.
You’re encouraged to create a workplace environment where the focus is on performance, feedback is plentiful, and where an embrace of diversity exists.
“If leadership is ineffective, nothing much happens,” writes Crane. “The stronger and more effective the leaders become, the ride for the organization is enhanced… more speed, safety, service to customers, etc. Everything gets better.”
10. Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives, by Karen and Henry Kimsey, et. al
First released in 1998, this business coaching book immediately became a resource to elevate internal corporate communication. It takes you through the processes of what it takes to develop meaningful relationships in the workplace. You’re given practical advice on how to improve your coaching skills.
“Leadership is not so much about technique and methods as it is about opening the heart,” Henry Kimsey once wrote. “Leadership is about inspiration – of oneself and of others. Great leadership is about human experiences, not processes.”
11. Coaching for Performance: Growing Human Potential and Purpose, by Sir John Whitmore
With more than 500,000 copies sold over four editions, the author suggests that coaching is a skill which requires ongoing practice for it to be effective. There must be a depth of understanding from the mentor for there to be any growth possible in the mentee.
You’ll go through the principles of business coaching in each chapter, with illustrations helping to show how high-performance growth is obtainable. The reader is introduced to the GROW method of coaching as well: Goals, Reality, Options, and Will.
When you’re finished with this book, you will know how to coach, when you should be mentoring, and if you even fit into that type of role at work.
“Given leadership failures that are so apparent today,” Whitmore writes, “a little compulsory evolution would do our leaders no harm at all. In practice, the coaching process fosters evolution at every stage, for evolution emerges from within and can never be taught in prescriptive ways.”
12. Coaching for Leadership: The Practice of Leadership Coaching from the World’s Greatest Coaches, by Marshall Goldsmith and Laurence S. Lyons
If you find yourself in a leadership position for the first time, this business coaching book will take you through the essential elements of mentorship. You’ll discover how coaching works, why it’s useful, and how you can make the best use of each process.
The authors include several best practices from the coaching industry that you can incorporate into your own workplace. Tools and guidance from some of today’s top leaders, coaches, and mentors are also included. Each chapter offers new learning points and principles of practice to enjoy.
13. Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills, by Tony Stoltzfus
With this business coaching book, you’re given an opportunity to embrace the most critical skill in mentoring: how to ask a compelling question. Joining with a dozen other professional coaches, the author provides you with several exercises, models, and tools which help you find and ask the right questions.
More than 1,000 different examples of questions to ask are provided as examples to use in the workplace. From the fundamental open-ended question to proper reframing techniques, you’ll find that your skills as a coach or mentor will dramatically improve when you know how to ask the right questions.
“Questions hold the power to cause us to think, create answers we believe in, and motivate us to act on our ideas,” writes Stoltzfus. “Asking moves us beyond passive acceptance of what others say, or staying stuck in present circumstances, to aggressively applying our creative ability to the problem.”
14. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More, and Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier
Think of this book as a business coaching how-to manual. You’re provided access to research in behavioral economics and neuroscience with the latest ideas on how to unlock the full potential of a person. Through a process of asking seven questions, each with a different name, you can learn how to say less, ask more, and begin producing the results you want.
Each question you ask must ensure that your coaching benefits yourself and the other people involved. There must be an emphasis on learning.
“…Advice is overrated. I can tell you something,” writes Stanier, “and it’s got a limited chance of making its way into your brain’s hippocampus, the region that encodes memory. If I can ask you a question and you generate the answer yourself, the odds increase substantially.”
15. Conversational Intelligence: How Great Leaders Build Trust and Get Extraordinary Results, by Judith Glaser
What do you believe the key to life’s success is? Do you think it is how smart you are? How rich you are? How many goals you can achieve?
The author of this business coaching book suggests that it is your openness to conversations that empower you to be a better coach. By learning new rituals that prepare minds to be more trusting, the process of creating new partnerships and trust becomes simplified.
Using modern research findings and clinical studies, you’re given an opportunity to explore the latest results in the scientific world about mentorship, then practice them using the tools and examples offered in the book.
“It turns out that human beings are hard-wired to have conversations impact them in such profound and significant ways that it can actually turn genes on and off,” writes Glaser. “That’s a core, fascinating challenge for all of us.”
16. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, by Simon Sinek
This business coaching book is based on a single, fundamental question: why are some organizations more influential, innovative, and profitable than others?
Besides the answer to this question, there are additional thoughts explored within the pages of this book that apply to your mentoring techniques. You’ll discover why some leaders command greater loyalty than others. The author even looks at why many people are unable to replicate an initial successful experience.
Just like people won’t by something unless they know why it is needed, coaches are unable to influence others until the reason for their mentorship is understood. You must know the “why” behind something before you can support it.
“The great leaders are not the strongest,” writes Sinek, “they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses. The great leaders are not the smartest; they are the ones who admit how much they don’t know. The great leaders can’t do everything; they are the ones who look to others to help them.”
“Great leaders don’t see themselves as great,” Sinek says, “they see themselves as human.”
17. The Business Coaching Toolkit: Top 10 Strategies for Solving the Toughest Dilemmas Facing Organizations, by Stephen Fairley and William Zipp
Businesses have used mentors throughout history to help people achieve higher levels of success. Even in the ancient world, apprenticeships and training programs were a form of business coaching.
Now the modern organization wants to evolve those processes by tapping into the benefits of an executive coach. These independent coaches provide feedback to improve employee performance. They build team proficiencies by offering step-by-step guidance to each person in the mentoring relationship.
You’ll discover the ten unique coaching techniques that are usable in a wide variety of situations in the chapters of this book. Perfected by the experiences of the authors, you’ll find the tools offered here to be implementable immediately.
“There are conversations and there are conversations,” the authors write. “There are conversations that pass us by with hardly a second thought, like what’s the weather going to be like today… and there are conversations that echo in our mind forever.”
18. Masterful Coaching, by Robert Hargrove
It did not take long for this business coaching book to become a standard training resource in companies all over the world. If you’ve ever been asked to coach or mentor someone before, there’s a good chance someone recommended this book to you at some point.
What you’ll discover here are the insights of the author, gleaned from his personal experiences of becoming an extraordinary coach. Several tools, methods, and ideas are offered from real-life lessons.
This makes it feel like you can implement the processes immediately.
“Despite the tremendous importance that has been placed on emotional intelligence and teamwork, everyone has a hidden ambition to be the best there is,” writes Hargrove.
“The yearning to make the ascent and reach the top, regardless of who or what stands in your way, remains a force of nature in successful people and firms – even if it sometimes brings out the dark side of human nature.”
19. A Manager’s Guide to Coaching: Simple and Effective Ways to Get the Best from Your Employees, by Brian Emerson and Anne Loehr
Companies that tread water are never going to grow. That means their leaders must find ways to improve their skills continually. The business coaching process works to help executives find, then develop, the best talent within the organization.
Through this book, you’ll find every step of the coaching process outlined in ways that make them easy to implement. Practical tips are offered to handle difficult conversations. You’ll discover methods to resolve conflicting priorities, provide help to struggling workers, and how to adapt to changing circumstances.
You’re also provided with several examples of common workplace issues and how business coaching can address them.
“Every coaching process is different,” Emerson and Loehr write. “Spend as much time as you need on each phase [of the coaching process]. Don’t expect the progression to remain linear all the time… Remember that the employee must attain awareness before developing an action plan.”
20. The Tao of Coaching: Boost Your Effectiveness at Work by Inspiring and Developing Those Around You, by Max Landsberg
This business coaching book looks at the processes required to unlock the full potential of each employee. To become an excellent coach, there are specific habits and skills which the author encourages you to nurture. Over time, as you create habits that bring out the best in yourself, you’ll find that it becomes easier to mentor others too.
The tools and techniques taught in this book are easy to apply, allowing you to strive toward the maximum effect of each idea. If you’re trying to develop a team of people that will stay loyal to the projects you have, then this book is a must-read item.
21. The Psychology of Executive Coaching: Theory and Application
This book offers a comprehensive resource to anyone wanting to develop their business coaching skills. It is based on the author’s experience in the workplace and the clinical work.
The latest developments in executive coaching are provided to the reader, along with a review of the updated psychological theories which support mentorship in the workplace.
Lessons involve marketing, leadership, and executive coaching based on the current challenges people face. One of the best sections in the book includes how to conquer the obstacles that women face in the business world.
It targets executives, C-Suite members, and leaders as the primary readership audience.
Essential Business Coaching Statistics
There is no denying the importance of business coaching in the modern workplace. Here are the statistics gathered by National Mentoring Day which provide evidence that coaching works.
- 97% of people who have a mentor say that they are valuable, while 55% say they believe mentoring can help them succeed.
- 60% of people look for experience in a mentor above anything else.
- 93% of small- to medium-sized businesses acknowledge that mentoring helps them find success, but only 1 in 4 companies of this size actually use business coaches.
- Two-thirds of firms report an increase in productivity when business coaching opportunities are available.
- 55% of organizations feel that mentoring and coaching has a positive impact on their profits.
Business coaching does more than invite personal or corporate success. It also gets people up-to-speed with their jobs faster.
The Dos and Don’ts of Business Coaching
The American Psychological Association put together some practical advice to help mentors and mentees benefit from this coaching relationship.
- Do create appropriate expectations and boundaries at the beginning of the coaching relationship. Mentors aren’t supposed to be therapists. Mentees are not meant to be doing all the work either.
- Don’t assume everyone is always on the same page. Take time to have a scheduled meeting at least once per week to exchange relevant information. Make sure everyone understands that no reasonable question will be ignored.
- Do provide honest feedback at all times. Keep away from criticism, focusing instead on how to improve processes or perspectives. People learn better when they make decisions based on information they’ve received instead of being told what to do.
- Don’t shape people into clones. There will be times when a coach wants to go one way, but the mentee’s career path heads in a different direction. People need room to grow on their own.
- Do seek out a balance of power in the relationship. Let people take credit for a job well done.
Business coaching often happens long after the corporate relationship is over. Learning occurs in the workplace, but it also occurs in the classroom, at home, and over coffee during lunch.
Every aspect of the mentoring process is a critical component of its success. That is the general message being conveyed in every business coaching book ever written.
How Do You Approach Business Coaching?
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice describes her thoughts on business coaching this way. “Search for role models you can look up to and people who take an interest in your career. But here’s an important warning: you don’t have to have mentors who look like you.”
“Had I been waiting for a black, female Soviet specialist mentor,” Rice says, “I would still be waiting. Most of my mentors have been old white men, because they were the ones who dominated my field.”
Mentoring and business coaching happen because you decide to make them happen. Anyone can offer advice. The greatest good you can do in the workplace is to share the riches of your experience while revealing to others what they contribute as well.
These are the best business coaching books that will teach you how to take these processes at work to the next level. It would be best if you were all-in with the processes for them to work correctly.
“The mediocre leader tells,” said Gary Patton. “The good leader explains. The superior leader demonstrates.”
“The great leader inspires.”
Pick up one of the books on this list and find your inspiration today.