11 Best Coaching Books to Read for Work in 2022

By Team Building

Coaching books are nonfiction works that teach leaders how to guide and inspire individuals and groups. These books cover topics such as asking practical questions, delivering feedback, and motivating teams. The purpose of these works is to help leaders provide better guidance and improve employee performance.

These guides are a subset of management books and leadership books and are similar to books on motivation and books on mentorship.

This list includes:

  • leadership coaching books
  • business coaching books
  • coaching books for managers
  • coaching books for beginners

Here we go!

List of coaching books

Here is a list of books to improve coaching skills to better support employee growth.

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

The Coaching Habit is one of the best coaching books for managers. This guide shows leaders how to work coaching into their standard routines so that the act becomes instinct. The book presents seven key types of coaching questions that produce pointed conversations that improve performance. Bungay backs up these recommendations with science and business research, yet the tone of the book is simple, straightforward, and enjoyable. The Coaching Habit shows how to make coaching second nature and give employees continual support.

Notable Quote: “When you build a coaching habit, you can more easily break out of three vicious circles that plague our workplaces: creating over-dependence, getting overwhelmed and becoming disconnected.”

Read The Coaching Habit, and check out more books on building habits.

2. The Coaching Effect : What Great Leaders Do to Increase Sales, Enhance Performance, and Sustain Growth by Bill Eckstrom and Sarah Wirth

The Coaching Effect is one of the most useful leadership coaching books. The authors spent years studying thousands of workplace interactions, and relay the findings of that research in this guide. The book identifies common characteristics and behaviors of great coaches, for instance regular 1:1 meetings and comprehensive career planning. The text gives readers advice on how to follow these examples, and the end presents a four-step process to help frame and guide the development journey. The Coaching Effect creates a composite of the ideal coach by pointing out the behaviors proven to get the best results.

Notable Quote: “High growth coaches are not afraid to push, to demand, and to challenge to get their teams to perform. They don’t shy away from making their team members uncomfortable. In fact, they relish it because they consciously or subconsciously know that growth can only occur in a state of discomfort.”

Read The Coaching Effect.

3. Performance Conversations: How to Use Questions to Coach Employees, Improve Productivity, and Boost Confidence (Without Appraisals!) by Christopher Lee

Performance Conversations is a guide to discussing the quality of work and the possibility for improvement. As the title suggests, the book gives readers an arsenal full of helpful types of questions to ask to guide these conversations. For example, “what is going well?” “what can I do for you?” and “how are your professional relationships going?” The appendix contains a collection of more complex questions for situations like talking to a difficult employee, speaking to a manager, or preparing for a sale. The guide also includes several checklists to help coaches ensure they touch on all necessary key points. Performance Conversations is a helpful resource for structuring coaching sessions that can help leaders get the most out of these talks.

Notable Quote: “The skill of questioning– asking the right questions in the right way the the right time– should also rank highly on the list of required skills of any manager. This is because questioning is so vital to learning, understanding, gathering information, solving problems, and conducting quality control.”

Read Performance Conversations, and check out this list of checking-in questions.

4. Co-Active Coaching: The proven framework for transformative conversations at work and in life by Karen Kimsey-House, Henry Kimsey-House, et al

Co-Active Coaching is one of the more helpful coaching books for beginners. The guide breaks down the fundamentals of coaching and provides models for having constructive discussions and building strong relationships. The book gives tips on active listening, people-reading, and deepening engagement, and shows readers how to combine the principles of good coaching in practice. Co-Active Coaching acts as a handbook that hits the key points of guiding employees and builds a firm foundation for new leaders to build upon.

Notable Quote: “The two products of the work the coachee and coach do together—action and learning—combine to create change.”

Read Co-Active Coaching.

5. Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth by Richard Boyatzis, Melvin L. Smith, and Ellen Van Oosten

Helping People Change offers a crash course in empathetic leadership. While many coaching books focus on troubleshooting techniques, this book emphasizes that a key part of behavior change is understanding and appealing to the other person’s feelings and viewpoints. The guide gives practical tips and advice for helping others grow, such as asking questions that uncover passions, nurturing sustained change, and recognizing coachable moments. Helping People Change teaches a human-first approach to coaching and helps leaders learn how to connect with employees on an emotional level.

Notable Quote: “In our attempt to coach a person needing help, most of us naturally take a problem-centered approach, focusing on the gaps between where they are and where we think they should or could be. We are trying to fix them. This does not work well, if alt all, to motivate sustained learning, change, or adaption.”

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